Mpls. City Council Discusses Future of Fire Department
Two Minneapolis City Council committees discussed the future of the Minneapolis Fire Department Monday morning. Emergency Services Consulting International looked into problems with the department. The findings were presented in a final report.
The report cost $147,000 to complete and was done in three phases over several months.
During the meeting, Kent Greene with ESCI admitted to an error in the report with respect to the number of hours firefighters were taking for sick leave. Initial numbers angered local union members and Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel said they were inaccurate.
"There was a number, actually two numbers, that were in the report
that were in error. 292 hours and 261 hours respectively were identified as the average. Well that number is a three year aggregate number," Greene said.
When divided by three, the numbers in the report are close to similar departments where the average is between 60 and 96 sick hours per year.
According to the report, deployment for the department is good. Nearly 98 percent of the city is reachable within 4 minutes.
However, the report says 13 of the departments 19 stations need either renovation or replacement.
"Available resources is key," Greene said. "Closing stations and moving people out of certain areas, in our opinion, is not the answer."
One issued addressed in the report is staffing. There has been a steady decline in the last decade. In 2001 there were 483 full-time employees, and now there are just 394. Earlier this month, Fruetel said he would like to see about 100 firefighters on duty each day.