For years the City of Winchester has failed its fire and rescue department and in doing so jeopardized your safety, the safety of your neighbors, and the safety of your firefighters. Under the failed leadership of Mayor Smith and former City Manager Eden Freeman, the men and women who courageously serve and protect Winchester have been under attack. Beginning in 2017 the city administration began cutting the benefits of our firefighters and paramedics. Despite being warned that the cuts would have serious negative impacts on public safety and the morale of our firefighters, the city enacted these cuts.
Our firefighters attempted to meet with Mayor Smith beginning in 2018 to discuss these matters of public safety. He refused to meet with them. When our firefighters shared their concerns for public safety at City Council meetings, they faced threats of disciplinary action and termination afterwards for speaking out.
To date, since 2017 when the attacks began, the Winchester Fire & Rescue Department has lost 33 of its 65 professional firefighters and paramedics. This has cost the citizens dedicated and experienced heroes. As a result, over that same three-year period, the cardiac resuscitation survival rate dropped nearly 15%, from a 45% chance of survival to just 30%. Additionally, having to replace veteran firefighters and paramedics has cost the taxpayers of Winchester in excess of $2 million dollars in unbudgeted and unnecessary costs, including overtime, training new firefighters and paramedics, and outfitting them with uniforms and protective gear. The city invested over $150,000 to train new paramedics to replace the ones who left, only to have five of those newly certified paramedics leave after completing the class.
Citizens of Winchester deserve better. Public safety is a fundamental principle of government and it is critical that our public policymakers support those that ensure our communities are safe. That is why the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters (VPFF), which represents over 8,000 professional firefighters and paramedics on the job across the Commonwealth, including our Winchester Professional Firefighters and Paramedics, endorse Danielle Bostick for Mayor of Winchester.
Danielle has been an outspoken advocate for firefighters and public safety. She is dedicated to ensuring that our firefighters have the necessary tools to protect and serve the citizens of Winchester. She will work to end the public safety crisis in Winchester. She is committed to improving morale within the WFRD and bringing a shift in culture to the men and women who serve and protect Winchester everyday. From now until November 3rd we encourage the citizens to support public safety and to vote for Danielle Bostick for Mayor of Winchester.