The minimum number of firefighters on duty for the Perrysburg Fire Department is changing indefinitely from five to four.
City officials originally planned on the change being temporary.
Pete Scarborough, President of the Perrysburg Firefighters Local 3331 Union, says two of the four on the job normally man an ambulance, not a fire truck.
??Two guys on a fire can??t even make an interior attack,?? he said. ??Meaning, if it??s someone trapped in that house, we cannot go in there after them.??
This isn??t the first time city officials have dropped the minimum shift to four. In the past, it was only temporary, and no major problems arose.
City Councilman Todd Grayson says if it??s safe enough to do for a few weeks, it??s safe enough to do all the time. He says the city has the funds to keep the minimum shift at five. The decision was made to save money.
The overtime budget for the Perrysburg Fire Department has gone up each year for the last three years. Despite that, the department has gone over the budget each time.
Perrysburg resident Jacki Stedman puts public safety over budget concerns on her priority list. ??I want to know that they??re there when we need them,?? she said. ??That when we call, and if three other people call at the same time, I want to know that they??re there for us.??
Four is the minimum, but there are usually more than four firefighters on duty. Still, Scarborough says the change is filling him with fear and anxiety.
??We??ve rolled the dice and been lucky quite a few times,?? Scarborough said.