State of NJ Must Address Atlantic City Fire Protection Staffing Issues
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY & THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS REGARDING THE ATLANTIC CITY PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTERS
The state of New Jersey has failed the citizens of Atlantic City by making draconian staffing cuts and failing to restore the city to a safe level of public safety protection … in both the police and fire ranks.
In this update, we will focus on the Atlantic City Professional Firefighters and let you in on something that is happening right now.
COVID-19 is taking a major toll on the ACFD at this very moment.
Critical staffing shortages have resulted in the ACFD having to temporarily shut down apparatus tonight and initiate a recall to replenish the depleted ranks.
We reached out to ACFD Local 198 President John Varallo, who said, “I have to say to be fair to the city, Chief Evans and Deputy Chief Brock, who is in charge tonight … they all acted swiftly to mitigate this situation.”
Varallo also credited the city administration for correctly employing an aggressive response to stop or slow the spread of COVID-19 amongst the ACFD ranks.
“The pandemic has impacted us all emotionally and physically. Firefighters are no different. But, do not think for one second that the toll is big enough to keep us from pushing forward and accomplishing our sworn objectives,” said Varallo.
Additional shifts have also been impacted. “Our firefighters are beat up … they have been covering shifts for 2, 3, etc., days straight to make sure that we provide the proper service for the residents,” said Varallo.
Varallo acknowledged that COVID-19 outbreaks are becoming more common … however, they have increased dramatically as of late.
The swift actions of those In charge mitigated the situation and the apparatus is now back open, according to Varallo.
Just because the Atlantic City Professional Firefighters and their leadership keep finding a way to get the job done (under nearly impossible circumstances) doesn’t excuse the unacceptable lack of a proper sense of urgency by the state of New Jersey.
If the state continues to short-change public safety in Atlantic City, they will be guilty of (needlessly) risking the loss of potential lives.
It is time for the state to do its job now.