DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Londonderry

May 29, 2014

Londonderry fire staffing numbers still a concern

LONDONDERRY — Staffing levels at the fire department continue to be a point of concern between fire and town officials.

Fire Chief Darren O’Brien told town councilors at a meeting May 19 that his department’s staffing levels were forced to drop from 10 firefighters per shift down to nine.

That includes eight firefighters and one battalion chief per shift.

“We’re trying to do the best we can,” O’Brien said.

The town’s fire budget has been a financial concern for many months as a spending freeze put in place earlier this year was partially designed to help keep the department’s overtime charges in check.

Bo Butler is president of the town’s firefighters union. He said he is very worried about the staffing levels and what that might mean for the town’s safety.

“There is a frustration level,” he said. “It still blows my mind that the town of Londonderry can’t maintain a staffing level of 10.”

Butler said since staffing is affected, Londonderry has had to rely more on mutual aid from other communities.

“We’re losing revenue,” he said.

Butler said O’Brien has worked hard to come up with a game plan that will support taxpayers’ safety and also the safety of the firefighters.

He said he wants the public to be aware of what’s going on with the department.

“We need to let the citizens know,” he said.

Butler said it’s important to bring the issue forward and that it’s not always about the money.

“It’s about safety, the safety of my members is at risk,” he said. “The taxpayers deserve to know.”

Councilors agreed to revisit the fire staffing issue at a later date.

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