BUFFALO, N.Y. — First responders see trauma on a regular basis. But to some, it seems as though major traumatic events keep happening in Western New York.
On top of that, the president of the Buffalo Professional Firefighters union, Vinny Ventresca, is outlining some issues that he says plagued their ability to help save lives during the recent blizzard.
Firefighters say more money is needed to help upgrade equipment.
"We feel that the biggest problem we faced was that there was no plan in place," said Ventresca. "The emergency management plan, if there was one, it wasn't executed, and the problem with the fleet was that a lot of the apparatuses broke down."
Last week, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown defended the city's response to the storm.
"There was a great deal of collaboration and communication," said Mayor Brown. "But we are committed to learning from this storm. We are committed to improving our delivery of services to our community in extreme weather conditions."
Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo on Tuesday released a statement, saying:
"Mr. Ventresca's letter is not accurate. The Buffalo Fire Department along with most like size departments is consistently, and continuously upgrading and replacing apparatus and equipment.
Since Fiscal 2019 to 2023 over $9 million dollars has been spent on new apparatus, new equipment and renovations to fire facilities. This does not include a new firehouse under construction at Seneca and Southside.
It must be noted that the age of our apparatus had absolutely nothing to do with our ability to respond during the height of the recent storm. We responded to 11 working fires during the Blizzard with only one reported injury to a civilian.
The Buffalo Fire Department remains a trained and ready force. All possible preparations were made prior to the storm, and all of our members from Firefighter to the most senior level leaders performed magnificently."