NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville Fire Department is understaffed and current fire fighters have to fill in coverage gaps by accruing large amounts of over time.
According to International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Nashville president, Mark Young, the city needs 100 fire fighters to cover the growth of the city as well as existing positions other fire fighters are covering on weekends and even special events.
"If the department does not give you the budget for employees, you have to fill these vacancies with overtime personnel," said Young. "[The department] asked for 67 new positions in this year's budget, we'll be getting zero."
Young said the extra time can make fire fighters feel tired. Some turn down overtime because of this reason.
"Until the mayors office funds some full time positions, then over time is going to be on the books," said Young.
The Metro Council recently approved $1.33 million to cover fire department overtime. Young said this is just a patch to the problem, and the city should consider new positions in the future.
Despite this, firefighters are still committed to serving the Nashville community.
“Despite the challenges a status quo budget will create, the Nashville Fire Department will continue to deliver exceptional service to the citizens of Davidson County. Our biggest asset is our personnel," said Director Chief William Swann. "We will face the coming budget year and remain committed to the community we proudly serve.”