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KPBS Midday Edition

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department faces COVID staffing shortages

San Diego Fire and Rescue Department Station 1
Roland Lizarondo / KPBS
A San Diego Fire-Rescue firefighter at Station One in San Diego, Calif. Nov. 9, 2021.

As COVID-19 cases surge, it continues to impact services across the nation. Emergency responders are among the hardest hit by the growing rate of infection.

More than a hundred San Diego firefighters are currently in isolation due to potential coronavirus exposure, and the staggering number of staff absences is having an impact on fire services throughout the region.

The department is taking a number of measures to ensure services remain relatively unaffected, including the temporary shutdown of specialty units and the consolidation of smaller units into larger engine companies.


In addition to COVID-19-related staffing issues, firefighters and other city workers have until Monday to comply with San Diego's vaccine mandate or face termination.

Lyndsay Winkley, a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune, joined Midday Edition on Monday with more on San Diego Fire Department's staffing woes.