SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Savannah City Council will soon be taking a deep dive into the results of a study that focuses on the city’s fire department.
It’s split into four different reports - and the local Firefighter Union will be examining one of those very closely.
At the request of the city, staff from the Carl Vinson Institute of Government spent much of 2018 reviewing documents, conducting interviews and surveys and reviewing comparable departments to come up with this in-depth report focusing on Savannah’s Fire Department.
The four separate reports focus on general organizational review, fire department insurance services office, or ISO, rating, efficiency analysis, EMS analysis and a personnel report.
Representatives from the local Firefighter Union plan on being at Thursday’s council work session to hear the study presentation along with council.
IAFF Local 574 President, Johnny Hinton, said, “The one that we’re most concerned with is the efficiency portion. What that does, and what council has been instructed to do, is to make further company cuts based on the results of this portion of the study.”
Those cuts could include closing Station 7 Rescue Company off Eisenhower Drive and creating a combined ladder/rescue company, closing station 13 by the airport and assuming an agreement with Pooler and restructuring Hazmat 2 from a 24-hour to 8-hour shift.
All those options combined could save the city several million dollars.
The Firefighter Union has been, and will continue to be, outspoken and against any cuts to the department’s ranks.
“We feel that taking firefighters and fire trucks off the streets of Savannah puts the lives of not only firefighters, but the people of the community in danger,” Hinton said.
Savannah City Manager Rob Hernandez spoke to WTOC not long ago about the claims and concerns raised by the union, saying in that interview, rather than lowering the minimum of firefighters per truck, he would rather take what he considers non-primary trucks out of service.
Hernandez also said in that interview the city will not do anything that places employees or the public in any jeopardy.