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Amid budget cuts and fire station closings, Chief Mark Rohlfing reassuring public during Fire Prevention Week

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – The latest Milwaukee city budget plan from Mayor Barrett will see six fire stations close next year, but Chief Rohlfing is reassuring the public, taking part in the kick-off to fire prevention week.

The mayor was also on hand as the Survive Alive house marked 25 years of allowing kids to practice an escape route.

The message was clear – once you’re outside, stay outside.

“We have excellent response times. The best you can do for us is let our first firefighters on the scene know where somebody might be and let them know where they are,” says Chief Rohlfing.

McDonald’s also threw in a free meal for the kids on the field trip.

On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Fire Department and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) are teaming up with Domino’s Pizza to promote fire safety. From 5-7 p.m. on October 10, anyone who orders a Domino’s pizza may be randomly selected and surprised at the door when their pizza arrives aboard a fire engine. If the smoke alarms in the home are working, the pizza is free. If the smoke alarms aren’t working, firefighters will install fully functioning alarms.

Anyone in need of a smoke detector who lives in the City of Milwaukee can call the Fire Department’s hotline at 414-286-8980.

When speaking on the budget issue, the mayor says the city is facing pension obligations that it never faced before.

“The reality is that we have to tackle increased employer pension obligations, increased costs to continue service delivery and constrained revenue options," explains the mayor. “Amazingly, my 2018 budget for the Milwaukee Police Department surpasses the entire municipal tax levy for the third year in a row. The 2018 police budget totals $293.4 million and the tax levy is $273.5 million. In addition, my 2018 budget includes an employer pension payment of $83 million. That’s $22 million more than we have been paying in recent years.”

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