Friday, May 16, 2014

Costa Mesa Firefighters Battle San Diego Fires

The City if Costa Mesa issued the following press release today regarding the participation of Costa Mesa Firefighters on the multiple fires south of our city in San Diego County.

"Eight Costa Mesa firefighters have deployed to San Diego this week to help put out a series of wildfires.

On Wednesday, Battalion Chiefs Kevin Diamond and Tim Vasin were asked to supervise an Orange County strike team (made up of five engine companies from neighboring fire departments) that was dispatched to San Diego. Their team worked for more than 24 hours straight on the San Marcos fire and continues to help with fire-fighting operations there.
Also on Wednesday, Battalion Chief Bill Kershaw was dispatched to the Tomahawk Fire at Camp Pendleton.

On Thursday, Fire Captain Chris Coates led Costa Mesa Engine 84 (with Engineer Steve Savage and Firefighter/Paramedics Trail Blincoe and Travis Johnson) as part of another Orange County strike team sent to the San Marcos fire.

And Thursday afternoon, Fire Captain Bruce Pulgencio was activated for military deployment effective today in his role as a helicopter pilot for the U.S. Army Reserve to assist with the water dropping operations for the San Diego fires. 

"The bottom line is that Costa Mesa Firefighters are actively engaged in firefighting operations with firefighters from throughout the region to help mitigate the extreme fire conditions and damage that is taking place in San Diego," Fire Chief Dan Stefano said."

This is the way things work in the public safety arena.  Neighboring cities assist each other when calamities such as these horrendous fires occur.  As a resident of this city, I'm proud these men do their duty supporting fire fighting efforts in nearby communities.
This kind of activity should be considered when our City Council considers the current budget and labor negotiations.  Right now the Costa Mesa Fire Department is a dozen (12) positions short, with the city administration unwilling to fill any of them until the new deployment model is in place.  We've written about this before.  It has chosen, instead, to abandon six of those slots and "fill" the remaining vacancies with overtime.

In my view, this is a peculiar approach.   Particularly when those men and women who - when the overtime demanded of them is considered - work practically two jobs, are later chided as "greedy firefighters" by elected leaders.  Several times over the past couple years reference was made by Mayor Jim Righeimer to "$350,000 firefighters" - obviously referring to Battalion Chief Bill Kershaw, who worked over 4,000 hours in 2012 leading the men of the Costa Mesa Fire Department who were defending our city.  This kind of clueless crap comes from a man whose idea of "risk" is driving his SUV while it's dirty!

The new deployment model as originally proposed by Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold called for six new paramedic vans, with five being deployed and one held in reserve.  Presently, although we now actually have those six $200,000 vans, only two have deployed.  And, the deployment model has morphed into one in which two of them will be held in reserve and only 4 deployed.  I don't understand how this makes any sense.

The kind of catastrophic event we see today, where we are asked to help other communities in need, demonstrates exactly why we need to be filling our fire fighting vacancies and fully implementing the planned re-deployment model!  We need to provide safety for our community without requiring our firefighters to work thousands of overtime hours to accomplish that goal.  If that means we pave a couple fewer streets next year, so be it!

Kudos to Fire Chief Dan Stefano and the men and women of the Costa Mesa Fire Department for their tireless efforts on behalf of our city and of the broader community.  We should be proud of them all.

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

You know, I cannot say enough good things about our police and fire departments. It isn't unusual for firemen to have heart attacks while on duty. Its a real a danger as it is for them to suffer injuries from the fire itself, as well as lung damage and other respiratory injuries.

We owe these men and women a debt of gratitude for what they are willing to do to keep us safe. Just ask any of those people in San Diego what they would do without the firemen there right now.

Get rid of Righeimer (and Ramos) in November, and let's get this city back on track.

5/16/2014 01:44:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

Our CM Firemen and Police officers are exemplary.
They are heroes, each and every one of them.

5/16/2014 07:37:00 PM  

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