Hobart Firefighters Say Newspaper Article Was Inaccurate

Hobart Firefighters Union responds to an inaccurate article posted by the Northwest Indiana Times on Wednesday, October 21, 2020, City of Hobart officials stated that all four of the city’s fire stations are staffed, and manpower is up to 14 firefighters per shift, Local 1641 President Enrique Lopez told RNS.

“Under current manpower shortfalls, it’s challenging for first arriving Hobart Fire Department (HFD) crews to safely and effectively operate when lives hang in the balance,” said Lopez.

Although all fire stations are currently open in the city of Hobart, here is how they are staffed:

Station 1: Engine 1 = 0 FF’s, Ladder 1 = 3 FF’s, Ambulance 1 = 0 FF’s, Battalion Chief = 1

Station 2: Engine 2 = 2 FF’s, Ambulance 2 = 2 FF’s/Med

Station 3: Engine 3 = 0 FF’s, Ambulance 3 = 2 FF’s/Med

Station 4: Engine 4 = 2 FF’s, Ambulance 4 = 2 FF’s/Med

A standard response linked here states (https://www.nfpa.org/Codes-and-Standards/ARCHIVED/Safer-Act-Grant/NFPA-1710) for a house fire is at least 17 fire fighters. A standard response for a cardiac arrest is at least 5 fire fighters and paramedics. Under these standards, this is an inadequate number of fire fighters and paramedics to handle the amount of fires, car accidents, and medical emergencies that the city of Hobart receives on a daily basis, Lopez stressed.

“While we appreciate the increase in approved overtime to try and maintain 14 staffed firefighters/paramedics, we are far from fully staffed. A minimum is the absolute worst-case scenario that we should never go under. Fully staffed is how we should be operating on a daily bases, which is 4 on an engine and 2 on an ambulance at every station.” said Enrique Lopez, President of Hobart Professional Firefighters Local 1641.

“I am not a tax or finance expert, but I think we must come together and have the very
important conversation about not only new revenue sources, but how we’re using sources such as Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Districts. Meaning, revenues collected from TIF Districts, are not allowed to be used in the fire department general fund. We can talk about how those TIF Districts can be used to
fund fire department infrastructure and operations,” said Lopez.

As Hobart leaders look to make long-term staffing decisions, Local 1641 looks forward to being part of the process. “We look forward to having further discussions with Mayor Snedecor and city officials over emergency response times and staffing Hobart’s four fire stations,” said Lopez. “Local 1641 owes the citizens and visitors of Hobart properly equipped and well-trained professional fire fighters and paramedics to respond to emergencies,” said Lopez.

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