Facility upgrades needed for female firefighters

May 13, 2015

Buffalo has several firehouses which are well over a century old. Councilmember Chris Scanlon is arguing 14 out of 20 fire houses don't have the facilities for the increasing number of women in the Fire Department.

Public Works Commissioner Steven Stepniak says the city has been examining every building it owns, to see which can be repaired and which need to be replaced.

"We evaluated all our buildings and we are looking for the ones that need to be replaced and there is strategic planning going forward so we can do not just one or two year plans but four, even ten year outlook plans for replacement of certain facilities," Stepniak said.

He's aware of the problems for women on the job and the city has built a series of new fire halls in recent years, built with the latest gadgetry and set for the latest in fire equipment. Stepniak says says some fire fighters don't want to lose the old-time fire houses.
"It's unique with some of these buildings because some of the old firemen love those old facilities but I think it's time to as we've done with our building analysis to look into evaluations to see what needs to be replaced and would fit the modern equipment."

Scanlon says he wants to bring fire officials and fire fighters union officials in to a Legislation Committee meeting to talk about short-term and long-term solutions to the problem, which he says is a safety issue as well as sanitation issue.