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Do you think City of Wilmington firefighters deserve a raise?

Fire

You know I know the president of the fireman's association ( Chuck Bower)that has been speaking about the pay. He doesn't even live in the city. In fact he has had several business that have done very well. Why dose he need more money at my expense? President Chuck Bower seems to be in good with the fire chief and the council so that tells me he is after something just for himself. As I attended a function at his house one night I over heard his plans to run for a political position and he was just using the fireman's association as a stepping stone to higher prospects. Get of the news and quit your whining Mr. Bower you make enough already,,,,,

In fact most of the higher paid administration of the fire department doesn't even live in this county, but we are still providing transportation and other benefits for them. Start taking some of those benefits away and make them drive their own cars to work nobody furnishes my transportation to and from work.

Maybe we need to cut the number of administration positions the fire department has seems to be redundant to other city departments inside the city that are already providing the service.

Get real.

Dirty Citizen

This sounds suspiciously like a current or recently former employee of Wilmington Fire. How unfortunate that they would resort to the anonimity of an online post to further their personal anger at two people. Rather than engaging openly with their concerns. One point that should be made, regardless of any percieved political aspirations I might have (and I don't), I can't run for office while in the employment of the City. I close with this question, If I were so successful in prior business, why would I work for the City?
It seems paranoid delusion passed off as fact, is the norm. for those that lack the crediblity to be heard in honest and open discussion.

some of you are just

some of you are just ignorant! its a shame you probably sit at a desk all day for your job doing pointless ridiculous stuff. take a minute to think about who comes to your rescue when your house is burning down and your children are trapped inside, oh thats right the firefighters. who comes to your rescue when your trapped in your car because youve been hit by a drunk driver, oh thats right a firefighter. The firefighters are running in when everyone else is running out. they have families to go home to as well and in the line of duty there is always a chance they may never make it home. quit being so ignorant and think about what they really do.

Let's clear things up.

Let’s clear up a few mis-conceptions that some of you have about this subject. While it is easy to say that firefighters just lay around sleeping all the time, because “you watch the news and there doesn’t seem to be many fires”, it ignores the fact that firefighters perform many different functions, and in fact “firefighting” is only one small part of their jobs.

A professional career firefighter here in Wilmington is a highly trained, educated, career firefighter, serving a community of over 100,000 citizens, in today’s modern emergency response field. Including responding to such threats as the “average” fire, large commercial facilities storing, using, and transporting highly dangerous hazardous materials, a community with a large retirement population who are statistically more likely to suffer from a life threaten medical conditions, a highly compacted downtown and historic district with commercial and residential structures built closely together before modern fire codes, and construction methods and materials. A nationally recognized overburden traffic and street system with the highest rate of accidents in the state, a fast moving river and intracoastal waterway system with a large amount of recreational and commercial boat traffic, a large state port located in the middle of the city that stores and transports a large volume of hazardous materials and other commodities, and a post 9/11 world where the threat of a terrorist act, however small, exists for every community, especially one that has a university, a concentrated population, numerous large scale public events, and a state port. All of this equals almost 12,000 calls for service last year, or one call about every 40 minutes, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. At an average of 30 calls a day, if our local media only devoted 30 seconds to each one during their news cast, the first 15 minutes of their 30 minutes news would be nothing but stories on the fire department. There is a reason why you do not hear and see the “average” work of Wilmington’s Firefighters, and to equate the number of stories you see on the local news to the amount of hard work performed by our firefighters is very disingenuous at best.

Additionally, they are also trained and willing to help educate the children, seniors, and other members of our community groups the importance of fire prevention, as well as willing and able to install smoke detectors for those in our community who may be less fortunate than others, as well as insure that new parents, grandparents, family, and friends have their child safety seats properly installed so that we can prevent the needless death and injury that has been caused by the improper use of them.

Finally, they must complete 240 hours a year of training to maintain their firefighter certification, in addition to continuing educational requirements to maintain their certifications in Emergency Medical Care, hazardous materials training, rescue training, water rescue training, marine firefighting training, WMD training, etc., etc., etc., as well as those who are working to obtain their Associates Degree in Fire Science so that they can be recognized as the professionals that they already are, while still responding to a call for service about every 45 minutes on average, department wide.

Now let’s address the “cushy” schedule the firefighters seem to have according to some people who have never taking the time to fully understand it, as well as all of the “overtime” they receive. It goes without saying that the fire department is opened 24/7, 365. That comes to 8,760 hours a year firefighters must be on duty. With three shifts of firefighters working, that comes to a firefighter working 2,920 hours a year, while the average 40 hour a week employee only works 2,080 hours a year. That means that a firefighter works an average of 56 hours a week, or eight hours a day, every day, 365 days a year, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, 4th of July, New Years, their children’s birthday, their wedding anniversary, etc., etc., etc. For those of you who may say “yea, but I work 60 hours a week at my job”, remember you get paid time and a half for those additional 20 hours, while firefighters have a special overtime exemption written into federal law that says they do not get paid overtime until they work MORE THEN the 56 hours a week average. Let me say that again!!!! Firefighters DO NOT receive “time and half” until they work more then 56 hours a week!!!!! So the next time you think about all of the “cushy overtime” firefighters get, think about how you would feel if your employer made you come in to work an additional 16 hours on a Saturday and Sunday and paid you NO overtime. Lastly, the firefighters at Sunny Point are FEDERAL firefighters who have different overtime rules and all actually some of the highest paid firefighters in the US because they are federal firefighters, and the firefighters at New Hanover County actually do make more than Wilmington firefighters, which is exactly the point being made by the firefighters that Wilmington is not paying them a comparable wage when compared to others throughout the state, including in our own county!!!!

Now let’s look at a firefighter’s ability to “sleep on the job”. First of all, as we all know, sleeping at the fire station is necessary because fire departments cannot just close shop and go home at 5 PM. So to criticize the nature of providing 24 hour emergency response to you and your loved ones, while demanding that the fire department provides 24 hour emergency response is pretty hypocritical to begin with. Secondly, firefighters have the “opportunity” to sleep at the fire station, but do not have a “guarantee” that they will. While there are nights were they can get 8 hours of sleep, there are many nights were they cannot. Just last week (March 25-31), the WFD responded to 48 calls for service between the hours of 11PM and 7AM (this is public record if you would take the time to research it). That comes to a call for service every 70 minutes, much less than the 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep you seem to think they get every night. On top of this, your answer is that they should then go out and work a part-time job with little to no sleep, as well as continuing to miss out on the holidays, weekends, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and family reunions, among other important family events that they miss out on, while still working an average of 56 hours a week at the fire station without getting paid time and a half for those additional 16 hours.

Finally, when you say that if they are not happy making $10 an hour, and that they knew this coming in, then they should just leave, I ask you this: “How much is your life or the life of your loved one worth?” At $10 dollars an hour multiplied by the 2,920 hours a firefighter works on average, then you are saying that your life is only worth $29,200, and not a penny more!!!! Because as you have said, if firefighters want more pay, they should just go find another job. So I will ask you one more time, “How much is your life or the life of your loved one worth?”. Because if you ask those whose lives have been saved by the members of the Wilmington Fire Department, I’m sure that they will say that it is worth every penny ever spent by the City of Wilmington on every firefighter who has every dedicated themselves to helping protect the lives and property of our citizens. Also, it is true that firefighters did not take this job expecting to become rich at it, but they took the job because of their desire to help others, their desire to have a rewarding career, and because they expected that the citizens they serve will recognize this fact and provide them with a LIVING WAGE, and most importantly, to support them in the eyes of our city leaders, instead of criticizing them based on some out-dated, and mis-informed ideas they have about what the professionals of the Wilmington Fire Department truly do.

Also, for everyone who says that the firefighters who have decided to make a career out of serving the citizens of Wilmington, who have roots in this community, who are starting families, buying homes, and helping to invest in the future of our community, should just leave, then I also ask you this: “With all things being equal, if you were to have open-heart surgery and out of the two surgeons who could have one has only done the procedure once and has only been out of school for a year, or one who has done the procedure over 500 times over their 25 year career, who would you choose?”. Because if every firefighter in Wilmington was to truly follow your advice, the department would be left with a bunch of 18 year olds straight out of high school who just need a “job” for a couple of years until a better one comes along. That is the logical conclusion to your line of thought, period.

But hey, instead of being able to go home after their 24 hour shift to tell their family that they love them, missed them, and that they are sorry they were not there for Christmas morning, sorry that they cannot tuck their children into bed one/third of the time, and to tell their loved one to keep holding down the fort for the next 24 hours, until they can safely return home again, maybe they should just go and get a second job, or a third, or a fourth, instead of being paid a fair living wage based on the wages of other departments in the region and the state, because, as one of our former city council members said, “you can’t save them all”, but hopefully one of them will not be you, or someone you love and care about.

P.S. What’s really funny is that as I went to post my reply, the top two stories are how the Wilmington Fire Department is currently on scene of a major gas leak downtown that is causing the evacuation of some homes, and earlier in the day, the Wilmington Fire Department responded to a four-car accident that sent two toddlers to the hospital. Funny how you never hear about the hard work the members of the WFD do on a day in and day out basis, or how they just sleep all the time (by the way, that’s sarcasm).

TL;DR

I did, however, read the P.S. and thought I'd respond to that. You mention that the top stories were WFD was on the scene of a major gas leak, and also a four-car accident that sent two toddlers to the hospital... So, you want more money to do your job? I don't go to work, do my job and then ask for more money because I'm doing what I'm supposed to. Keep up the good work, maybe you'll make a great panhandler.

Fire fighters' pay...

Do you see how ridiculous not paying our first responders according to their level of danger and expertise?

One year ago, our City Council (especially the esteemed Mayor) blasted on how the taxpayers wanted and would benefit from a stadium that each and every one of us would have had to pay for. Of course, the voters proved them wrong.

This year, they say they aren't giving increases to our first responders, our fire fighters who put their lives in harms way to save our lives and our properties. They say the voters don't want to pay taxes for that. I hope we prove them wrong again by taking each one of them out of office.

Firefighter and Teacher Pay

I think a lot of firefighters should deserve a pay raise since one I know personally pretty well (Jason Jordan) works quite hard at what he does as the Captain and teaching courses and all that he does. Also, I think teachers in Pender County should get a pay raise since I know someone personally as a 17 year teacher getting paid as a 2nd year teacher. Thankful to have a job but is not getting treated fairly as far as I am concerned with the pay.

They dont care

They could care less..buying up land for parks so criminals can hang out and delapidated parking decks are more important.

10$ an hour to run in your

10$ an hour to run in your house and pull you out of bed in the middle of the night while your house is burning down

Didn't do your research diddya?

Firefighting is a thankless job that comes with few benefits and has never been a high paying "career". Most of you do it because of the "calling", like teachers and social workers. Some of you do it because you can't do anything else.

You should've understood the pay scales way before you committed yourself. You can still change careers. Go to college, get a degree with a promising future and pursue that.

The Wilmington area is a 10-12 dollar/hr job town all day long. You aren't the only one.

lol

A. How often does that happen? I read/watch the news pretty often, majority of the time, it seems as though no one is home, a neighbor saves the victim, the victim dies, or a fire fighter actually saves them... rare.

B. If they are making only $10 an hour and they don't feel like they are compensated enough for their job, they have that choice that everyone else has... quit, find a new job with better pay.

C. I don't believe you are a fire fighter. I know plenty of people that work for Sunny Point, Wilmington and New Hanover County fire departments, and most of them get tons of over time, and they get to sleep at the fire station while doing so. Yeah, time and a half for sleeping for 6 to 8 hours, tough job.

I never thought when I

I never thought when I became a firefighter for this city that I'd have to get food stamps to feed my family
Frikkin sad....

I know plenty of people that work at least two jobs...

...sometimes more to make ends meet! You have to do what you have to do to provide. This is still a very tough economy and it's likely going to get worse. As "frikkin sad..." as that is...it just is.

If you ever decide to change careers, do yourself a big favor and THINK about the pay well ahead next time. It'll help you avoid those food stamp issues you complain about. A second job can help you with that as well. While I immensly appreciate 1st responders of fire and rescue, I know that sitting on the pity pot will not aid your problem of compensation.

If I had my way..

rest damn assured this would NOT be the case!!! Thanks for your service! I am embarrassed we the people have let you down. You deserve better my friend!!

What's Sad

What's sad is that you don't find another job. Be glad you have one. You could be like so many others, jobless.

If you can't feed em, don't breed em.

With all due respect you knew what the job pays up front. If you need more money for your family get a second job. Not many of us have jobs in which we get paid to eat and sleep while on duty.

Could not cut it

You sound like one of the folks that could not make the "cut" in such a cushy job. Don't criticize us for your your own shortcomings.