Inside the Firefighters' Local 886 in San Angelo
SAN ANGELO, TX — There is a rather large AFL-CIO union sign outside of two buildings in downtown San Angelo.
The 15 W. Beauregard and 17 W. Beauregard were purchased by San Angelo Fire Fighters Association, (SAFFA) Local 886 about a year ago.
Mason Matthews is the Vice-president of Local 886 and explained that they function “as an association, rather than a union.”
A call to AFL-CIO headquarters in Austin confirmed that each local stands alone.
Local 886 collaborates with the San Angelo Fire Department administration and City of San Angelo officials to address needs of the Fire Department, such as new equipment, training, and salaries, so that San Angelo is more on par with neighboring city departments in those areas.
Of approximately 160 firefighters in San Angelo, 140 are members of Local 886, but, as Matthews said, “we advocate for all.”
EMS is also a part of the Fire Department, and is the only EMS service in San Angelo.
Local 886’s headquarters at 15. W. Beauregard is reserved for firefighters and EMS crews and their families as a place to decompress and in general enjoy each other’s company.
Long hours and stress is part of the job, and the numbers bear that out.
There were 13,000 emergency calls in a 12-month period last year, and 2017 will likely be the same or higher.
Peak call time for emergency calls is between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Next door, Local 886 has 17 W. Beauregard that will be available for rent to the public.
A couple of things struck me as Matthews took me on a guided tour of the buildings: One is his pride in being a firefighter, and the other is the enthusiastic vision he has for making the buildings a place special for EMS crews and firefighters.