Last week, informational meetings were held for all cardfile captains Department-wide. The purpose was to share information and dialogue about on-going short and long-term strategies that are designed to relieve staffing challenges throughout the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD). The same meeting occurred with chief officers this week.
“I thought it was a good idea for all cardfile captains to get together, so we can be on the same page,” said Fire Captain Marshall Oldham, who has served in his capacity as a cardfile captain at Fire Station 126 since 2002. He felt the meetings were helpful in making sure everyone was following the same protocols and procedures as they schedule and staff positions. “It will be beneficial for overall consistency.”
Over the past few years, strategies to help fill vacancies in a timely manner included mass hiring, mass promotions, and the release of 40-hour details. At the same time, retirements and an unprecedented number of team members on industrial injury have impacted personnel and the fiscal health of the Department.
“We know that hiring and filling vacancies with full-time firefighters are the long-term fix,” said Chief Deputy David R. Richardson, Jr. “We are hopeful that the short-term staffing strategies will bring relief to our personnel. The health, safety, and welfare of our personnel is paramount. We understand and are aware of the concerns of our members, and are working toward bringing relief.”
To assist with staffing challenges and the number of recalls, the Department and Local 1014 met to develop a plan which was introduced and outlined in an early August advisory (EA-317) which is available for viewing on the LACoFD intranet. Some of these temporary strategies include the postponement of 2020 paramedic classes, the reassignment of probationary firefighters and the potential to recall trade.
“Labor and Management both recognized that we are in a staffing crisis and it is affecting the well-being of our firefighters,” said Lew Currier, Vice President for Local 1014. “We got together and collaborated to create a short-term solution until a long-term plan for hiring can be accomplished.”
Management and Labor are committed to continually meet and discuss long-term measures that will relieve staffing challenges.