A Message From Oswego Firefighters

To The Editor:
In another couple of weeks the remaining 6 firefighters of the 17 positions cut from the department in the 2017 budget, will be laid off.

This will be a first for Oswego and the largest cut to a fire department in recent history across the state.

This equals a 33% reduction in the city’s firefighting force.

As a result, the number of firefighters on duty at any given time has been reduced to 7.

That is one fully staffed engine company no longer there to rely on.

Whether it is a fire, a medical emergency, a car accident, a river rescue, or any other routine emergency we handle, the impact of having 4 less responders will definitely be felt.

It will take longer to do the same necessary tasks; some will not get done at all.
Simultaneous calls may leave no one available to respond to a second or third call.

Calling in more personnel or mutual aid will be necessary more often, but that takes time.

More help after the fact, although necessary, rarely makes a difference in the life-saving outcome of an emergency.

That difference is made in the first minutes if not seconds, by the firefighters on duty.

The mayor and council justified these cuts by saying the department was “overstaffed” by comparison, however as you read this, you may find it interesting that Oswego is now protected by one less firefighter on duty, than our neighboring city of Fulton.

It should also be mentioned that comparing the staffing of our department to one that does not provide ambulance service, wouldn’t be considered an apples to apples comparison, as operating an ambulance requires more personnel.

We are apprehensive about our future; we have not had a major emergency with only 7 firefighters on duty yet.

All we can offer you at this point is that we will continue to give you everything we have when it comes to keeping Oswego’s citizens safe.

We would also like to publicly thank the firefighters who will no longer be members of our department.

We have lost a great part of our membership, and we thank you for your dedicated service to the city.

We can only hope that in the future, the city will explore any grant opportunities that could bring you back to work and help return staffing to a safer level.

To those we serve and protect, thank you for your continued support, if you’d like to learn more about your fire department and gain more insight on these issues, call and schedule a fire station tour or visit.

Wishing all of you a happy and safe holiday season,
The members of the Oswego Firefighters’ Association


  1. Here’s a better idea – save your bull and fear mongering. Your department has drained this city of money due to improper overtime expenses and careless disregard for the city’s taxpayers for too long. Learn to live with less like every citizen of Oswego has done.

  2. “We have lost a great part of our membership, and we thank you for your dedicated service to the city.” Membership? Was being employed there considered being in a club? Did that club have it’s privilege’s? What were the benefits and perks of OFD club? By using that sentence and the word membership just solidifies what you are all about. That statement acknowledges the fact of decades and decades of wrong doing on behalf of the citizens of Oswego! They are/were city employees, union or not….and you are entitled to nothing!

  3. It will take a Tragedy for this to be exposed for what it truly is and I hope that Mr Barlow will have the strength to live with his Decision and be able to face those affected. On a side note, do you think he is going to give you a Relief Tax because your Homeowners insurance will go sky high because of this great brain storm? (If you rent, expect your rent to go up because of this as well) ironic as it is, those that support this plan will Complain the loudest when they stand there helpless as a loved one passes away or their house burns down because of a response delay.

  4. On the contrary. The tragedy here is that you use a fear mongering tactic to try and make people think something terrible will happen because we are making a city department accountable. Listen, Maude Flanders – in case you didn’t notice by the lack of support when the cuts happened or the comments being left here, the “Won’t somebody please think of the children!” act isn’t gonna cut it. Suck it up, and if you don’t like the more-than-adequate level of service, fight for more competent firemen or move.

  5. The firemen have brought this on themselves by padding there pensions over the years. Oswego now has a mayor willing to do something about it.

  6. I think that’s what the Oswego firemen are saying, that the Fulton Fire department is overstaffed. Curious how many of these Oswego firemen actually live in the City.

  7. Comparing yourself to Fulton, is a poor argument. Fulton is broke because the fire department and the police department is overstaffed. Every year the residents are over assessed to pay their salaries, medical and pensions.The difference is Oswego has a mayor willing to do something about it. Fulton doesn’t.

  8. Fed Up, Your Name calling truly shows your maturity level. If you have never had a TRUE need for the Fire Department in an Emergency, you would understand what the author was speaking of. Case in point: Easter Sunday. My wife went Down in Full Arrest. I started CPR while on the phone with 911. Two minutes later, there were 6 firefighters in our house. Each one was doing their job Saving her life, getting info from me and relaying info to Oswego Hospital. When she left, they had 3 of those men in the ambulance continuing CPR and Difibulation and one driving the Ambulance. At the time, another incident was happening and BOTH Firehouses were empty. IF these cutbacks had happened then, she wouldn’t have been here as she needed Difibulation FAST and the closest other Ambulance available at the time was Menter in FULTON. I pray you NEVER have to go through that, but if a loved one close to you dies because help didn’t arrive on time, perhaps them you will stop the name calling, grow up and see the importance of having a FULLY STAFFED fire dept really means.

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