SDSU, San Diego Fire-Rescue at odds over medical plan at scorching Snapdragon opener
After a less-than-smooth home opener on Sept. 3 at Snapdragon Stadium due to extreme heat, San Diego State University is now disputing a statement made by San Diego Fire-Rescue Department that its input was not solicited in establishing a medical plan for that game.
The Fire-Rescue Department was called upon to send additional resources after emergency medical services were overwhelmed by heat-related incidents, department spokesperson Mónica Muñoz said. The department even considered recommending the university cancel the event, she said in a statement to KPBS.
"Ultimately, because canceling the event wouldn’t solve the problem, the recommendation was to allow the event to continue and address the multi-casualty incident with the fans in place at the venue," Muñoz said.
More than 34,000 people attended the game as temperatures hovered around 100 degrees with no shade in the stands. In a now-viral video posted by season ticket holder Kris Golojuch, people are seen congregating under the bleachers and standing in the landscaping as shady spots became scarce.
Fire officials said they received multiple 911 calls during the game and had to transport at least five people while helping others in distress. At one point, there were seven engine companies and one battalion chief providing medical aid at the stadium. All this was in addition to the AMR and Falck ambulances and personnel pre-positioned by the university.
Muñoz said the department reached out to the university to collaborate on the medical plan in place.
"On several occasions prior to the event, the SDFD fire marshal, Deputy Chief (Tony) Tosca and EMS Deputy Chief Jodie Pierce offered to collaborate with SDSU on the medical plan for the event, but it was clear that our input was not solicited," she said.
The university disputed that.
Cory Marshall, a spokesperson for SDSU, told KPBS the university shared the plan and took advice from SDFD to add more ambulances.
“On Tuesday, Aug 30, SDFD requested review of the medical plan for the stadium," she said. "SDSU shared the medical plan on Wednesday, Aug. 31; it is not accurate to say that SDSU did not provide a medical plan.”
SDSU also distributed over 200 cases of free water during the game and provided misting areas, the university said.
“SDSU will continue to encourage discussions and collaboration in advance of games with fire officials, and fire officials will continue to be in the unified command center for football games and other stadium events,” Marshall said.
KPBS is a service of San Diego State University