(Memphis) Safety is once again at the forefront of the Memphis Fire Fighters’ Association.
Leaders had some heated comments after three of their own were hurt in the line of duty Sunday.
The union is blaming budget cuts, among other things, for the recent increase in injuries.
There have been two big fires in two weeks. There was one at the former American Drum and Pallet Company in South Memphis and another Sunday at Signatures-X t-shirt shop.
With firefighters injured at both, some like Thomas Malone, president of the Memphis Fire Fighters’ Association, believe it’s time for changes to be made.
“We’ve cut some of our ladder trucks. We’ve cut personnel. We don’t have the redundancy built in that we had and that we need,” he said.
Malone said the fire department has less people on staff now then they did in 1970.
Councilman Edmund Ford told WREG he agrees there is a direct connection between understaffing due to budget cuts and recent injuries to firefighters.
Malone adds stress over pensions and insurance could be impacting firefighters’ ability to focus on scene.
“All of the sudden the alarm goes off, and they have to produce within four minutes,” he said. “You have to think, these things that they’re doing…Is it hurting our people? I think it’s playing a large part.”
Councilman Lee Harris also told WREG the council needs to work on funding public safety until they get it right and take some of the heat off of those who protect us from it.
Malone added, “With these cuts that they’re talking about… We’re rolling the dice, and we’re fixing to crap out here before too long!”
Harris said the council will talk about public safety at their meeting Tuesday.
Ford is holding a town hall meeting about public safety funding Monday night at 7 p.m. at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church.