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Mercy Flight's transition starts at 6 p.m. to take over ambulances

By Howard B. Owens

Mercy Flight will begin preparations at 6 p.m. to take over ground ambulance service by midnight, Tim Yaeger told WBTA today (mp3).

That's when the Batavia Fire Department shuts down its ambulance service and Mercy EMS officially becomes the lead provider in Batavia and Genesee County.

The new service will be staffed with 15 of the former Batavia EMS members and have six emergency vehicles based in Batavia.

Mercy Flight officials have assured people that they will respond to calls in Batavia, even though the City of Batavia has yet to sign a contract with Mercy Flight.

The main point of the contract is that it guarantees response times. City residents will not be without ambulance service in the absence of a contract.

The city is apparently blocked from signing a contract with Mercy Flight because of provisions in the Taylor Law that prevent governments from replacing union workers with contract workers.

The firefighters union has accused the city of an unfair labor practice, an accusation it is apparently agreed to drop in return for some concessions by the city.

City Manager Jason Molino and Union President Greg Ireland have reportedly reached an agreement that will: extend the fire union contract two years; provide a 5-percent pay raise over the additional years; retain four firefighters cross trained as paramedics; give all 36 members of the department a $1,000 bonus; and promise not to eliminate any of the 36 positions during the term of the contract.

The City Council meets at 6 p.m. today to publicly discuss, and possibly vote on, the proposed settlement.

Peter O'Brien

Maybe I should become a firefighter? It probably pays more than I earn now and my commute would be done by bicycle. I have a bit of a fire fighting background too with my time on a ship in the Navy.


Aug 31, 2009, 1:38pm Permalink
Howard B. Owens

Almost none of the volunteers have time for it, Peter. Many (all?) have careers. Some are business owners who need to close up shop to respond to calls.

Aug 31, 2009, 2:00pm Permalink
Robert Tretter

Sure get off your butt and try. First take the civil service exam and pass. Then you have to be in the top 3 to get consideration. Then you have to become a paramedic. It takes about 4 years of classes. First preference goes to those who pass in top 3 and have paremedic certificate. If you get through all of that then you go for about six weeks of training. You have to pass that too and finally you become a city firefighter. Oh, I forgot after all of that you then get cut by the city! Easy Hmmmmmmmm!! PS. I dont think blowing out a match on a cruise ship qualifies as firefighting.

Aug 31, 2009, 2:06pm Permalink
Peter O'Brien

Wow are you related to Dick?

When did I say anything about it being easy? Though school has always been easy for me.

And if you knew anything about the Navy you'd know what it takes to respond to main space fire.

Aug 31, 2009, 2:13pm Permalink
Peter O'Brien

How much money was "saved" by canning the Ambulance service and hiring Mercy Flight?

How much of that money "saved" is being handed to the Firefighters?

Is there any of that money left over?

Where is that portion going?

Where is the money for the repair of the Ellicott Street railroad crossing coming from and whose responsibility is it to fix it?

Is tonight's meeting agenda specific to the Firefighting issue or can other topics be presented?

Aug 31, 2009, 3:24pm Permalink
Brian Schollard

Yeah I work 45 hours a week. That leaves little time to keep up on training. To bad the Vollys only have to have the same exact amount of OSHA and State Fire Training that a paid person is required to have. Otherwise after 30 years of giving up my free time to help my community ( and thats 15 years as an EMT) I would be pulling down some pretty sweet coin. I should just quit and let some one else do it!

Aug 31, 2009, 5:41pm Permalink
Robert Tretter

I knew someone would try to relate this to volunteer firefighters. Give it a break. I know alot of volunteers and have worked with them quite nicely. I've always said they do a great job and they do. I give them tons of credit. So lets get off trying to compare the two. And I don't think there is such a thing as volunteer naval firefighters. I think they get paid too.

Aug 31, 2009, 10:39pm Permalink
Richard Gahagan

Hey Peter there you go again. You need to figure out that some day your gonna "bump" into some of the people you mouth off to and pick fights with on here. So far your developing quite a long list of some well respected people with reputations for knockin the hell out of people who disrespect them. Hint we use to call Bob "tree trunk Tretter". I think he goes about 6 foot 4 or 5 maybe 250 lbs. and I would fly home to watch you walk up to him and tell him to shut his mouth to his face.

Sep 1, 2009, 7:44am Permalink
Mark Janofsky

My question was sarcastic and rhetorical and obviously the “tree trunk” didn’t get it. Since 1975 (the official end of the Vietnam draft) the US Military has been an all volunteer force. All people entering volunteer to do so. I do not believe the navy has an actual onboard job title of firefighter. Instead all personnel aboard (gunners, mechanics radio operators, ect.) train as a team to fight fires. Hence the term I used, “volunteer naval firefighter”. If the seamen on board were not proficient at this task, a ship would be nothing more than a giant firecracker waiting to blow when hit. It was Mr. Tretter that compared this task to “blowing out a match on a cruise ship”. The comment sickens me. I expect more from a professional firefighter.

Mr. Tretter: It’s not about paid firefighters verses volunteer firefighters or my politics verses your politics. It’s about respect for all who wear or wore a uniform in the US Military. You should apologize or stand down and burn your uniform! Good day sir.

Sep 1, 2009, 8:22am Permalink
Peter O'Brien

There is a damage control specialist rate. But on my ship of 300+ people we had about 6, so 2%. Mostly they maintain the equipment and make sure that water tight doors and hatches are in working order.

You are correct that everyone becomes a firefighter in some form. I was an Electronics Technician. I worked on radar and IFF. But there I was assigned to a main space fire party.

Sep 1, 2009, 8:42am Permalink
Michael Del Plato

Mr Tretter,
I'm sorry but that was very unprofessional on your
part."Oh,I forgot you then get cut by the city" LOW!
And you stated you must be in the top three?
Well I had a friend about 10 years ago scored a 100 and in the top three.Guess what? He was told he cheated !
And to make a long story short, during the same time this happen I was at the Polish Falcons with my softball team mates and I over heard," Hey, Tell you're Uncle to get me in the Fire Dept." That was Uncle Tim ,"Buckley"
So Mr.Tretter, do you really must finish in the top three?
And off the records, what happen to Firefighter
Sonny Love, does anyone know his wherebouts? And the sex
sandal that happen in our city fire house ? Have these
issuses been swept under the rug?

Sep 3, 2009, 5:43pm Permalink

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