Rich Brandt, president of Long Beach, CA Local 372, knows what it’s like to be laid off. After leaving New York for the West Coast and a job with the Westminster Fire Department, he was laid off in 1993 during the economic downturn. Now a fire fighter with the Long Beach Fire Department, he sees the daily news headlines about IAFF members throughout this union that continue to face layoffs and staffing reductions. He tells the IAFF how his local has worked with the City to develop a budget that keeps stations open, rigs rolling and fire fighters on the job. But with almost a dozen members retiring in December, the Long Beach Fire Department faces a staffing shortage. But instead of spending $1.2 million to put a recruit class through the fire academy, Brandt is spreading the word to his union brothers and sisters who have been laid off because of the economic crisis that the Long Beach Fire Department is looking for experienced fire fighters to help bring the department back to full staffing. That is a bit of good news in these tough economic times.