Friday, June 22, 2012

Councilor Scales Calls Mayor Ballard Out on Failure to Live Up to Committment Regarding Keeping Ladder Truck 21 at Northside Station

Councilor Christine Scales
Indianapolis City-County Councilor Christine Scales worked tirelessly last year to keep Ladder Truck 21 at the fire station at 71st and Keystone against attempts by Public Safety Director Frank Straub to remove it.  Now it appears that the Ballard administration, which agreed to leave the truck there through the end of 2012, has decided to renege on that commitment.  In the Facebook post below, Councilor Scales calls for residents to take action to encourage the administration's decision to endanger the life of northside residents by removing this vital piece of equipment:
"Bad news-after receiving a commitment from Mayor Ballard both verbally and in writing, that Ladder Truck 21, at 71st and Keystone would stay at its station throughout 2012, the announcement was made that it is being yanked on July 1st. This is a vital piece of fire fighting apparatus for the entire northside. We have more high rise buildings than anywhere in Marion County other than Downtown. Most of them don't have interior automatic sprinkler systems. That poses the potential for a very serious fire. The urban density up here and the constant traffic congestion impedes response times. Without LT 21, if you're trapped in a burning room on a top floor, say your prayers. Before that -call 327-4MAC and your councillor."
I have so much respect for Councilor Scales who has always put her job and her committment to her constituents ahead of blind party loyalty.   That respect continues to grow.


Nicolas Martin said...

By what measure is this a "vital piece of equipment"?

Paul K. Ogden said...

It's only vital Nic if there is a fire.

artfuggins said...

Or to some people, it is only vital if it is their house on fire!!

Nicolas Martin said...

That's not a very helpful response. Then why not a fire station on every block? There are obviously metrics by which one can determine whether a given station is needed. How often is Ladder Truck 21 the first responder to a fire? How much longer would it take for the next closest station to respond.

Of course government officials insist that more money should be spent on their constituents. That is how they get reelected. But there must obviously be some limit. One day you argue for financial prudence, and the next day you sneer at it.

I'll ask again. By what measure is this a "vital piece of equipment"? What is the evidence you rely upon?

Nicolas Martin said...

In a 2010 report, the US Fire Administration (part of FEMA) said that the incidence of fire deaths had dropped by two-thirds in the prior three decades. This surely has a lot to do with smoke detectors, better, electrical infrastructure, microwave ovens, less smoking, and other factors having nothing to do with the ubiquity of fire trucks. Has the amount of money spent by politicians on firefighting also fallen?

I'm sure it is a massive coincidence that Ms. Scales has a photo of herself with firefighters on her campaign web site, and was supported by "Firefighters for Christine Scales."

We also hear that the country is in jeopardy if one dime is cut form military appropriations. It's is the way the game works in government.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I'm confident that the Ladder Truck is much more needed than spending money to fix up Straub's office or to hire yet another consultant or high level position in his office.

Of course there is overkill at some point but that's a very busy area to not have a Ladder Truck at that station. You're talking one of the most commercial areas of the City with plenty of tall buildings. I guess waiting 10 minutes for a truck to come from another station is not acceptable for some people and I don't blame them.

Nicolas Martin said...

So, Ladder Truck 21 "more needed" than things that are not needed at all. Quite probably.

This shouldn't be guesswork. There are undoubtedly metrics for determining how many fire stations are needed for a given population density and demographic, and that is what should decide the issue, not the credibility of Ms. Scales or flippant emotional responses.

CES said...

I have never provided any flippant emotional responses to support arguments for the need of Laddertruck 21. I conduct thorough research in fire safety technical journals and articles. I subscribe to on line fire safety educational forums and correspond on a regular basis with published authors of fire safety training manuals. The evidence supporting findings and conclusions determining the risk that would be posed to the public by removing lad
dertruck 21 have been verified by nationally recognized fire safety experts. I would be happy to provide a portion of my library of research to you if you wish to contact me at my email address,

Cato said...

Ms. Scales:

Thank you for posting in this forum. That act shows you have far more guts than your colleagues.

If you have an argument for why the truck needs to stay, post it here. Don't hide it in a private e-mail. Paul and Gary drive a lot of Indy news and conversation, so you won't fine a more effective forum in which to state your case.

Nic's a skeptic, and thank heavens for that. He's also intelligent, and if you show him a good quantifiable argument that proves Indy has a gap in laddertruck coverage with this unit removed, he'll either agree with you or appear unreasonable.

american patriot said...

According to IFD's website:
"Ladder 221 became the third ladder company in this busy northside township prior to the merger with IFD in 2006"

I hope CES can answer these questions.

Are there enough firefighters assigned to all the apparatus at 21?

I remember Clyde Pfisterer telling me Speedway did not have enough bodies to staff each apparatus at their stations and it was a concern anytime he worked with them on an incident.

Are staffing decision made by budgetary constraints or by the type and number of runs? Medical runs make up a majority of fire dept runs, I think it's over 80%.

If data analysis is used for staffing, how often is it reviewed?

How has the population of 21's area changed since it was put in service?

Has the number of multiple story buildings increased?

What is the makeup of this population?

Are there any comparisons between the number of medial runs in an area with a large number of apartments or senior housing / convalescent centers versus middle or upper class single family homes?

Average figures used for calculating responses for public safety can be misleading.

Suppose 21's area has a major fire this hear but none last, what % increase is that? Normally you would take the difference between the old and new figures divided by the old figure, but how do you divide by zero?

CES said...

Cato: I understand that as a lay person, my credibility might come into question for any assertions I might make regarding the need to keep laddertruck 21 in place. That is why I committed so much time and energy into researching this issue. I have sent Paul and other bloggers, as well as members of the media, city officials, and fellow councillors, three documents which cover my main points. Culling all the information I posses and editing it into a format which would cover the most important points, created reports that were several pages long. Too much editing and I feared loss of evidence which verified the claims made. I told all who received the documents to whittle down what I had written and use it in any manner they wished.
What I sent out is too lengthy to publish on a blog site.
For now, I'll throw out the main points and questions/criticisms to be answered can follow. First, given that the Allisonville Rd. bridge is under construction, July 1st is absolutely not the time to remove the laddertruck, Read this morning's Star about all the congestion created. Response times will suffer even more than they would without all the northside construction. Access to various locations means taking circuitous routes which add to travel time, as well as trying to maneuver around bumper to bumper traffic. Second, the White River presents a geographic impediment to emergency vehicles travelling east-west thru Washington Twshp. Only 62nd St. and 86th on the north are uninterrupted thoroughfares, Again, having to use circuitous routes and side streets that are narrow or in poor shape, adds travel time, esp. for a heavy laden laddertruck.This was one of the primary reasons for locating a station at 71 st and Keystone. The NFPA standards for travel time of 8 min.for a laddertruck? That is the longest it should take, not a "best" time. At this very time,NFPA is working on revising that time downward, because that standard was geared to responding to a 2000 sq ft traditionally built home. Todays, modern architecture, building materials, home goods made of petroleum laden products take a fire from point of ignition to flashover in often half the time it used to. Gas temperatures can elevate to over 700degrees in 4 minutes. Every second counts in having a successful outcome to a fire emergency.
Third reason-the density in population and buildings/types of buildings in this area. More high rise office buildings placed closely together than anywhere else in Marion County outside of downtown. The number and density of mega sized hospitals, schools,apartment complexes housing over a thousand residents, in the Keystone/Crossing area. Most important to know- many of these buildings lack interior automatic sprinkler systems. One of the biggest risk factors for the potential of a serious, out of control fire. Also, alarms have to be set off manually by someone alert to smoke or fire.
There's much more-many inspections of these buildings have only been performed once in six years. State law is once in 3yrs for existing buildings. What uncovered hazards present risks? Fire hydrants-have been waiting for inspection reports and flow rates from Citizens for months. Just received first, incomplete answers two days ago. We don't know if the hydrants located at mega buildings have the amount and flow rate (pressure) of water to handle battling a large out of control fire. I have much more, but I'll finish by saying that in these days, fire departments aren't supposed to look just at run history to determine apparatus and station locations. It is about mitigating the potential risk for major fire, and ensuring that when and if a fire breaks out, the loss of life and property are minimal.

Unknown said...

Councilor Scales rocks. Im sure that Ryan is plotting her demise today with Ballards kitchen cabinet.How dare she go against Ballard and the machine.

She stayed classy during her campaign and she continues to do so on issues like this.

Martin has no need for the ladder in his trailer park, he has to bitch about something..

Nicolas Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicolas Martin said...

Thank you, Ms. Scales. If I were not in the middle of a divorce I'd gladly digest your material. Unfortunately, it and my daughter consume most of my time. It wasn't anything you have stated that I was referring to as "flippant," but to Paul's comment. His was an attempt to marginalize my questions by suggestion that I am opposed to adequate fire protection. I guess people who oppose government food mandates are in favor of cancer, right Paul? And people who oppose affirmative action and Zionism are racists and anti-Semites. That is a tiresome game.

Of course a post like Dan Parson's is dross unworthy of response. (Must people who live in trailers always be subject to defamation? Do they not also bleed?) The great weakness of democracy is that it gives as much weight to irrationality as it does to reason, and usually more.

I am in no position to argue that Ladder 21 is unnecessary, unequipped as I am with anything but questions, but every government dollar spent should be scrutinized meticulously. Sometimes Paul's in favor of this, and sometimes against, vexingly.

Firefighters, who supported Ms. Scales, have a huge financial interest in maximizing their numbers and power, like other union members. Their claims, and those of their political mouthpieces, need to be approached skeptically.

Nicolas Martin said...

Questions for Ms. Scales.

It is ineluctably true that better response time to fires equals more effective protection. Why, then, not have twice as many fire stations as we presently have, or three times, or 10 times? Exactly how does one determine the correct amount of fire protection? In a free market this would be determined by how much consumers are willing to pay for fire protection, but how is this determined where there is no free market and decisions are made by government, an institution notorious for its profligacy?

Government routinely imposes increased safety on us, often at very great expense and with small benefit. Why? The costs are borne by tax payers, not tax recipients (which includes all working for government).

When I buy a bike helmet I get to decide how much protection I'm willing to pay for, but not when I buy a car or pay taxes for government fire protection.

Julie said...

People will only consider it vital if there is fire and people's lives are at risk.

fire safety perth

Nicolas Martin said...

Nonsense, Julie. I have homeowners and auto insurance to prepare for catastrophic events, and so do most Americans. They would also support fire departments, but that tells us nothing about whether a given fire station is necessary. It's much the same with the national military. Does national defense require spending half the world's military budget and having bases in over 100 countries? Not as I define it. Comments like yours and Paul's are simply intended to deflect scrutiny from whether the money is being wisely spent. It may be that Ladder Truck 21 is needed, but your comment adds nothing to our ability to determine that.

Unknown said...

I had always wanted to discuss any one's opinion on safety trainings. I know that one of you may have already attended and relied on such and so I would want to share mine as well. I had safety training in perth and then heard about this Laddertruck 21 issue. They will always be the ones to blame for a lot of unresponsive fire incidents.

Unknown said...

Keeping fire extinguishers in itself is as commitment. How much more if it involves a vital part of fire service? This issue should be addressed properly. It's the safety of people they're talking about.