Florida firefighters sequestration woes

Posted at 7:43 PM, Feb 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-19 15:12:58-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Firefighters and emergency responders here in Florida are bracing themselves for harsh budget cuts.

"The public will in turn have a very unexpected outcome and probably not for the best," said Gary Rainey.

Gary Rainey, the president of the Florida Professional Firefighters Association is talking about the $85-billion dollar sequester issue congress is now facing.

That's harsh cuts to the nation's budget which ultimately aims at cutting jobs including local emergency workers.

"Any reduction in it will result in communities here in Florida not being funded," said Rainey.

He said local firefighters and ems departments receive two types of grants from the federal government, a total of $700-million dollars.

That includes a grant to fund equipment and the other--to pay employees.

Rainey fears if services are cut - residents will suffer.

"It doesn't matter what the emergency is if the fire station near you is closed and it takes the nearest station to get there's going to be a loss as a result of that," said Rainey.

U.S. Senator Ben Nelson who represents Florida says he hopes it doesn't happen.

"It will be a bad day for America, you can cut spending but you ought to cut it intelligently not just this meat cleaver guillotine approach that just wacks off willy nilly," said Senator Nelson

One take, Rainey agrees with.

"We've been making due with less and less staff to provide that and at some point something has to give," said.