Sure seems like the only time the Humboldt Bay Firefighters Union makes headlines these days is through complaining about established and logical Humboldt Bay Firefighters, or by just downright lying.
They even manage to do both in the same number of days early this week.
First, let’s look at the Union’s side of a story centering around the recent suspension of HBF’s rescue swimmer operations. In summary, if you’re stuck in the water in a dangerous situation, don’t call the fire department because they just don’t have the money to come and get you.
Here’s a press release from the Union on the matter:
In that press release, Union President Matt McFarland had this to say: “Union members are committed to finding budget solutions that will allow a swim based program to be reinstated in the future.”
Of course, within a few hours, HBF Chief Bill Gillespie put out a contrary press release stating that the suspension of the swimmer program had absolutely zero to do with money, but a lot to do with a lack of firefighters willing to get trained to perform those rescues.
Here’s the HBF press release:
HUMBOLDT BAY FIRE: Contrary to What Our Firefighters’ Union Told You, The Rescue Swimmer Program Was Suspended Due to Lack of Swimmers, Not of Funds
We take Gillespie’s comments to mean that none of the members of the Union are willing to go through the training to provide the life-saving service. And, hey, we don’t find a whole heck of a lot of fault with that, other than it’s a shame to lose a tool that has, according to Gillespie’s press release, “…over the past 6-7 years the swimmer-based program has been responsible for a number of rescues of persons who ended up in the water due to one circumstance or another. Some of these persons would have drowned had it not been for the swift action of our swimmers.”
But the screwy part is the Union’s insistence that the program’s failure is due to funds, when it would appear that there’s plenty of opportunity for firefighters to fill that gap if they actually wanted to. Those of us in the real world would call that lying.
On the bright side, maybe those now-unused funds can be re-appropriated since they aren’t being taken advantage of and put to good use elsewhere in the City’s budget. (We’re thinking dealing with our grave housing issues, but that’s just us.)
In the meantime, HBF can leave water rescues up to the qualified – and willing! – folks over at the Coast Guard and the Sheriff’s office.