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How NL Layoffs Could Become Waterford's Problem

Waterford firefighters and EMS workers went on 455 calls in other towns last year. Will that number go up if the city lays off 40 percent of its firefighters, as proposed?

Right now, the New London City Council is deciding or accept a tentative agreement with the firefighters' union. If the 24 layoffs do take effect, meaning roughly a 40 percent reduction in manpower, it would have a devestating impact on New London, Mayor Daryl Finizio has said.

It is likely going to impact Waterford as well, First Selectman Dan Steward said Tuesday. Waterford's fire service regularly provides aid to New London, and if there are fewer men, there is a chance the need for mutual aid will increase dramatically, Steward said.

“We can’t be in there every week on a volunteer basis,” Steward said. “That’s not something we can necessarily do. We don’t have the manpower to go in and give all that support.”

The Situation

New London is still deciding to lay off 24 firefighters or to accept a deal with the firefighter’s union that will result in some immediate savings but improve the firefighters’ pension plan. The layoffs were supposed to take effect Tuesday, but

Meanwhile, Waterford went on 135 fire calls and 320 ambulance calls for mutual aid last year, according to numbers provided by the Waterford First Selectmen’s office. With 40 percent of the firefighters possibly leaving, those numbers could increase, Steward said.

“We do mutual aid when they call us in, but that is the exception – not the rule,” he said.

Mutual aid is when towns provide fire or ambulance services to other towns in case of an emergency, and Waterford will go to other towns such as East Lyme, Montville and New London. Waterford goes on far more calls into New London than New London comes into Waterford, Steward said.

Steward said he can’t say what definite effect the layoffs would have on Waterford, and he said he hoped New London could work something out and avoid the layoffs all-together. But if New London does reduce its force, it is going to impact other towns, he said.

“What (one town or city) does effects everybody,” Steward said. “We are all dependent on each other.”

Brad Neff July 18, 2012 at 01:26 PM
@ Carrie Jacobson, this story has nothing to do with regional dispatching. This is about the huge risk that the City of New London is taking. They are looking at trying to get the most bang for there buck and looking at layoffs thinking that it would save money for the City. Life safety is what's at stake and I'm sorry your can't put a price on someones life but apparently that must have been overlooked.
fedspy July 18, 2012 at 02:43 PM
i dont have a problem with mutual aid with other towns, except when it becomes excessive and puts our rescue personnel in harm's way protecting another town or city's property or lives of its citizens. public safety is the number one responsibility of each town or city, and if new london thinks we are going to bail them out with mutual aid, i think its going to come as a cost to new london to pay waterford each time waterford comes to their rescue. somebody has to pay, and waterford should not have to assume the costs of public safety for new london. Mr. Steward is correct, we dont have the manpower to respond to another city or town's emergencies, when they create a crisis by not having adequate public safety personnel themselves.
Edward July 18, 2012 at 02:54 PM
No, it has nothing to do with providing Ambulances and Fire Appratus.
Mr. C. July 19, 2012 at 01:32 PM
The concept of mutual aid is that it should be mutual. I don't think the NLFD went to Waterford 400 times last year, You also have the City of New London basically looking to replace career members with volunteers by bringing in Waterford more often. The effects of these layoffs will be most certain, more citizens and firefighters will be injured or killed, that's your tradeoff.
Daniella Ruiz July 19, 2012 at 04:19 PM
this is classic, a city that has seen many of its taxpaying business's run like skeered rabbits to 'tax haven' Waterford, leaving NL with no options but to slyly fashion ways to dump the deficit ONTO Waterford. Jewelers, Clothiers, shoe sales, beverage distributors, name anyone, and they have left NL's acrid and seamy politics behind them. Even the medical business's/industry is seeping out into Waterford, bit by bit. Regionalization was one of the topics regarding public services, even a few years back, to lower sub-urban towns distributed costs, perhaps this could enter into this.

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