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Fire fighters organize first city department union

By By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
Five employees of the Atmore Fire Department have organized a new local union – the first time a union has been formed within a city department in Atmore. Neither Fire Chief Gerry McGhee nor Mayor Howard Shell would comment on the new union when contacted Tuesday.
The new Escambia County Alabama Professional Fire Fighters Association is a full affiliate of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF). News of the affiliation was released by Danny Todd, a union district vice president in Memphis.
Three AFD fire fighters have been elected to hold office in the union: Dan Currie, president; Marcus Vaughn, vice president; and Dale Rutherford, secretary/treasurer.
Current issues of concern include proper protective fire fighting gear and adequate staffing.
Currie, who has been with the department almost 20 years, released the following statement: "We believe the creation and introduction of a union into the City of Atmore Fire Department and city workforce can only be a positive influence. We want to work for changes in the fire department that will provide better fire protection to the people we really work for, the people of the Atmore area. The City of Atmore must move into the 21st century if it expects to attract any substantial new business enterprise. At some point in the near future, we hope to increase the department's size and salaries within the department. Equipment, both personal protective gear and fire apparatus, is also a major concern. We also want to promote citizen awareness on matters of fire safety, at school, in the home and at work."
The Atmore Fire Department consists of 10 fire fighters, a chief and a clerk/firefighter. The IAFF represents more than 240,000 professional fire fighters in the United States and Canada.