(WXYZ) — In the wake of two alcohol-related incidents within the Detroit Fire Department in one week, the City of Detroit is partnering with the Detroit Fire Commissioner’s office, firefighter union leadership and the International Association of Firefighters to develop an employee assistance program, Detroit Mayor Duggan announced at a press conference on Tuesday.
Fire officials say that there is a zero tolerance policy for consuming alcohol on the job. They also discussed the added stress first responders have been under during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We owe it to each other, to be there for each other,” said Ed Kelley of the International Association of Firefighters, who traveled to Detroit to be apart of the press conference, and says these challenges are not just specific to Detroit.
To address the issues, Mayor Duggan says four steps will be taken:
- Making sure it is clear that Detroit firefighters are not permitted to work under the influence of alcohol, and that the policy is strictly enforced.
- Having command staff return to onsite work and visiting the firehouses regularly, which had been restricted due to COVID-19 safety concerns
- Partnering with the Detroit firefighters union and the International Association of Firefighters to create “the most robust employee assistance program in America”
- Completing an environmental audit where people can share information confidentially
“What we have decided to do is approach this together; we're not here to focus on who's to blame, we're focusing on how we're going to solve it,” said Mayor Duggan.