For Immediate Release
Contact Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske
Schipske Calls on City Manager to Disclose Response Times for Fire Department – States Concern that Budget Cuts May Have Caused Slower Response Times
March 13, 2012 – Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske didn’t support the cuts to the fire department when they were proposed by the Mayor and the City Manager and now she wants to know what those cuts did to response times.
“The City Council was assured that the cuts to the Fire Department would not substantially impact response times for calls for fire and paramedic services,” says Schipske, “but that’s not what I am hearing from firefighters.”
Schipske reports that the cuts to the Fire Department included “rolling brownouts” -- taking an engine out of service at a different station each day - or light-force duty at some stations.
Additionally, daily staffing was reduced to an all time low level , down from a high of 137 firefighters in 2008 to the current low of 117.
“Firefighters report that as a result of these cuts, response time has been slowed in some instances where staff and equipment must travel across the city due to an engine out of service at another station,” Schipske notes. “As a Registered Nurse, who did some training with the Long Beach Fire Department paramedics, I understand that every minute counts when it comes to saving lives.”
Schipske’s agenda item calls for the City Manager to disclose the response times since the cuts were enacted. “The City Council needs to evaluate actual response time information to determine whether or not the cuts to the fire department have been detrimental to the public safety of our residents.”