Post Content

The Alexandria Fire Department is ‘on fire,’ says union

It’s been nearly two months since the International Association of Firefighters Local 2141 tweeted about staff holdovers or equipment failure. For years the union has alerted the public of major outstanding issues, but their silence isn’t because things are getting better.

Things are just really busy, says union President Captain Josh Turner.

During the week of July 4, Turner worked more than 100 hours straight, in addition to leading the union’s collective bargaining negotiating team. Turner and his team are working with the city to hammer out a collective bargaining agreement by mid-November — just before the first City Council budget retreat.

“There’s a lot going on here,” said Union President Captain Josh Turner. “Everybody on the on the union side of negotiation team already works a 56-hour work week, and we continue to have staffing issues.”

Mayor Justin Wilson did not comment on what negotiated agreements with the Fire Department, Police Department and Sheriff’s unions could mean budget-wise for the city.

“The (City) Manager has certainly kept us updated on the ongoing negotiations with both the police and fire union,” Wilson told ALXnow. “We hope to conclude those negotiations in the next few weeks/months.”

Fire Chief Corey Smedley has attended a handful of the negotiating sessions, and said that his staff have received significant raises in the fiscal year 2023 budget, which went into effect July 1.

“The department needs everybody to do their part,” he told ALXnow. “Whether that’s our firefighters and paramedics on the front line, whether that’s our human resource professionals and other support staff, we need them to continue to do great work that they do every day.”

Smedley continued, “The frontline personnel, firefighters and paramedics have or will receive anywhere between a 9% and 12% raise this fiscal year, with the combination of their market scale adjustment and their merit increases.”

The fiscal year 2023 budget included a 7% raise for firefighters, medics and fire marshals; a 6% raise for Police Department and Sheriff’s Office staff and a 4.5% raise for general city employees.

The raise fell short of the 10% that the union wanted, and while the financial terms and conditions of the collective bargaining remain tightly under wraps, firefighters have been hit by inflation.

“The fire department’s on fire,” Turner said. “You can make $14,000 more a year as a paramedic in Loudoun County than you would here in the city. Frankly, our members live out there anyway because they can’t afford to live in Alexandria. I got guys going, ‘Hey, man, why would I stay? I love the community. I want to be here, but I’m driving through three counties, including the one that’s going to pay me more, to get to Alexandria.'”

In July, the union said that frequent equipment failures put the lives of residents at risk.

According to the Alexandria Fire Department, between August 2021 and August 2022, about three AFD staffers were held over per day.

The department has 289 sworn employees and 23 civilian employees, and the department needs 347 to be fully staffed. Additionally, 25 employees (sworn and civilian) left the department this year, and AFD training academy expects 19 new recruits to graduate in January.

Smedley says the department needs 26 more sworn and civilian positions, and that the FY2023 budget allows him to hire 20 staffers to fill the gap.

Additionally, Smedley said that AFD should, within the next several weeks, receive several new vehicles.

“We have also purchased some fleet that we are anticipating within the next couple of weeks receiving and being able to place in service so that we can ease some of the burden of our older fleet,” Smedley said. “We are receiving in the next couple of weeks to place in service five new ambulances.”

Recent Stories

An Alexandria woman was caught carrying a loaded gun at a security checkpoint at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Tuesday (October 4). The incident occurred in the early morning,…

Last Friday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that the Potomac Yard Metro station would not be opening this fall, as they’d been insisting it would for months….

One of Alexandria’s more unique Halloween traditions, a reenactment of Edgar Allen Poe’s 19th-century speaking engagements, is set to return for two nights later this month. Every year, The Lyceum…

It’s a change that likely won’t go noticed by many Alexandrians, but the city is making an adjustment to its manholes that could have an impact on flooding during storms….

Looking for a more convenient way to work out?

On the Go Fitness Pro offers in home personal training. We bring the gym to you, so you can save time and skip the hassle of going to the gym. Plus, our trainers are certified and experienced, so you can be sure you’re getting the best possible workout.

We provide all the equipment needed for a great workout or we can use the equipment that you have.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Are you tired of going to the gym? It might be the crowds, the locker room, waiting on equipment or the time it takes to commute to the gym.

Having a personal trainer come to your home will keep you accountable, save you time and allow you to workout in the comfort of your own home.

Skip the hassle of the gym and try our in-home personal training service.

Our services are reasonably priced, convenient, effective and are risk free.

Read More

Submit your own Community Post here.

Think BIG! About the Future of Movement

Join the City of Alexandria and Arlington County’s Initiative to Rethink Energy at our first ever electric vehicle (EV) and sustainable technologies showcase! Get inspired by seeing a variety of electric cars, scooters, bikes, motorcycles, police cars, buses, trucks and

Between Home and the Front: Book Talk and Signing

Join the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum on Zoom or in person at the museum for a special book talk with the curators behind Between Home and the Front: Civil War Letters of the Walters Family. A book signing will be

×

Subscribe to our mailing list