Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Life and Death Lies

"If you tell the truth you don't have to remember anything."- Mark Twain

During the debate regarding the layoff of Johnson City fire fighters, wonder boy “Joint Fire Administrator” Hrustich repeatedly assured board members and the public that safety was is no way compromised by the proposed cuts. He was promptly rewarded with the best paying part time job in Broome County.

Hannon likewise repeatedly assured the public that the “expert”, “Joint Fire Administrator” had restructured the department and neither the safety of the residents nor fire fighters would be compromised. In addition, Hrustich promised that he would pursue federal SAFER grants to offset departmental costs.

In a November 19, 2009 Press & Sun Bulletin article, Hrustich was reported as asserting that regardless of staffing levels, village residents are protected. In a January 1, 2010 article, Hannon spoke of the station closure and staffing cuts and boasted "Your going to get all the help you need and you're going to get it in a hurry."

Fire Starter has now learned that Johnson City’s grant application was denied due shoddiness and incompleteness. We will continue to dig and will present the particulars of the rejection when available.

Of great interest is the application prepared by Hrustich. In it, he repeatedly makes the argument that public safety has been compromised by the layoffs. Hrustich notes deficiencies in response time placing the public at risk. He notes that short staffing the fire department puts fire fighters at risk. He even argues that the use of volunteers puts village fire fighters at risk. Specifically, Hrustich notes:

“Apparatus staffing levels have fallen to 2 personnel per vehicle which is misleading and provides for ineffective protection.”

“The staffing level has caused issues with not having available NIMS [national standard] required positions and this poses issues with initial attack and coordination in the first few vital minutes of suppression operations.”

“We now must request these important NIMS [national standard] functions through mutual aid. With the influx of mutual aid companies added to the run cards these positions directly affect the safety of our firefighters”.

“This means that our inspection program of area businesses has suffered and we are unable to meet New York State requirements of fire inspections for places of occupancy and businesses.”

“the department has suffered in keeping up with water rescue, confined space rescue and other mandated programs.”

"Closing of one of the two firehouses greatly increases response time by as much as 7 to 8 minutes to the south side and allows fire to grow in size exponentially."

It is a classic case of "was he lying then or is he lying now". Either way, there is one inescapable conclusion...Hrustich is a liar.

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