Union to discuss pay raises for Brevard County firefighters

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BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - The union representing firefighters in Brevard County said they are concerned about the safety of families.

Brevard County Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 2969's president said firefighters are overworked and underpaid, and too many are inexperienced.

"We have a lot of guys who are overworked, overstressed, then they get injured. We lost 53 from last October 2016 to today -- 53 employees," IAFF Local 2969 Lt. Josh Madsen said.

The union hopes that a meeting with the county will help change that.

There are more than 450 firefighters protecting Brevard County families.

Richard Pierce has been with the fire department for 15 years.

“I live here in Brevard County. My family lives here. I want the best for the citizens,” said Pierce.

The union and the county will work with an outside mediator Thursday about a pay raise for firefighters.

The starting rate for a Brevard County firefighter/EMT is $11.37 an hour.

That’s about $3 less than Orange County.

A firefighter/paramedic, who has more training, receives $13.04 an hour, making it about $4 less than Orange County.

“I don't know how my guys and girls do it. They're amazing,” Pierce said.

The union is asking for firefighter/EMTs to get more than a $3 raise, starting October 2019, and close to a $5 raise for firefighter/paramedics.

Pierce believes neighboring departments are working to get raises too.

A spokesperson for the county said the turnover rate at Brevard County Fire Rescue is still less than it is for employees countywide.

No agreement was made Thursday. The next step is arbitration, and then ultimately the Board of County Commissioners.

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