Entries Tagged 'SFFD' ↓

‘HOLY SMOKEBALLS’ This is how our Public Safety officers spend their time (and your tax dollars)

ATF investigating Sioux Falls home explosion

A source that follows crime closely in Sioux Falls told me that the home that exploded was a ‘squatter’ house and that the SFPD responded to a call there just the week before to throw out some squatters. I’m not sure if that was the case. I’m sure the ATF investigation will find a cause of the explosion.

City of Sioux Falls trying to package new public safety facility bonds with past bad decisions

So this is what the city of Sioux Falls does, they make bad decisions in the past and instead of trying to correct them, they just pile it on with more bad spending decisions.*

While the new public safety center is needed, no doubt, they are playing a game with bonds and re-financing prior bad decisions;

Also included in the potential bonding package would be about $3 million for a new fire station in southeastern Sioux Falls and between $7 and $10 million for the third phase of the River Greenway project downtown. 

The two bonds being considered for refinancing were taken out by the city in 2009 for quality of life improvements, along with the flood levy project completed in 2015. Those bonds have $11.85 million and $19.7 million remaining on them, respectively.

That’s right, besides the public safety needs we want to continue to fund the river Greenway Project expansion (that is NOT needed – and likely will continue to flood due to global warming) and let’s not forget the fancy footwork the previous mayor played with Federal Funds that would have paid off the levy bonds but instead used the money to pay for the MAC that we didn’t need and continues to lose money each year.

If I was on the council, I would have NO issue with the re-finance and funding the public safety facilities, BUT, I would nix the expansion of the river greenway and just do inexpensive bike trail upgrades, etc, and stop building Roman like structures. We need to work on flood control of the Big Sioux, not build more monuments to nothing.

*There is a rumor I heard from another local media person that the city may need more money for another failed over budget project in town. I have no idea what that would be, or the cost – but I have my guesses. I guess the cat may be let out of the bag as soon as this week. Oh, brother.

Public Safety Facility needs to be a joint effort

This is a guest post by Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr. I agree with Pat that we should NOT be paying for this entire project by ourselves. Our Fire and Police chiefs should be working with the finance department on how we can save money and build partnerships. I think ALL department directors should be looking at ways to be more fiscally responsible.

Emergency preparation and response are fundamental responsibilities of government. These are always at the top of the planning list when we discuss budgets and people.

Sioux Falls has a public safety need. It’s a big one. The projection is a $30 million dollar bond issue. The problem here is, it is planned to be a $30 million bond issue with the citizens of Sioux Falls on the hook for it.

The City needs to provide an adequate training facility for its Police and Fire Departments. The need is real. Current facilities are substandard and the departments have outgrown them.

Now, this is where the discussion begins. We know the need. The Sioux Falls Police and Fire departments have put forth a plan for addressing their needs.

Keep this in mind, their needs. The vision needs to be bigger. Sioux Falls is the regional leader in business and entertainment. We need to be the leader in public safety as well.

As we review plans for bonding and facilities, we must consider the needs of our region and include them.

Sioux Falls does not have our only emergency responders. We must consider how we can build a regional facility to train local, county, state and federal safety personnel. Look around the Sioux Falls area. If there is a major emergency in our area, don’t you want highly trained responders?

There are many hard working public servants in addition to Sioux Falls Police and Fire including:

1. Minnehaha and Lincoln County Sheriffs and Deputies

2. SD Highway Patrol

3. Game Fish and Parks Officers

4. SD Department of Criminal Investigation

5. SD Penitentiary Officers

6. FBI

7. US Federal Marshal Service

8. TSA – airport security

9. Homeland Security

10. Sioux Falls ambulance

11. Regional community ambulance crews

12. Regional partner fire departments

13. Regional partner community based law enforcement

14.    Civil Air Patrol

I am sure everyone can add to the list – but the bottom line is, all levels of public safety personnel need state of the art training to protect the citizens of Sioux Falls and the region.

This is not a vanity bonding project as so many of our recent bonding projects we have been in Sioux Falls. This is public safety.

Training all levels of our emergency responders does not stop at our city limits. We must have our responders knowing how to work with their regional partners. There must be regional cooperative agreements so all responders receive the training that keeps us safe.

The funding must come from all levels of government. The citizens of Sioux Falls cannot be the sole funding source for this extremely important regional project.

There must be a search for and securing of state and federal grants.

I encourage you to become involved. This plan will happen quickly and will be decided by the end of 2019.

$30 million is asking too much for the handful of the people of Sioux Falls, with promises to let other responders use. Simple statements don’t protect us. We need all regional agencies to be fully trained for them and for us. This project is too big for just Sioux Falls to own and control.

UPDATE: Most of the Sioux Falls City Council still in denial we are subsidizing Paramedics Plus

FF: 1:32:30 – Sioux Falls City Council Meeting, 11/13/2018

Watch the discussion about the six-year contract extension for the private ambulance service.

I guess you can continue to repeat a lie hoping people will finally believe you. Certain councilors continue to say we are NOT subsidizing PP, but we are, and it costs taxpayers a lot. The SFFD and the SFPD usually are the first to show up to a medical emergency. Just a few years ago, a study from the SFFD showed that over 90% of fire calls are medical emergencies. We also are going to now have ALS trained firefighters so they can use life-saving procedures when they are the first to arrive. Which is awesome, since we have no idea when our private contractor is going to show.

Last I checked our firefighters and police were NOT volunteer, and the gas that fuels their vehicles is not FREE. By showing up first to these emergencies we are essentially subsidizing PP and getting no reimbursement. Taxpayers are swallowing that cost.

Some councilors are so against a public ambulance service they continue to peddle the lie that it would cost taxpayers more. Not sure what math they are using. Right now we get ZERO reimbursement for being the first responder, if we provided the entire ambulance service we could bill the patients or their insurance provider.

I guess I kind of understand why some councilors are against a public ambulance service, because it will take a lot of work and initial capital to get one started. But please, just admit you are against it, and STOP LYING to the public. We are subsidizing PP, and that’s a fact.

UPDATE: FF: 1:09:40 – Changing time limit of public input for 2nd readings to 5 minutes.

You know my feelings on this. I think if it is a 2nd reading and people are trying to protect their neighborhood, property or welfare as long as they are being pertinent to the topic and not repeating other testimony, they should have no time limit. This is how the Minnehaha County Commission handles it, and it works well. Brekke has proposed they change it from the very restrictive 3 minutes to 5 minutes. While I will applaud her effort in making it better, we could go further. Other councilors including Councilor Neitzert agree it was too restrictive and needs to change. I thanked Greg last night for his testimony. He pointed out the real problem with public input had more to do with the previous chair than the public itself. The former chair ran the meetings horribly, and treated citizens with extreme disrespect. I predicted when they made the changes that they were not needed because the chair and a certain other councilor who were contributing to the disruption would be gone. Council is now realizing that is exactly the case, and I am happy some of them are seeing it.

Now they need to overturn Rolfing/Erpenbach’s horrible majority vote council seat resolution.

So fire sprinklers in parking garages are useful

Call me a MORON, no really, please do. When they were planning the parking garage for Village on the River I questioned why it needed a sprinkler system, apparently they are useful;

The first arriving crew found a porta potty on fire 15 feet inside the first floor (Washington Square) garage entrance. The fire was under control by the building’s fire sprinkler system. The fire was extinguished within a couple minutes of crews being on scene. Additional fire crews checked the remaining parking area and found no fire extension. Residents were alerted by the fire alarm system and were moved to the adjacent city parking garage until the fire sprinkler and alarm systems were checked and controlled. All residents were allowed back in the building after about 15 minutes.

Of course it was a porta potty and NOT a car. Funny part is I saw those porta potties a few weeks ago when I parked in there and thought to myself, “Why is there porta potties in a parking garage?” I guess they won’t be there anymore.

I also found this part of the SFFD’s press release interesting;

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue responded with 5 fire trucks, 2 support vehicles, and 21 personnel. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue was assisted on scene by Metro Communications, Sioux Falls Police Department, and Washington Square management.

I’m sure because they thought the high rise with several million dollar condos was on fire, but it just turned out to be the shitt’r in the garage. They also left out this part on the press release;

Paramedics Plus showed up 2 hours later, didn’t see anything so drove off.

Just kidding.

UPDATE: Is Paramedics Plus looking to renew 5 year contract early?

UPDATE: Please tell me that the TenHaken administration is looking at public ambulances;

It’s unclear if Mayor Paul TenHaken’s administration intends to support REMSA’s recommendation, though T.J. Nelson, deputy chief of staff in the mayor’s office, said TenHaken and the city health department will bring a recommendation of their own next month.

“We’re still formalizing what our recommendation will be,” he said.

Paramedics Plus executives could not be reached for comment.

Ultimately, the decision about extending Paramedics Plus’ contract lies with the City Council, which has members who have been critical of service in Sioux Falls.

I have heard from within the SFFD that many of the higher ups support a public ambulance service, and have for years, but have gotten resistance from the former mayor and chief. Maybe this will create a golden opportunity for TenHaken to achieve that goal. Maybe taxpayers will actually get something back from providing the service instead of just subsidizing a private service.

Rumor has it that the Sioux Falls city council was recently informed by the Health Department that PP was looking to renew their 5 year contract early. It isn’t scheduled to expire for another 2 years(?).

I find it a little suspicious with all the talk about public ambulance service and the SFFD training in ALS (Advanced Life Support) that PP is looking to renew 2 years early.

Could they be concerned the city may change it’s service to another company or better yet public ambulances within 2 years? The city could certainly fast-track and have a public ambulance service available within two years.

It will be interesting to see what the reasoning is behind the early renewal and if the city will allow it.

Should we tie Police Precincts in with Firestations and Public Ambulance?

While Jolene Loetsher got beat up in the mayoral campaign over police precincts, I didn’t think the idea itself was bad. They are used across the state and in the 2nd largest city in SD, Rapid City.

Where the idea went off the tracks was putting the precincts in community centers. While Jolene argued the buildings already exist and could save us money by retrofitting them, I felt it was the wrong place.

I think the precincts should be put in the fire stations which are already safe zones and built like fortresses throughout the city. The other benefit would be while retrofitting the locations for precincts, you could add public ambulances to the fire stations and have the first responders under one roof.

If we are going to spend the money to get the Fire Department ALS (Advanced Life Support) trained, we might as well go whole hog and set a new public safety network. At the end of the day, it will help to reduce crime as well and make us a safer and healthier community.

What a concept?

It was Sioux Falls City Councilor Pat Starr. Why not just say his name?

Mike Huether’s administration decided to take the ‘passive agressive’ approach when throwing a fellow elected official under the bus;

Recent comments made to a local news organization regarding Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and the Sioux Falls emergency medical services (EMS) system are a disservice to the residents and visitors of our city. When it comes to medical emergencies, our community is in safe hands.

What were the comments and who made them? Your press release doesn’t mean anything unless you tell us these important details. Maybe Mike’s communication director needs to go to ‘Writing a Press Release 101’ class.

Oh, and it gets better;

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is exploring the potential to utilize paramedics, currently employed within their department, to be advanced life support responders during specialty incidents. Specialty incidents include events like water rescues, structural collapses, and SWAT responses. The addition of this response capability will have no impact on the City’s contract for surface ambulance service.

It will in fact have a HUGE impact. First off, we will be subsidizing our private for-profit ambulance service more AND we will finally be allowing 1st responders from our SFFD to perform advanced life support instead of waiting for a phantom ambulance to show up.

It’s time to move forward with a public ambulance service and stop the games.

Sioux Falls Fire Department proposing coming one step closer to having a Public Ambulance service

As the SFFD points out in their presentation at the 4 PM informational meeting today, why not use the Paramedics we have to respond to emergency situations;

Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is exploring the potential to utilize paramedics, currently employed by Sioux Falls Fire Rescue, as Advanced Life Support (ALS) responders during specialty incident responses.

Also, if we are going to be paying for this important training that I agree with 100% why not go whole hog and put in public ambulances so that taxpayers get some kind of reimbursement from the service;

  • Budgetary Considerations
  • Staff Considerations
  • Certifications
  • Skills validations
  • Equipment and Supplies
  • Medical Guidelines will need to be adopted by Sioux Falls Fire
  • Rescue and REMSA
  • Collaboration with the Sioux Falls Firefighters Association

It seems blatantly obvious that we would be paying for all the training and equipment to provide a public ambulance;

This expanded response capability would allow Sioux Falls Fire Rescue to provide immediate initial advanced life support to victims of a specialty response incident.

And with the purchase of the ambulances and expanded parking facilities we would have a complete public ambulance service instead of the taxpayers currently subsidizing a private entity’s profits, an entity currently being investigated by the Federal Government.

I’ve heard rumblings from within the SFFD that many in management support a public ambulance service but the former SF Fire Chief fought it by convincing the Mayor that it wouldn’t be cost effective. Not only would it save taxpayers millions in public safety, it would be a more reliable service that the city and public could monitor more closely.

The only REAL drawback is that the city would probably have to hire a 3rd party private contractor to collect insurance and other fees for a commission.