Friday, February 18, 2011

ARFF EMT Pay , Bill 4-31, Public Hearing Held

The public hearing was held yesterday, Wednesday, Feb 17, 2011 for Bill 4-31, also know as the ARFF EMT Pay Bill.
Oral testimony was given by Fire Captain Darren Burrier, GFD, representing the Fire Chief, and former Senator Matt Rector. Both testified in favor of the bill. Here is the KUAM news report on that hearing:

All firefighters should get differential pay

by Sabrina Salas Matanane

Guam - The Guam Fire Department testified in support of legislation that would give 15% differential pay to airport firefighters if they receive emergency Medical Technician Basic certifications. Speaking on behalf of Acting Fire Chief John Salas during today's hearing was Captain Darren Burrier, who said the bill should include the following amendments.
He said, "GFD recommends that the bill be amended to include all other firefighters within in the Guam Fire Department with the same restrictions applied in this bill we further recommend that the 15% be reduced to 10%, so as to differentiate the compensation for those who treat patients as opposed to those who provide continuous treatment transportation to a medical facility. Lastly, an alternative to bill 4-31 would be to include all EMT work as part of the hazardous pay compensation presently in existence; in doing this personnel at the Department of Corrections who are EMT-b certified and doing EMT-b work through the treatment of persons and prisoners and students will also be covered."
Currently only firefighters who work on the ambulance are getting the 15% differential pay despite the fact that firefighters on the truck are the initial responders to any scene providing care until a medic arrives. We should also note the bill would only allow airport fighters to receive the 15% if they are actually performing EMT-b work.  End of story.
There is an interesting comment after the story on the KUAM web site regarding whether or not firefighters should be given an EMT differential pay increase. I would advise reading the comment. The writer is very misinformed.
Any of you who would like to submit written testimony may do so by sending you testimony to:
Vice Speaker Benjamin J.F. Cruz, Chairman of the Committee on Youth, Cultural Affairs, Procurement, General Government Operations, and Public Broadcasting, Email:
Until next time....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

ONE ambulance for the entire island!!!!!

It is sad to report that there were numerous times yesterday, Wednesday 16 Feb 2011, that our island was down to only being serviced by one ambulance. Now that is ridiculous! How can that be when public safety is one of the top 3 priorities?

Though $200,000 has just been released to help alleviate this problem, that is to repair some of our ambulances, what will this money really do? Will it really fix our situation? I don't think so. It will only serve as a band aid fix to a long standing problem. We need new ambulances. We need to procure ambulances on a regular schedule. 

Guam is hard on ambulances. We have one of the most corrosive atmospheres on the planet. Everyone knows this. Our ambulances are subjected to very arduous service, constantly responding and transporting patients in heavy traffic and on harsh roadway conditions. Brake problems, fuel problems, electrical problems, transmission problems, starter problems, we've had them all. There is always something to blame.

We have bought and used every model of ambulance manufactured. The results are the same. They start to breakdown within 3 years. Their lifespan is 5 years maximum on the front line. We have seen this over and over again since the 1980s. The administration and the legislature know this.

If we can procure 3 ambulances every year, we could rotate a group of 15 ambulances within their 5 year lifespan and maintain a fleet capable of properly servicing our island. The second line fleet can then be refurbished and used for back up, non emergency functions and training.

We can do this if we practice what we preach. That is the safety of our public is truly a priority. Our residents deserve more than just one ambulance.
Until next time....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

ARFF Bill for 15% EMT Differential Pay

There will be a Public Hearing tomorrow at the Guam Legislature tomorrow, Thursday Feb. 17, 2011 to accept public testimony on numerous bills to include bill 4-31, "AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE ANTONIO B. WONPAT INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AUTHORITY, GUAM TO ISSUE DIFFERENTIAL PAY TO EMT-B CERTIFIED FIREFIGHTERS OF THE AIRCRAFT RESCUE AND FIRE FIGHTING UNIT"

The time is slated from 9am to 10am. Presiding over this public hearing is the Vice-Speaker B.J. Cruz.

I thought that this bill may be of interest to some of you GFD firefighters out there. You may review the bill in its entirety at
Until next time....

Donated Navy Pumpers Almost Out...??

I know we have all been wondering about the status of those two surplus Navy Pierce pumpers that the department was able to obtain from the Navy DRMO program here on Guam. Well here is the word that was delivered at the recent confirmation hearing of Chief Salas as reported by the Marianas Variety:

Fire trucks not yet out
The two Navy fire trucks recently donated to the Guam Fire Department have yet to be released pending a
review of a Memorandum of Understanding by the Attorney General’s Office.
The matter was brought up on Monday during the confirmation hearing of acting GFD Chief John Salas by
Senator Tom Ada, vice chairman of the Committee on Public Safety, Law Enforcement, and Judiciary.
GFD spokesman, Capt. Andy Arceo, told Ada that they are waiting for the paper work from the AG’s office so they can register the vehicles.
“Once we get that, then we can register the vehicles and get them on the road. The AG’s office is really
assisting us in getting that,” Arceo said, adding the Lt. Governor’s office also assisting in expediting the
The 25-year-old trucks cost about $200,000 each and were obtained by the government of Guam’s Department
of Agriculture and the U.S. Forestry Division through the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office or DRMO.
Arceo said the trucks should be at their respective fire stations very soon. They are to be assigned to the
Astumbo Fire Station in Dededo and Sinajana Fire Station.

So that is the latest word. Hopefully we will see these two trucks out very shortly.
Until next time....

New Firetrucks and Ambulances

Well, I have some good news to report. The fire department is in the process of procuring 5 new fire trucks. They are currently out for bid.  We are looking at 2 custom chassis structural pumpers and 3 commercial chassis pumpers.
Bid packets are available for pickup at the Gov't of Guam's GSA facility in Piti.
Chief Salas also told me that a requisition for 3 ambulances has been submitted. This is also great news in that the process of procuring ambulances is proceeding to the next step. The paperwork is now moving through the system. I will keep everyone posted as these procurements develop.
Until next time....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New GFD Training Blog

I just learned that the GFD training personnel have created a blog to publish training materials and news to help us in our quest in furthering our fire and ems education. Here is the site to go to:
I hope you all use this as one of your training references.
Until next time....

Chief Salas' Confirmation Hearing....Another new era in GFD

Well, its a new year and Chief Dave Peredo is out and the new appointee, retired Battalion Fire Chief John C. Salas is in.
Chief Salas is a great guy. When I first came in, during processing and initial assignment, he gave me my first GFD fire class at Tamuning Fire Station. Very knowledgeable about fire and easy going. I never saw him get his feathers ruffled.
Today was the Chief's confirmation hearing at the Guam Legislature.
Overall it was very positive.
There was a lot of support shown by the firefighters and other friends and family.
The Chief was grilled a little on the KAL Flight 801 disaster. The main issue was the alleged theft of passenger property. He was also questioned in detail about the hours of work and compensation of the uniform headquarters staff.  Refer to these news web pages for more info:
Pacific Daily News:
KUAM News:
Pacific News Center:
Senator Palacios asked the Chief to submit reports clarifying his answers to these questions to help determine his confirmation.
But all in all, I think that Chief Salas did well enough to secure his confirmation.
He has always been an easy Chief to get along with. If his 1 1/2 months in office is any indication of what we are to see in the future, I believe we firefighters will see the support that we have been looking for and the equipment and training that we need to serve the people of our island.
Only time will tell. Let us see where his leadership takes us.
Until next time....