The Tucson Fire Fighter Association is calling on the City of Tucson to fix the public safety issue in the city.
Association President, Josh Campbell says with the growth of the city they will need more firefighters. "It's expanding daily adding businesses, adding housing and to firefighters that means an increased of calls to out 911 system. This will increase building inspections for our fire prevention inspectors and we're not set up to handle that volume."
In a facebook post - the association says, the department had 94,000 calls in 2017 and they have lost 10% of their staff.
To be fully staffed - The department needs 680 firefighter but they only have 614.
Please remember, YOUR Tucson Fire Fighters are your last line of defense between YOU and YOUR emergency. If you call 911, we will be there to help. The Tucson Fire Fighters have been significantly overworked, and entirely disregarded during this year’s budget discussions. Despite Local 479’s tireless efforts to educate and work with the City of Tucson to resolve pay and compression issues, Tucson Fire Fighters have all but been forgotten.
There is a SERIOUS PUBLIC SAFETY problem in Tucson, not just a police problem. If the status quo continues, we will begin seeing a mass exodus of Tucson's own Fire Fighters at an alarming rate.
Campbell says there are two solutions to the issue, "add and retain firefighters."
"We're seeing some leave the department because of lack of pay, lack of compensation and just being over worked and over run," says Campbell.
KGUN9 reached out to Councilmember Steve Kozachik for a statement, he says,
"Everyone on the council knows we have needs in fire as well as in police. We are also paying $83 million this year alone in their pensions and have to balance the rest of the budget. We'll do what we can within the fiscal realities we're facing but I won't get drawn into a bidding war between the agencies."