Dear Local 21 Brothers and Sisters,
The Chair Officers and the Executive Board wish to address you personally to simply say, “thank you,” for the job you have been doing and for the jobs you will be tasked with as this crisis unfolds. Each and every one of you are accepting your duty to report and doing the best damn job you can to keep the citizens of Saint Paul safe, all while putting your own health at risk.
This is what Saint Paul Firefighters do. We take on the job at hand and finish the job! While it is rare for us to hear, “thank you,” or any other kind of sentiment, we want you to hear loud and clear from the Local 21 Leadership:
By now we have all been briefed on the appropriate PPE to utilize in certain situations. We request that you are diligent in following these recommendations so that you remain healthy and not bring anything home to your family and friends. Our priority is the health, wellness and safety of you. Please, we beg of you: follow procedure, wear the appropriate level of PPE and always error on the side of caution. We are facing situations that have never been seen before. Please document well and make decisions based on best practices. We have more than 400 of the best and brightest firefighters, and we should get through these times just fine if we remember those simple rules.
We do not know what the weeks and months ahead have in store for us, but you will be asked to step up more and more. In the weeks to come, our staffing will most likely be dependent on the Local 21 Membership coming to work (if you are not sick) and people taking overtime shifts as needed. If this illness hits as hard as some are predicting, we could have many extra shifts available. If the shifts go unfilled, we could potentially be faced with rigs that are shut down for that shift. We are hoping that Members will step up and come to work so we can avoid burning out those that are willing to work overtime. Let’s all do our part to keep rigs running and share the workload when the need presents itself.
While you are away from work, we urge you to enjoy every moment with your family and other loved ones while taking the recommended precautions. Please adhere to social distancing and the recommendation to stay home, as this is reported to be the best way for us to remain healthy and slow the progression of this illness. This is also a great opportunity to get back to strong family life, dinners at home, schoolwork with kids and having movie nights.
None of us can predict what the next few weeks will bring. One thing is for certain and that is the future will indeed be challenging. There will be fear, sadness, despair and a very high level of stress when dealing with these new frontiers. Until this illness is mitigated to some acceptable level, Local 21 wants to remind you that we are here to assist you with any issues you may be having. Please feel free to reach out to the Chair Officers or any of the Executive Board members. We can find resources to help you any time of the day. Your physical and mental health is our priority.
Going forward, please read the updates from Fire Administration as these are the most up to date information from the MN Department of Health and Ramsey County Health Department. Also, please watch the Regions EMS updates to gain the information on the latest best practices for responding and transporting patients. Regions also gives updates on PPE and testing. The Labor/Management Committee is meeting on conference calls weekly. We are committed to continuing the L/M process through the crisis and, as always, we are watching out for our Member’s rights and safety.
Finally, please remember that your Local 21 Leadership is here for you! We thank you for all you do for this city, and its citizens, every day. We are proud to work side by side with each, and every one of you on the streets. We do amazing things every day in this city and we are confident that we will continue through this trying time. Keep up the proud tradition of the Saint Paul Fire Department and Local 21.
Be Proud & Stay Local 21 Strong!
Local 21 Executive Board