Fire safety above all

Everett Fire Department Ladder 2 responds to a call. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

The mayor’s unfulfilled promise to 20 applicants for positions on the Everett Fire Department is one thing.

His excuse that metrics don’t mean anything anymore when it comes to how many men and women should be serving in the fire department is indicative of his true thinking.

That is to say, the mayor is suggesting that because there are fewer fires, there should be fewer firefighters.

In a world where everything is equal, such a creative idea would be satisfying.

Everything in this world is not equal.

Fewer fires don’t translate into a department with fewer firefighters.

The present complement of 83 firefighters doesn’t work in Everett.

During the past five years, perhaps 2500 new units have either been built or added to the Everett housing marketplace here. Hundreds more are coming online.

During the past five years, it is likely as many as 5,000 more people are now living here.

The school population rising by the thousands during that time is a reflection of this new reality.

What needs to be done?

First of all, the mayor needs to keep important promises when it comes to public safety.

Second, Fire Chief Anthony Carli needs to engage the mayor, on behalf of his firefighter men and women and on behalf of public safety, to set the record straight about exactly what the fire department needs to meet its daily challenge.

Without the chief leading the discussion, there is no discussion but that of the mayor’s – and the mayor does not have a degree in fire safety nor has he ever committed his life to the task of running into a burning building or treating people who have been severely injured in fires or accidents.

Councilor Capone is right to question fire department staffing levels.

In the absence of the chief advocating for his men and women, at least Capone has stepped up to the plate.

The mayor is misguided by his public relations chiefs who have put into his mind the idea that metrics don’t matter anymore.

The size and capability of the fire department are paramount in maintaining public safety in this city.

The mayor thinking otherwise is a problem.

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