To the Editor: With pun intended, the Warwick Fire Department is under fire from many directions. Warwick firefighters are accustomed to putting out fires at other folks homes and businesses; let's hope they are just as adept at putting out the fire that
To the Editor:
With pun intended, the Warwick Fire Department is under fire from many directions. Warwick firefighters are accustomed to putting out fires at other folks homes and businesses; let’s hope they are just as adept at putting out the fire that is currently raging through their department.
First, there was the very credible report that firefighters have been ripping off Warwick taxpayers to the tune of almost a million dollars a year in false overtime pay-pay computed by pretending sick and vacation days are “work” days. Although their collective bargaining agreement does not allow such pay, firefighters defend this theft of overtime pay as “past practice condoned by state law.” Clearly, unjustly enriched firefighters have no remorse about lining their pockets at taxpayers’ expense. One firefighter was paid $316,000 last year – more than four times his annual salary, and more than double the governor’s salary!
And keep in mind that at least one third of all pay – to include unjust overtime pay – is awarded to firefighters while they sleep at the station houses.
Next up and into the frying pan for Warwick firefighters is the recent deep-dive into fire department response time conducted by expert data analyst Ken Block. He discovered that Warwick firefighters’ average response time to calls is substantially slower than that recommended by the National Fire Protection Association, the professional group that sets standards for fire service throughout the country. Even at night with little traffic on the roads, our fire department’s response time is longer than recommended-slower even than the response time of rural fire departments that have to travel greater distances. Another black eye for our highly compensated firefighters.
Lastly, comes the June 5 report that two Warwick Fire Department EMTs have had their licenses suspended by the RI Department of Health because they refused to take a patient to the hospital who was suffering tachycardia. After the EMTs’ refusal, the patient was quickly driven to the hospital by a friend. She died there two hours later.
My experience with the Warwick Fire Department has always been good.
When my in-laws were alive and living with us, rescue was called a few times. Response time, professionalism, and courtesy were never a problem.
My neighbors testify likewise. We should always remember, however, that something can look beautiful when just glanced at but be disfigured and malodorous when looked at more closely.
I’m willing to give the fire department the benefit of the doubt and assume, for now, that the recent warts being seen by the public are not indicative of a figurative skin cancer that infects the entire department.
It stands to reason, however, that sufficient evidence of this rash exists for Warwick public officials to look more closely at the department’s overall operations.
Taxpayers deserve nothing less!