Mayor’s Fire Truck Campaign Tasteless: Fire Fighters

Rob Ford Exchanges Public Safety for a cheap political stunt
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 17, 2014 TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford’s decision to use a fire truck to trumpet his false claims about taxpayer savings Thursday is a slap in the face to tens of thousands of Toronto residents whose fire protection levels will decrease Monday when four actual fire trucks are taken out of service, says the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association. Astonishingly, the cuts and resulting delays in emergency response will save the average Toronto taxpayer a measly two cents a day, says TPFFA President Ed Kennedy. “Mayor Rob Ford’s actions today were utterly tasteless,” said Kennedy, a Scarborough resident who stands to be affected by the cuts. “Public safety is not a game or a political trinket, it’s a mayor’s number one responsibility to his citizens. And when the consequences of these cuts to frontline services become evident, Rob Ford had better be prepared to face those families and explain why he jeopardized their safety in exchange for a cheap photo op.” Starting Monday, it will take fire fighters longer to reach addresses in the event of fires, medical emergencies such as heart attacks and other emergencies such as vehicle accidents where victims may be trapped and require extrication, due to the decommissioning of four fire trucks. Affected residents will notice increased response times, but won’t notice any savings on their tax bills, nor will their tax bills be lower than other Toronto residents whose fire trucks aren’t being cut and who will receive faster emergency response.

The mayor’s claim that he’s saved taxpayers a billion dollars has been proven false time and time again by media and by financial experts alike, as are his claims that any cuts to services are inconsequential. Last year, Mayor Ford cut several training officers, which caused the city to fall below accepted standards for fire department training, according to the City Auditor. It was fireground survival training that saved a fire fighter’s life in a recent ‘mayday’ situation Kennedy noted. Training cuts put the publics’ and fire fighters’ lives at risk. “As an affected resident, I’m furious that Rob Ford is jeopardizing the safety of my family and my property in exchange for what is a cheap photo-op in support of his baseless financial claims,” Kennedy said. “If there’s one thing taxpayers expect their tax dollars to do, it’s to protect them. It’s supposed to be the mayor’s number one job. Taxes should be used to provide essential, lifesaving services – not as a political gimmick or as a stick to beat people with,” he said. “If Mayor Ford is trotting out a fire truck as a prop in the election campaign, then I would urge the residents impacted and all Torontonians to ask him why he feels the residents of the greatest city in the world deserve decreasing fire protection and decreasing levels of public safety, and cheap political gimmicks instead of innovation and real leadership. True leaders take public safety seriously.” Ed Kennedy President Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association

Frank Ramagnano, Media Relations- ramagnano@torontofirefighters.org (647-224-3888) Ed Kennedy, President – kennedy@torontofirefighters.org (416-805-3888)

About the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association The Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association (TPFFA) represents the fire fighters of the Toronto Fire Services. Formed in 1998 with the amalgamation of the City of Toronto, the TPFFA brought together the former associations into a new association. The association is a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), as Local 3888, and the Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association.

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