Haverhill Firefighters’ Union Details Response Times Amid Staffing Strife, Asks Residents ‘Are You Covered?’

The purple shaded portion of the map represents how far the Haverhill Fire Department can travel in the city in five minutes during normal traffic, according to the firefighters' union. (Courtesy photograph)

As the Haverhill Firefighters’ Union continues to implore city leaders for an increase in minimum manning, they’re pointing out the potential risks to residents if staffing numbers do not increase. This week, the Local 1011 union—under the direction of Tim Carroll—launched a new social media campaign centered around National Fire Protection Association standards that requires 90 percent of calls to be responded to in four minutes.

Presenting a coverage map of Haverhill that highlights the city’s four fire stations—Bradford, Sixteenth Avenue and Water and High Streets—the union asked residents if they’d be covered in case of emergency.

“This service delivery requirement is intended to have a fire department plan and situate its resources to consistently meet a 240-second travel time for the initial company fire suppression response,” the union said in their post, citing the national statistics.

The map presented on social media illustrates how far Haverhill’s firefighters can travel in five minutes of normal traffic. Portions of the city—including the along Routes 110, 97 and near Ski Bradford, for example—are well outside the window, which does not account for 911 call and dispatch time.

According to Carroll, it can often take Haverhill’s team of 94 firefighters nearly 20 minutes to reach some parts of the city.

Concerned for the safety of both the public and his firefighters, Carroll presented Mayor James J. Fiorentini earlier this summer with a plan to gradually increase the minimum number of firefighters on shift from 19 to 25 over five years. Ideally, Carroll told WHAV he’d like to see each of the city’s stations staffed with 28 firefighters per shift.

The union boss tells WHAV his ask to Fiorentini is a simple one. “We’re not asking for money, we’re not asking for salary increases, we’re asking for manning: Staffing numbers to make the citizens safe and make us safe,” Carroll told WHAV. “If he doesn’t want to do that, that’s on him.”

The firefighters’ staffing concerns are expected to be heard in more detail at a City Council Public Safety subcommittee meeting later this month.

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