Fire Dept. Brownouts Not Causing Serious Delays In Call Response Time
San Diego’s fire department will host several training events this week as part of a fire department convention that’s in town. The gathering of firefighters comes when San Diego’s department is three weeks into a money saving plan that idles some engines.
Fire Chief Javier Mainar says the department has responded to about 5,800 calls while the plan has been in place. He says three of those calls were flagged as having been possibly affected because engines that would have responded were not in service.
“I’ve looked closely at them. I agree in two cases that they did,” he said. “But you’re talking two cases out of 5,800 hundred responses where we could have gotten there and made the fire smaller, not allowed it to spread as far. Or where we could have helped someone who was injured, not life threatening, but injured, and maybe alleviated their pain more quickly.”
Mainar says that is a good track record. But he acknowledges that the fire department may also have gotten lucky. He says the circumstances can quickly change and make a situation more serious. The idling of some engines is saving the city $11.5 million in overtime costs.