A legislator and the Kansas City fire chief said today it would be folly to cut ranks of firefighters to meet proposed budget constraints.
A city council committee heard testimony about the city manager’s suggested $7.5 million cut for the fire department.
Major cities from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles meet standards requiring four firefighters on a pumper, because it takes four firefighters on the scene to safely enter a burning building, two to suppress flames, two to search for victims inside. That was the message from Fire Chief Smoky Dyer who said, budget cuts would allow only three on a pumper. Dyer also said smaller, but still sizeable cities, will user fewer people on firefighting teams.
Dyer told the Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, John Sharp, he could not allow his crews to go into a fiery building with a reduced staff. In Dyer’s words, “I just don’t think morally I can do that. “
Sharp wanted it clear.
“So when you say you couldn’t allow an interior attack, that also means you couldn’t allow them to enter a burning building seeking victims until more personnel were on the scene?”
The Fire Chief’s response, “That is correct.”
Sharp restated need to cut departments to meet budget, but reducing firefighters is the wrong way. The Council will hear Mayor Sly James on the issue tomorrow.