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Thread: Safety Ropes Sought for City Firefighters

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    Safety Ropes Sought for City Firefighters

    NYTimes
    Published: February 5, 2005

    Nearly two weeks after two firefighters jumped to their deaths from a burning building in the Bronx, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta said in an interview televised yesterday that he would seek emergency financing from the city to equip every firefighter with a personal rope.

    His comments came amid widespread calls that ropes be provided after the deaths of the two firefighters, Lt. Curtis W. Meyran and John G. Bellew, on Jan. 23. Neither was equipped with a rope.

    "We're going to get personal ropes for every firefighter," Mr. Scoppetta in the interview on WCBS. He said the ropes would provide a means to rappel down a wall.

    Mr. Scoppetta was interviewed for a taping of "Sunday Edition" with Marcia Kramer. Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, which has called on the department to procure ropes, was also interviewed. "Having ropes is critical to our safety," he said.

    Francis X. Gribbon, a Fire Department spokesman, said after the interview was broadcast on the WCBS news yesterday that the department was considering 8 to 10 rope systems and would make its selection within weeks. He said the department hoped to acquire the ropes in less than the six to nine months normally expected for major procurements.

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    Angry����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� New York Fire Commissioner, Union Leader Clash Over Safety Ropes, Budget Cuts

    New York Fire Commissioner, Union Leader Clash Over Safety Ropes, Budget Cuts



    Updated: 02-15-2005 09:37:38 AM


    DAVE EVANS
    Courtesy of WABC - New York

    (New York -WABC, Feb. 14, 2005) -- The issue of fire safety ropes for the FDNY is, once again, took center stage today.

    At a city council hearing Nicholas Scopetta - the head of the department - promised the ropes would be available to all firefighters in a matter of weeks, not months as originally stated. That's one of several tough issues the fire commissioner faced today.

    Political reporter Dave Evans joins us now with more on today's hearing.

    When you stand back and look at today's bickering it becomes clear - it's probably going to be a while before there's a new contract for firefighters. Management and union leaders clashed on the issue of safety ropes, budget cuts and new work rules for firefighters.

    Ever since the mayor pushed through this new work rule, it has been a bone of contention for firefighters. If more than 7.5 percent of the force calls in sick, city hall can cut from five to four the number of firefighters on certain rigs. Union leaders now claim the department is fudging its numbers.

    Steve Cassidy, UFA Union President: "Their conduct is outrageous. They've done it secretively. We only know because sources inside the department let us know about it."

    Inside city hall the fire commissioner said union leaders are simply wrong about how sick leave is calculated. Then today's hearing turned to personal safety ropes, and why firefighters don't have them.

    On January 23rd six firefighters jumped from a burning Bronx apartment building and two of them died. The commissioner promises new ropes will be here in just a few week, and then he took a dig at union leaders.

    Nick Scoppetta, FDNY Commissioner: "I have never heard a word from the UFA about the need for personal safety ropes."

    Steve Cassidy, UFA Union President: "They don't give you the proper material to protect yourself, you get hurt, they use those statistics to slash man power. Their conduct is outrageous."

    Today's hearing also touched on why the department is 91 percent white men, with only 28 women on the force. But mostly today's hearing was again bout how the chief of the department and the union seem to clash on just about everything.

    Nick Scoppetta, FDNY Commissioner: "I'm trying not to elevate every disagreement between Steve Cassidy and the department into another media event. I think that's what he's trying to do."

    Steve Cassidy, UFA Union President: "He apparently doesn't know much about how firefighters operate in the city of New York."

    Firefighters have been without a contract since may of 2002. Commissioner Scoppetta accuses Cassidy of saber rattling because he allegedly faces trouble in his own reelection efforts as president of the union. Cassidy has called that accusation silly and so the bickering continues.

    http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...Id=46&id=39354

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