RIALTO – The Fire Department anticipates between six and 15 pink slips will be handed out some time within the next week. City Administrator Henry Garcia on Wednesday informed the department of the move, initiated in the face of a $4.8 million budget shortfall. “I think the economic forecast reflects that fire service agencies (across the state) would have to do some belt tightening,” Fire Chief Robert Espinosa said. If the pink slips lead to layoffs, plans call for the department to close Fire Station 202 on the northeast corner of Easton Street and Riverside Avenue, which will equate to the reduction of one fire engine, Espinosa said. If that happens, three fire captains and three fire engineers could be demoted, and layoffs could start among least-senior personnel, Espinosa said. Response times will increase, he said. “We will still maintain three engines, one ladder truck, a battalion chief and three medical ambulances,” he said. Garcia last month called for all departments in the city to reduce costs by 10 percent. The City Council wanted results by July 14, he said. “Every department has complied with the council’s desire to not burden the community with additional taxes and fees, with the exception of (the fire union),” Garcia said.
Story by: SB Sun
LODI, CA – Tuesday was a “brownout” day for the Lodi Fire Department. That meant because of budget issues, staffing wasn’t at 19 or even 16 firefighters. It was at 13. “It’s safe to say we’ve had fewer people that we’ve liked, that’s true,” said interim Fire Chief Kevin Donnelly. Unfortunately on Tuesday, a residential fire ruined a home in southeast Lodi. Because of the brownout, Lodi had to rely on mutual aid from surrounding San Joaquin County fire agencies.”Every station is being staffed and there is a fire company in the neighborhood. But when we get on scene it’ll take us longer to get all the jobs done. There could be more damage caused out of that,” said Donnelly. Tuesday’s fire was started by children playing with a lighter. Two Lodi firefighters received minor injuries during that blaze. Because staffing is impacted in this budget crisis, Donnelly suggested Lodi residents do what they can to help prevent fires in the first place. “Look for fire sources around the house, do a home inspection and make sure smoke detectors are working. Make sure they have a family drill. If the family is out of the house when we get there, that changes a lot,” said Donnelly.
Story by: News10/KXTV
State firefighting costs have nearly tripled in the past decade but Cal Fire has avoided taking major hits in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proposed budget. The state’s firefighting agency has $790 million budgeted. A one-time savings of $17 million for the delayed replacement of fire engines and other vehicles is the only cut currently being considered for Cal Fire. San Bernardino County was scheduled to receive two new fire engines this fiscal year. “The governor has worked very hard to make sure we don’t take cuts,” said Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant. Yet, state budget analysts recommend a startling $55 million reduction to Cal Fire’s budget. Part of the suggested slashing includes prematurely ending its multi-million dollar contract with the owners of a DC-10 jet based in Victorville. Continue reading Cal Fire evades massive damage from budget cuts