New Orleans Fire Department cuts costs to balance budget
The New Orleans Fire Department has announced a new redeployment plan to help balance its budget and become more efficient.
The NOFD announced Friday that it will change the way it operates, but is promising to offer the same level of service to citizens.
Fire Department officials say budget cuts at City Hall have forced the changes.
NOFD Assistant Superintendent Tim McConnell says the plan essentially reassigns how it uses its personnel and equipment.
"That redeployment plan will keep all fire houses open, it will keep all equipment engines that respond with water and the ability to fight fire," McConnell told WWL-TV.
However, the NOFD says two ladder companies will close by the end of this year, on Old Gentilly Road and Arabella Street. And, several vacant positions won't be filled.
McConnell says reassignments & cross-training will take place, but it's a way to save jobs.
"It will effect the amount of people who are assigned to our special units which we call our special operations units which currently are heavy rescue units that run with 8, they'll be running with 4," said McConnell.
However, not everyone is convinced.
"We understand the financial crisis that the City is in but to balance it on safety is a very, very huge concern of ours," said New Orleans Firefighters Union President Nick Felton. The union believes that NOFD's redeployment plan is a danger to firefighters and citizens.
"Anyway you look at it, the numbers don't lie. You're going from 770 to 694 that's a reduction in the amount of available personnel in any department," said Felton.