City of Roseville considering fire department cuts

The city of Roseville aims to cut back on firefighter ladder truck staffing, but firefighters say that's not the way to save money.

Roseville City Council will consider cutting firefighter truck staffing during a budget hearing Tuesday evening. 

According to fire union representatives, the cuts will increase response times and diminish public safety.

Representatives also asked city management to review a study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology [NIST] to show the importance of proper truck staffing. 

In the NIST study they found: 

  • Four-person crews complete on scene rescues 5.1 minutes faster than three-person crews. 
  • Four-person crews are able to complete tasks on a structure fire 25 percent faster than a three-person crew. 

“Firefighters know best when it comes to fighting fires and responding to emergencies,” Roseville’s Station 1 Fire Captain Ryan Harrigan said.

He told ABC10’s Anne Di Grazia the city’s proposal to cut back staffing on ladder trucks is irresponsible and the union isn’t having it.

“Our main concern is safety and health of the public as well as our firefighters," he said. 

There are only two ladder trucks in the city but Harrigan said it is a big enough deal.

“These firefighters come with certain tools, that they need for successful outcomes,” Harrigan added.

On Monday, the both ladder trucks were needed for a fire at a Dick’s Sporting Goods shopping center. Captain Harrigan said that situation was a perfect example of why four are needed on the truck instead of three.

“… both of our ladder trucks responded with four personnel because we had an adequate response. There were no injuries reported,” Harrigan said.

Roseville native, retired Sacramento Metro Fire Captain and Executive Director of the Firefighter Burn Institute Michael Daw, said he is concerned about safety.

“We cannot handle the uptick in burn injuries in this city if these cuts happen,” Daw said.

But City Manager Rob Jensen said there has been a 25 percent drop in fire calls over the last five years and the union’s qualms aren’t valid.

“What we are proposing is a change in how we respond,” Jensen said. “In a more cost effective manner."

He said no one will lose their jobs but it will cut about $800,000 in overtime. Jensen also said a lot of research has been done.

“We have looked into other departments and consulted with our fire chief and he agrees these changes can be implemented with no impact to our community,” Jensen said.

Even though Jensen says it will be nearly a million in savings, Captain Harrigan said the union doesn’t believe it will be that much. He also said they have other ideas on ways to generate money for the city.

“What we would like to focus on is generating revenue for the city, we have a premier fire training facility that we could charge fees to outside agencies using it,” Harrigan said.

The city will hold the budget hearing Tuesday and Wednesday but will not make a decision until the end of the month.

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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