Brothers and Sisters,
Our members face an ever-increasing extended fire season. This week we pre-deployed and augmented staffing with summer-like temperatures and heavy winds in the areas we serve. This week, small fires in Mount Baldy, Thousand Oaks and across the County were stopped due to our members' hard work.
Our continued work to keep hiring and promotions on track to fill our vacancies and help with the COVID-19 and injury vacancies is critical. We will continue to press hard on the Department to run recruit classes in 2021 and get their act together on a promotional test schedule to ensure we have the personnel in every rank to cover the work and the mission.
COVID-19 vaccinations have helped. We have seen a slight decline in the number of COVID-19 positive and symptomatic cases. This is excellent news. We continue to encourage our members to get the vaccine. We have had roughly 70% of our frontline workers vaccinated. That means 30% of the frontline healthcare workers in our workforce are NOT vaccinated. We will continue to court discussion on the pros and cons of vaccination and why, in our occupation, it makes sense to take the vaccine to protect your health and the health of those around you. Stay tuned as we continue to pursue this vital tool to keep our members safe.
Additionally, our workforce has mobilized like never before to aid and help the emergency rooms and hospitals. Arguably, the last two weeks were at the breakpoint with multiple units at the staging area and 4 hours plus wall times. We banded together with State mutual aid resources to provid aid to hospitals and our personnel. We have many concerns surrounding our members' health, safety, and working conditions in such a mission. We voiced those concerns with the Fire Chief. We continue to navigate those uncertainties as well as reimbursement as we do what we need to do to be part of the County workforce dealing with high numbers of very sick and dying patients. We will continue to navigate the issues and concerns as we do our part in our communities. We are all in this together. With our Labor partners in fire agencies throughout the State and in coordination with OES, we are working to share resources to relieve the strain on our hospital and EMS systems.
Additionally, we will be reaching out to our retired members who may still have an EMT or PM license to help administer mass vaccinations to the public. Please let any retirees know to contact the Union if they want to be a part of this workforce. Even those who do not have an EMT or PM can help our IMT teams with logistics, planning, and operations. Thank you in advance to LACOLA lifeguard members, President Kyle Power and his Executive Board who have infused our vaccine workforce with recurrent lifeguards who are off season. We are also reaching out to CERT team members to mobilize. These are extraordinary times that require outside-the-box solutions to serve our communities. We should stand proud as we continue to be part of the solution to end this pandemic. Thank you all again for your commitment to our mission.
Exectuive Board Swearing-In
Earlier this week, our Executive Board was sworn in on Tuesday. Next Tuesday we have our first Executive Board meeting to get to work on our 2021 agenda. New board members Mike Cash and Tony Carcioppolo have begun their training and education to become part of the TEAM of TEN as we hit the bricks with the hard work ahead. Welcome to Mike and Tony! The Executive Board has been quick to have them shadow and train on member representation and the myriad operational issues we are addressing.
New Radio Issues
You may have seen the all stop on radio distribution and use and wondered what is going on. Local 1014 was made aware of potential safety issues concerning the radios' programming and use in an IDLH environment. These issues were moved to the mid-level managers shepherding the radio project. None of the health and safety issues were addressed formally or legitimately or to the satisfaction of many members of the SME radio committee and certainly not to the Union's satisfaction. Anytime health and safety concerns are raised for a tool, such as a radio, there is NO CHAIN OF COMMAND or Level of Supervisor in ANY RANK that should dismiss or leave unanswered these questions. We want to thank the Fire Chief and Chief Pena for hearing our call to cease with radio distribution until we can address every item in question.
This is another lesson in calling the Union early for important health and safety items such as turnouts, helmets, radios, SCBA’s, TIC’s, exhaust evacuation systems, etc., especially when lower-level chief officers overstep their level of authority on a project. We know ownership and work by all, including the chief officers, on projects can be emotional and personal, but never can safety issues be dismissed by emotion in rank. We are committed to ensuring the Chief Officers, all members of the SME Radio Committee, and the Fire Chief address this issue expeditiously. We need to get all issues corrected and get these radios in service and working on behalf of our members. More to come as we get this done in collaboration with the Department.
As alawys stay safe and take care of each other out there.