Firefighter shortage concerns heating up

FLINT TWP. — A shortage of on-call firefighters is becoming an ongoing issue at township board meetings.

Trustee Frank Kasle expressed his concern in a prepared statement at the July 16 board meeting which said in part: “It has come to my attention that we have a historic low in the number of on-call firefighters available for service in Flint Township. This concerns me since the public safety is my number one priority.”

Kasle called upon the board to address the issue immediately and said he will be leading an effort to increase the ranks of firefighters.

“This will require a study of how and why we have lost so many persons, what must be done to retain our firefighters and what we can do as soon as possible to hire, train and keep additional on-call firefighters,’’ Kasle said in his statement.

The board took no immediate action, but Supervisor Karyn Miller said she had discussed the situation with Assistant Fire Chief Mike Burkley and also made reference to solutions offered in a study of shared municipal services with Swartz Creek and Mundy Township will be presented to the board in a few weeks.

Trustee George Menoutes commented the count of on-call firefighters is down to about 21 from a high of about 38.

Fire Chief John Ringwelski said the township has 12 full-time firefighters. He has said previously staffing is down but sufficient to meet firefiighting needs.

Later in the meeting, the board received a letter of resignation from on-call firefighter Jacob Hall who left to take another job. In a emotional letter, Hall said his family has been part of the fire department for many years but he is moving on because of too many adverse changes in management.

“We have sent you guys letters and you don’t care,’’ he said.

It was the second letter of resignation submitted by an on-call firefighter in the past month.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *