San Diego minimum fire staffing

When the tax increase for public safety was rejected by San Diego voters, there was talk of going to three person fire crews to save money. Others saw reduced staffing as a way to cut spending without resorting to brownouts.

Fire Chief Javier Mainar says the 3-person model doesn't fit San Diego because of our wildland canyons and our lack of fire stations.

The City Council was in unanimous agreement and wanted to send a message to city residents that public safety remains the number one priority.

“One standard we don't want to abandon is the basic minimum 4-person crew standard for fire engines. The two-in, two-out rule that is the standard across the country,” said Council Member Marty Emerald.

Since medical calls account for 85-percent of all fire calls, 4-person crews are better able to handle life or death situations, such as cardiac arrest. Plus with emergency response times lower than the national standard, the situation is compounded when there are fewer people.
It can impact the patients ability to survive.

None of the council members were interested in further eroding public safety. Each of our council districts have areas presently under served. We have not met the 90-percent arrival time in any districts in the City.

Councilmember Carl DeMaio wanted to know if the Fire Chief had an additional 3-million dollars how would he use it? The Chief said he would reinstate the engines that were parked due to cut backs.

Chief Mainar added all studies confirm that with 3-person crews you lose efficiency and you lose a margin of safety for both firefighters, and those they are trying to protect.

Categories: KUSI