WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Weslaco Firefighter Association said it sent a 28-question survey to all firefighters.
According to the association, the results they saw are an urgent warning about the state of the fire department.
It survey reflects concerns about safety risks on the job, poor maintenance of fire department vehicles and fire stations, poor firefighter training, low employee morale, and a lack of confidence in the fire administration.
“Our neighboring departments are very well staffed. They have top-of-the-line equipment and state-of-the-art equipment, and we can’t even keep trucks in service,” said Carlos Hernandez, president of the Weslaco Firefighters Association.
“We have a lot of our personnel doing dual roles, which is not the standard practice anymore. It creates an unsafe work environment. It causes delays for our patient care, or, you know, our firefighters trying to have a safe scene to where they can do their jobs and do it safely.”
The survey revealed that 74% of firefighters believe the current staffing levels in the fire department are poor. As the city continues to grow, so does the demand for service. Last year EMS received 1,477 calls, and the fire department received 550.
“I think we scramble to cover emergencies pretty much all day, some of the days. So yeah, our city is growing, and our population is growing,” said Hernandez. “Our coverage area extends to the county. So the county is growing. So yeah, I mean, the whole mid-valley is developing everywhere. And, and we liked that, you know, we just were to a point where we’re cutting it a little too close.”
In a statement, the city said “The survey results were discussed, and we are actively listening to to the concerns expressed by the WFA. We hope our discussions will continue to be productive on how to work together towards our common goal of serving the city of Weslaco through excellent fire and EMS service.”
The union said it hopes the survey results lead to constructive conversations with city leaders.