Firefighters: we’re getting hosed by proposed city budget

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New Orleans Fire Fighters raised a ruckus at City Hall Friday morning. They say Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s proposed 2014 budget cuts into the bone of the NOFD.

Nearly 100 fire fighters and their supporters rallied outside City Hall, then marched into council chambers to have their say during budget hearings.

They claim the mayor’s budget proposal for next year will bring serious staffing cuts to their departments, leading to 49 fewer fire fighters on the job by the end of next year.

And, they add, with fire fighters now providing first response for medical emergencies, those lower staffing numbers will increase the threat of loss of life among civilians.

On top of that, they complain their fire trucks are falling apart.

“They’re not changing oil,” said Fire Fighter’s union president Nick Felton. “They’re not fixing tires, they’re not replacing windshield wipers. All the lights don’t work on the trucks. We’re not asking for a pay raise, although we’d love to have one. We’re just concerned about everyone’s safety.”

The fire fighter’s union says that if the present budget proposal passes, by this time next year there will be only 623 fire fighters on the job, compared to more than 800 fire fighters eight years ago.

Council has until December 1 to finalize the city budget.