Public Safety cuts means a reduction in service to the citizens of Yuma
The Yuma City Council meeting's last agenda item on December 21st was one that has not received as much attention as it should have. This agenda item, in response to the failure of Prop 407 and the passage of Prop 206, consisted of presentations that ended with the Police Chief and the Fire Chief detailing cuts in service that they have been directed to implement. The United Yuma Firefighters Association is completely opposed to any reduction in public safety delivery and we feel that this matter requires more consideration than it has been given.
According to the presentation by the Fire Chief, effective January 4th the Yuma Fire Department will be shutting down one of its fire engines and utilizing the personnel from this truck to reduce the overtime expenses being caused by having an understaffed fire department. To offer some idea of the impact of shutting down one fire engine, consider this: the Yuma Fire Department currently staffs a total of eight fire trucks along with four full time ambulances to serve the citizens of Yuma. The Yuma Fire Department last increased its number of fire suppression personnel approximately six years ago, and since that time our emergency calls for service have increased by 20%. But instead of talking about increasing the minimum staffing level of our department, we are actually facing a reduction in the number of personnel available to respond to your 911 calls. All of this adds up to a virtual guarantee that our response times will, at some point be negatively affected.
It has been particularly disappointing to see how the implementation of this plan has come about. There was no specific mention of this reduction of public safety services at the council work session on December 20th. In fact, the city council, at least the majority of them, was not officially made aware of this plan until the evening of the city council meeting.
Councilmembers who were unaware of the plan had no opportunity to research, prepare questions, or explore alternatives to the plan put before them. No vote was conducted on this matter; instead, the city council, which has been tasked with governing the City of Yuma by the voters of the City of Yuma, was given less than two weeks' notice that there would be a reduced public safety presence in the city.
The men and women of the Yuma Fire Department proudly serve our community. It is for this reason that we have chosen to publically voice our opposition to any plan that negatively impacts the service we provide, which this plan most certainly does. We look forward to working with our city administration and elected officials on a plan that can help the city address its budgetary issues while simultaneously keeping all of our fire apparatus on the streets, serving the citizens of Yuma.
United Yuma Firefighters Association
Decorating homes and businesses is a long-standing tradition around the holiday season. Unfortunately, these same decorations may increase your chances of fire. Based on data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), an estimated 240 home fires involving Christmas trees and another 150 home fires involving holiday lights and other decorative lighting occur each year. Together, these fires result in 21 deaths and $25.2 million in direct property damage.
Following a few simple fire safety tips can keep electric lights, candles, and the ever popular Christmas tree from creating a tragedy. Learn how to prevent a fire and what to do in case a fire starts in your home. Make sure all exits are accessible and not blocked by decorations or trees. Help ensure that you have a fire safe holiday season. What’s a traditional Christmas morning scene without a beautifully decorated tree? If your household includes a natural tree in its festivities, take to heart the sales person’s suggestion – “Keep the tree watered.”
Christmas trees account for hundreds of fires annually. Typically, shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem. A dry and neglected tree can be.
SELECTING A TREE FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Needles on fresh trees should be green and hard to pull back from the branches, and the needles should not break if the tree has been freshly cut. The trunk should be sticky to the touch. Old trees can be identified by bouncing the tree trunk on the ground. If many needles fall off, the tree has been cut too long and, has probably dried out, and is a fire hazard.
CARING FOR YOUR TREE
Do not place your tree close to a heat source, including a fireplace or heat vent. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Be careful not to drop or flick cigarette ashes near a tree. Do not put your live tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Keep the tree stand filled with water at all times.
Your United Yuma Firefighters wish you a safe and happy holiday season. Merry Christmas to all!!
A message from Local 1234 President, John Louser......
To: L1234 Membership
From: John Louser
Re: Goals & objectives for 2016/17
First, I would like to
say that I am very excited to be a part of the L1234 Executive Board. I have
turned down nominations for the local presidency on a few occasions in the
past, but this time I felt that I would like to implement some of my ideas and
do my part in seeing the local move forward.
I would like to cover
some of the goals and objectives that I have for the local for my term. I would
appreciate any feedback that any of you have and I hope to see you all
participate in L1234 activities in the future.
The two main areas of
focus moving forward will concern developing structure within the union, and the
finances of the union.
The association’s rank
and chain of command structure will always be followed. I am the president of
L1234, which means that I will deal with matters on a local-wide level; the
three chapter presidents of San Luis, Somerton, and Yuma will oversee all
matters within their respective chapters.
In an effort to become
more of a goal-oriented organization, I have asked all officers to develop
tangible goals for their terms, and I will be working with them to ensure that
they are remaining focused on their goals, as well as assisting them with
whatever they need along the way.
I would like to develop
strategic plan for the union. If we are going to be a goal-oriented
association that has plans on achieving significant victories, we must have a
plan in place to follow, as many of these goals, such as Meet & Confer, do
not happen overnight and require focused planning. Some of the goals that I
would like to include in the plan are:
& Confer- This is, realistically, a five year
goal. Achieving this will require education of the membership; developing relationships
with elected officials; becoming politically involved; and engaging a receptive
status- Achieving this tax status will allow us to work
with larger charitable organizations, as well as allow us to take on investment
opportunities. This will require accurate bookkeeping; consultation with CPA’s
and tax attorneys, etc.
Purchase of a union hall- L1234 has
been in existence for over 60 years and we have close to 150 active members.
The fact that we do not own our own facility and instead resort to conducting
union meetings in library rooms and restaurants is an embarrassment. A union
hall could be used for meetings, retirement banquets, and special events for
members. We could also lease this space out to assist with financing or to
generate revenue. This will require accurate books; development of an L1234
affiliated LLC; consultation with our CPA & attorney; and possibly an
I have been approached
by a number of members concerning the financial health of L1234. We will be
conducting a third-party audit of all of the union finances dating back to at
least the beginning of 2014. This will be done by a CPA of our choosing and should
answer all questions related to union finances as we move towards a strict
We will develop a
budget that will be adhered to with no exceptions. This budget will be formed
with multiple budget meetings which can and should include the participation of
all members. We will be developing a budget request form for the union finances
as well as purchase forms that will outline which line items of the budget will
be affected. Discretionary spending must show receipts and be approved as union-related
by the executive board; failure to follow this standard will result in the
officer having their officer pay deducted for the amount of the unapproved
These are just some of
the plans for the immediate future of the union. We have other items that will
be addressed alongside of those listed above. Revitalization of the Charity
Fund will be a high priority, as will setting PFFA state convention attendance
requirements. I hope to see all of you involved in union activities, and always
feel free to ask questions in regards to your union.
Submitted by Mike Erfert;
Yuma Fire Department (YFD) Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Juan Huerta has successfully completed the process that has led to his receiving the professional designation of “Fire Marshal”. The Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) recently met to officially confer the designation upon Firefighter Huerta.
Juan is only the 2nd member of the Yuma Fire Department to earn this recognition. The first was Fire Marshal Kayla Holiman who received the designation last year, shortly before being appointed the Fire Marshal for the City of Yuma. There are only 6 individuals in Arizona who have earned this designation.
The CPC awards the Fire Marshal designation only after an individual has successfully met all educational and profession development criteria. The process includes an assessment of the applicant’s education, experience, professional development, technical competencies, contributions to the profession, and community involvement. Applicants also are required to identify future professional development plans. The process includes a comprehensive peer review to assist in the evaluation of a candidate’s qualifications.
Juan has almost 17 years of service to the citizens of Yuma. He started with the city as a Plans Examiner in 1998 and became a Fire Plans Examiner for YFD in 2003. In 2010 he was hired as a Firefighter Cadet and successfully completed the training/testing process for his current position as Firefighter/EMT. The CPC recognition is a professional designation and not a job title.
From City Of Yuma Interim Fire Captain Bill Kereluk:
For those who may not know, a board has been working for more than a decade to raise money and build a memorial to Arizona firefighters and paramedics who have fallen in the line of duty. The project has broken ground this past weekend and scheduled to be completed by October of this year. Please take a few minutes to navigate around this web site and follow the progression of our state memorial.
The total cost of this project is just over $1.5 million. Through private and corporate sponsors we have raised just over $1M. We still need some funding if you have a corporate contact that may be interested in donating or if anyone has ideas for local fund raisers please contact me at any time.
Submitted by City Of Yuma Interim Fire Captain Steve Legros;
An interesting article regarding the current environment at PSPRS.
You can also follow the progress of investigations into PSPRS activity and litigation at:
It is a website operated by active and retired members of PSPRS acting as a watchdog group on behalf of concerned PSPRS members.
Disclaimer: Public Safety Pension Systems are under a tremendous amount of scrutiny by numerous groups, because of this it is difficult to get a clear and concise answer to questions since each side is “spinning” the story to support their position. What does this mean to you? You should read and research all that you can so that you may be informed! Do not rely on others to do it for you as this perpetuates the spread of misinformation. It’s your pension, it’s your responsibility!
Our Firefighter's are proud members of the International Association of Firefighter's and the Professional Firefighter's of Arizona.