Fire Fighters Association says Goose Creek policy “jeopardizes public safety”

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 8:20 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 10, 2022 at 11:40 PM EDT
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GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCSC) - There is a new policy to make sure there are enough Goose Creek firefighters to respond to calls. It is a minimum staffing requirement of 12 members per 24-hour shift.

This policy became effective over the last week and now the Professional Fire Fighters of Goose Creek say they adamantly oppose it.

The Professional Fire Fighters of South Carolina says this new policy of requiring firefighters to work extra shifts jeopardizes public safety in Goose Creek and is burdensome and unsafe for everyone.

The City of Goose Creek implemented the policy for Goose Creek Fire Department that requires them to be ready at any moment’s notice for a 24-hour shift to meet staffing requirements. It comes as the city is dealing with a shortage of firefighters.

The policy says “should shifts not be voluntarily covered, employees will be subject to being forced as a last resort utilizing the current force list method that is in place.”

“I honestly feel for this last week and a half, with the mayor and his statements and putting the blame for him and deferring the real issue,” Roger Odachowski, the President of the Professional Fire Fighters of South Carolina, said. “I think it’s going to take the citizens of Goose Creek to make that change, and or, somebody new in there.”

Goose Creek Mayor Gregory Habib issued a statement in response to the associations’ remarks.

The major change of the policy in question was to ensure our firefighters are getting paid time and a half for any shift outside of their normal shift. We wanted to ensure we were properly compensating them before taking on extra. Every department relies on every other department. I am proud that our firefighters have teamed together to address the situation that we’re in.

The full news release from the Professional Fire Fighters of South Carolina and a photo of the policy can be viewed below.

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