GRANDVIEW, Mo. — Staffing concerns have Grandview Fire Department employees saying they’re at their breaking point. Those are the words of their union president. 

“They are down about a third of their work force, which not only puts our members’ lives at risk when they’re responding to emergencies, but most importantly it puts the citizens of Grandview at risk,” said Daniel Heizman, president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 42.

It’s a fire department in distress – as more firefighters and paramedics say goodbye to Grandview.

The situation has festered over many months. Now in recent weeks it’s reached a new level of concern.

“They’re at their breaking point where they’re losing so many people that they’re having trouble staffing the proper amount of apparatus and ambulances that are needed,” Heizman said.

The main concern for Heizman and those he represents are the wages – and now the conditions they’re forced to work under. For example, he said there are times when there isn’t enough personnel to respond to certain emergencies.

FOX4 asked Heizman the level of crisis from 1-10 the department is facing.

“We’re up in the 8, 9 range at this point,” he said. “They’re hemorrhaging so many employees that they’re not going to be able to fully staff these firetrucks and ambulances pretty soon.”

Working for you, FOX4 reached out to the city. Mayor Leonard Jones Jr. issued the following statement:

“IAFF Local 42 and the City of Grandview currently have a contract in place running through the end of September 2023. The city’s attorneys and city representatives are meeting with union representatives this week to discuss the best steps for moving forward. Grandview Fire Department is staffed and capable of addressing emergencies.”

But Heizman disagrees.

“When you have less than what is required, there’s a lot more stress on the firefighters, and some of the tasks take a lot longer to do,” he said.

This isn’t a contract year, but because of the staffing issues, the city and union are opening that contract again. The city will begin negotiations with the union starting Wednesday.