I met with the Alameda’s Fire Chief Dave Kapler this morning to ask him the question that I think is probably on most Alamedans’ minds: “What do fire station ‘brown outs’ mean for us when we call in an emergency?”
Kapler gave me some stats, comparing response time in 2008 to response time in 2009 since brown outs began. (His stats are from before last week when the department changed the vehicle slated to be closed when staffing levels drop below 27 because of illness or vacation from a Bay Farm ambulance to the engine at station five, the western-most Island station.)
In 2008, the average time in took both vehicles (staffed by five firefighters/paramedics) to be at the scene of an emergency was Continue Reading
There has been much talk in Alameda of late about staffing changes in the fire department. Firefighters have been leafletting and also developed this site. There’s also a Facebook group, “Save Alameda Firehouses!”
At last night’s City Council meeting, staff presented a report to council about emergency response time in Alameda and the cost of maintaining current service levels. Most city departments have cut their budgets by eight percent this year; the police and fire departments have been asked to cut their budgets by four percent. In keeping with this target, and Continue Reading
The column I write for Tuesday’s Alameda Journal is up online now: “Tough times, hard choices.” It was a sad one to write, because in doing the research into Alameda’s budget and the benefits the city pays, it became clear what a bind we’re in, and what a bind we’re facing in the future. But Alameda is not alone in this. Public entities across the country are facing the same squeeze from the economic downturn and rising health care costs.