Humboldt Bay Firefighters’ Union can’t stop complaining, Pt. 1

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:

Citing Lack of Funds, Humboldt Bay Fire Suspends Rescue Swimmer Program, Firefighters’ Union Says

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.

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5 Responses to Humboldt Bay Firefighters’ Union can’t stop complaining, Pt. 1

  1. Lynn Mae says:

    I had read both press releases and I wonder if what the firefighters want is to be paid to travel someplace for training (someplace nice, no doubt) and while the swimmers are gone, the remaining ffrs would have to work much more overtime to cover for the sffrs. So for them a win/win
    situation except there’s no doubt other problems that would surface once the basics (which is all they’ve discussed) are covered.
    I’m no mind reader but I do have a few ounces of common sense left in my brain and I could see where the new sticking points might be:
    Hazardous duty pay? (there might be something in the water besides fish and a person)
    Time off after to recuperate from the exertions of swimming and helping rescue someone
    If bay water got into the body (unplanned swallowing) getting a physical to ensure no damage
    to health
    >->->->->-
    Now to the legal stuff. You know me…if there’s anything to do with any government group I want to know who they are and what they’re supposed to do. Nosy? You bet.
    The website says:
    “Humboldt Bay Fire is listed as an “all risk” fire department. What does that mean?

    Humboldt Bay Fire is a full service fire department responding to all types of emergencies. Humboldt Bay Fire handles everything from all types of fires, to emergency medical calls, to all types of rescue, to Hazardous Materials emergencies.”
    http://www.hbfire.org/faq.html

    For comparison I looked at the Arcata FD website. Didn’t find quite the same info there but something interesting: Under \About’ there’s a link for Arcata Professional Firefighters L4981 Mou2015 which is their contract. Didn’t see ANYTHING like that on the Eureka site. I know
    you’ve posted that here but pleasantly surprising to find it’s there for anyone to click on and
    read.
    But the things I quoted from Eureka Fire don’t exist on the Arcata site.
    Eureka firemen (you’ll have to read it, I can’t do a copy/past from either site) for the most part
    are EMT trained with some having more advanced training.

    People keep using the term ‘Swimmers’. Seems to me technically they would be lifesavers and
    should have that basic training…except being a fireman probably included most of that. Please tell me if I’m wrong.

    So here’s another link and this covers all the various training programs in CA for lifesaving…
    http://www.lifeguardtraininghq.com/lifeguard-requirements-in-california/
    I sorta think that the Sheriff’s office has training for their men and the Coast Guard certainly.
    But let’s go back to what it says on the HBF: “to all types of rescue”. If saving someone from
    drowning isn’t a type of rescue what is it?
    I don’t have the answer but you could send your suggestions to THC, I know I’d like to see what
    people come up with.

    Like

  2. Rusty says:

    By my score that’s strike two for Matt McFarland. One more and he’s out?

    Like

  3. Disillusioned says:

    McFarland is a proven liar.

    Like

  4. Pingback: THC HBF Unions “can’t stop complaining” « Shhh! Not OK to Say (In Humboldt)

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