Sun. May 19th, 2019

Concerns arise over fire safety at Disney

As Walt Disney World grows, should visitors feel less safe?The union representing firefighters who protect Disney property say they're understaffed at a time when they need to be hiring. WESH 2's Greg Fox reports Disney's leadership calls it a meritless claim in the middle of new contract talks.With just months to go before Disney opens…
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As Walt Disney World grows, should visitors feel less safe?The union representing firefighters who protect Disney property say they’re understaffed at a time when they need to be hiring. WESH 2’s Greg Fox reports Disney’s leadership calls it a meritless claim in the middle of new contract talks.With just months to go before Disney opens the Skyliner Gondola to visitors, firefighters are practicing how to rescue people in an emergency. Millions of dollars have been spent on new trucks and special equipment, not just for this, but for new attractions like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.On top of that, 800 new hotel rooms are being added.According to a new report, by next year, Disney World will have between 214,000 and 357,000 people visiting each day.That’s 100,000 more than a decade ago.Reedy Creek Improvement District is the government that manages and protects Walt Disney World property. The head of the firefighters union says RCID is not hiring enough men and women to get the job done. “We need more boots on the ground. We need more firefighters,” said Tim Stromsnes, president of the Reedy Creek Firefighters Association.Stromsnes said the chief requested 35 new positions this year, but got two.The latest study also shows the national average, as well as the City of Orlando and Orange County, all have more firefighters per 1,000 people than Reedy Creek, which is known as the protector of the “happiest place on Earth.””My biggest issue is that the safety of the families who visit here, their safety and the safety of the men and women who service the families who visit here,” Stromsnes said.Reedy Creek management says, just as they have in the past, firefighters are simply raising concerns to try to gain leverage after their contract expired last December.”Is this in any way contract related? Absolutely not,” Stromsnes said.The following is a statement from Reedy Creek: “Safety is of utmost importance, which is why we are always focused on the district being a safe place and are confident we provide appropriate levels of fire and medical services.”Disney issued a brief statement in response to WESH 2’s questions about the union claims:”The safety of our guests and cast is, and always will be, our core focus in operating our parks and resorts.”

ORLANDO, Fla. —

As Walt Disney World grows, should visitors feel less safe?

The union representing firefighters who protect Disney property say they’re understaffed at a time when they need to be hiring.

WESH 2’s Greg Fox reports Disney’s leadership calls it a meritless claim in the middle of new contract talks.

With just months to go before Disney opens the Skyliner Gondola to visitors, firefighters are practicing how to rescue people in an emergency.

Millions of dollars have been spent on new trucks and special equipment, not just for this, but for new attractions like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

On top of that, 800 new hotel rooms are being added.

According to a new report, by next year, Disney World will have between 214,000 and 357,000 people visiting each day.

That’s 100,000 more than a decade ago.

Reedy Creek Improvement District is the government that manages and protects Walt Disney World property. The head of the firefighters union says RCID is not hiring enough men and women to get the job done.

“We need more boots on the ground. We need more firefighters,” said Tim Stromsnes, president of the Reedy Creek Firefighters Association.

Stromsnes said the chief requested 35 new positions this year, but got two.

The latest study also shows the national average, as well as the City of Orlando and Orange County, all have more firefighters per 1,000 people than Reedy Creek, which is known as the protector of the “happiest place on Earth.”

“My biggest issue is that the safety of the families who visit here, their safety and the safety of the men and women who service the families who visit here,” Stromsnes said.

Reedy Creek management says, just as they have in the past, firefighters are simply raising concerns to try to gain leverage after their contract expired last December.

“Is this in any way contract related? Absolutely not,” Stromsnes said.

The following is a statement from Reedy Creek: “Safety is of utmost importance, which is why we are always focused on the district being a safe place and are confident we provide appropriate levels of fire and m

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