Minneapolis needs to hire 40 additional firefighters, which would raise staffing from 385 to 425, according to Mark Lakosky, President of Local 82 of the Firefighters union.
Last year, firefighters and emergency medical service crews responded to a record-high 37,011 calls. Three years ago, in 2009, there were 5,000 fewer calls and 32 additional responders for a total of 417.
“The Minneapolis Fire Department is not meeting its own standards to protect the safety of the public,” said Lakosky.
Last year, 81.2 percent of the emergency medical service calls had a response time of less than five minutes. Calls to firefighters in 2012 produced responses of less than five minutes 80 percent of the time. The standard set by the National Fire Protection Association recommends a response in four minutes or less at least 90 percent of the time.
“It’s not about jobs,” said Lakosky. “We are failing the citizens of Minneapolis.” He is calling on the mayor and council members, who are about to begin work on the 2014 budget, to consider the additional firefighters.
Traditionally the mayor begins the budgeting process in August with a budget speech outlining spending plans for the coming year.