Far be it for Frank to complain about those heroic men (and butch women), who risk their lives fighting fires, but it’s clearly time to call bullshit on their bonfire of the salaries.
According to the latest Sunshine List, putting the wet stuff on the hot stuff is putting ever-increasing numbers of firefighters aboard the gravy pumper. In Toronto alone, more than 2,500 hose-monkeys are members of the $100K Club, compared to 253 the previous year.
It’s the same story around other cities in Ontario–firefighters are lavishly compensated, despite fighting fewer fires than ever. (Assuming Canada follows American trends, consider that fires in the United States have decreased more than 40 per cent since the 1970s, while the number of personnel available to stand around them has increased 40 per cent.)
In Ontario, from 2003 to 2012, the fire death rate declined from 8.9 to 5.2, even as the population increased from 12.3 million to 13.4 million. But there are more firefighters than ever.
The image of firefighters rushing into burning buildings, axing down doors and rescuing mothers and infants is of course correct — two per cent of the time.
The other 98 per cent of the time, that hook and ladder screaming through your neighbourhood is answering a call for an alleged medical emergency. Every time Aunt Agnes comes down with the vapors, or a kitten is down a well, firefighters respond in force. And why not?! They have to rationalize their whopping salaries somehow, so they rush off to non-life threatening calls, like glorified paramedics—but at twice the cost.
Speaking of cost, on top of all the other perks and benefits, firefighters get to retire in their early fifties—on full pensions.
Added bonus: they work only six 24-hour shifts per month, which leaves plenty of spare time to supplement their incomes as fitness trainers, landscapers, construction workers, or posing for beefcake calendars.
By comparison, at the FDNY in New York, five-year sluggos make $76,488 plus $22,616 in benefits and overtime, maxing out at $99,104 per year.
Meanwhile, in economically depressed duckburgs like Belleville, pop. 49,454, they’ve got five firefighters in the $100K Club, topped by Mark Shannon’s $121,726.
Cash-strapped Guelph has 11 in the $100K Club, led by David Hambly at $112,139.
Those Top Earning Firefighters in full.
*Note: Vizmins need not apply
Toronto Top Ten
Ottawa Top Ten
Jeffrey St. Germaine–$113,580