Staff cuts risky

By your concerned Solana Beach firefighters

The Solana Beach city manager, David Ott, is proposing to reduce the level of staffing of the city’s Fire Department in order to further decrease an already bare-bones fire protection budget. This reduction will not put any money back into the taxpayer’s pockets; it will only reduce the level of service being provided to the community.

Down staffing will result in increased response times, longer on-scene time, and deliver fewer first responders to an emergency. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), as well as the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) recommends staffing a fire engine with four firefighters. The city of Solana Beach staffs its fire engine with three firefighters. The city manager’s proposal will reduce staffing to a two person crew, thus severely limiting the current response capabilities.

In 2005, the city of Solana Beach funded an independent study compiled by Emergency Services Consulting Incorporated. The purpose of this study was to determine the most cost- effective and service-efficient model for fire protection in the city of Solana Beach. Results from this study warranted staffing both a fire engine and a ladder truck with a minimum of three firefighters on each apparatus.

California Constitution Article 13, Section 35(a) states:

Public safety services are critically important to the security and well-being of the state’s citizens and to the growth and revitalization of the state’s economic base.

The protection of the public safety is the first responsibility of local government and local officials have an obligation to give priority to the provision of adequate public safety services.

The city manager’s proposal places the community’s safety at increased risk. One does not have to look very far to see the ramifications of a reduction in emergency services. This reduction in staffing puts the city of Solana Beach one step closer to engine company “brown-outs.” This proposal jeopardizes your personal safety.

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