2 Davis Fire Stations Could Have Fewer Firefighters

The Davis City Council is scheduled to discuss fire department staffing models this week.


Two Davis fire stations could soon have fewer firefighters on staff, but officials say it'll save the city money, while also improving service to the community. 

That's because another station could gain a firefighter and more flexibility in how its rescue unit can be used.

The Davis City Council on Tuesday night is scheduled to discuss the Fire Department staffing proposal, which could cut one firefighter from the "daily minimum staffing" model and save $360,000 annually.

Currently, all three fire stations in town have four people on staff; that's so they can follow a "two in, two out" model when responding to fires, according to a city staff report.

But if each station drops to three firefighters on its engine company, and the Fifth Street Station 31 adds two people to a rescue unit, it would add flexibility and save money, city staff say.

"Currently, Rescue 31 must respond in tandem with Engine 31 to all calls," the staff report states. "By making the Rescue a stand-alone unit, the rescue could respond to traffic accidents in Station 32 and 33’s first-in area and leave Engine 31 in quarters to respond to additional calls."

The issue has been supported in the past by the Davis Enterprise and the People's Vanguard of Davis.

"I would like to see some out-of-the-box thinking," the Vanguard's David Greenwald wrote in December. "This is not a matter of their attempting to save jobs - no current employees lose their jobs based on this staffing arrangement. In fact, according to the interim chief, we will actually have to hire new firefighters."

The city council in January adopted changes to the fire department's response-time goals, a fire-management plan with UC Davis and a boundary drop. The Enterprise reported that those changes went down easily, but fire union officials have been digging in for a fight on any staffing reductions.

"But a decision on a recommendation to revert to three-person fire crews won’t be quite as easy," an editorial last week wrote.


The city council meets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at 23 Russell Blvd.


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Dt March 05, 2013 at 04:36 PM
It's time for the citizens to step up and not be bullied by the fire union. This change to a 3 man crew (which is industry standard) makes sense. The fire union is doing nothing but trying to protect their salaries and pensions without regard for long term fiscal impact. Ever wonder why fire department openings across California have thousands of applicants? The pay/pension/benefit package for these positions has gotten out of control.
Sam March 05, 2013 at 08:52 PM
4 is the industry standard 3 is the minimum accepted standard. This isn't an issue about pension & benefits , it's about resource deployment, efficiency, citizen & firefighter safety. People line up for firefighter jobs because its a rewarding profession, and since a vast number of firefighters develop cancer and die relitavely young the least we can do is provide a decent retirement and medical coverage.
ted March 05, 2013 at 09:27 PM
There is a group known as vankooks that has plagued cites across the state with their mindless claims of excess . They even have a clown named bruce crackpott 'philpott" who claims to be a ex police chief who was a temp and makes misleading statements about firefighting
Dt March 05, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Sam (representative of the fire department). Thanks for expressing your views. I know that your union will keep pushing this argument towards scaring the citizenry about their safety, but THIS is about the fiscal reality check. We all have created a financial time bomb that will blow up in the future. The only way to prevent this is to make some sacrifices now to protect our future. Believe me, this will be better for you too, if we continue along this reckless path we will not be able to pay your pension in the future (check out what is happening in Stockton). Also, let's hold off throwing in the cancer scare as well until the CDC releases the results of their broad, multi-year study! I am thankful that you and your fellow fire fighters have chosen this honorable profession, however you will have to adapt to change like the rest of us in the public and private sectors. We could reduce the pay across the board by $10k a year and people would still line up for a mile for a fire job in Davis!! Let us know when they stop lining up and we will know when we have hit the right level of pay and benefits!! Frankly Sam, your ideas are from another era. This is 2013 and times have changed. All we as citizens are asking is for your union to participate in the change and adapt. We are not try to demean you or not listen, we just can't knowingly drive off the cliff. The game has changed, its time to change with it!
Guido Bisogno March 05, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Sounds like a lack of common sense created the health situation and I don't see why sensible people should now be on the hook for their stupidity: "The younger Fire Fighters, especially Trial Fire Fighters were expected to take in as much of this acrid smoke as possible, so their lungs would become accustom to that particular environment”. Assistant Fire Marshal Richard Lang 5 (2003) stated, “Eating smoke was what we were about. The more smoke you ate the better firefighter you were assumed to be. We were killing ourselves and didn’t know it”.
Guido Bisogno March 05, 2013 at 10:18 PM
What I don't understand is why the City of Davis can fritter away a zillion dollars on re-configuring every intersections in the downtown area, which was completely unnecessary, and then when they need money - start laying people off that are necessary. Those who voted this way should all be dumped.
Concerned Citizen March 06, 2013 at 12:19 AM
The City should do whatever they can to reduce costs. This proposal makes sense and should be approved. Despite all the rhetoric, NPR recently did a report that shows that firefighters are less likely to die on the job than the average US worker. Their compensation (salary and benefits) is way out line. The city is constantly struggling to balance the budget and I'm tired of pension obligations crowding out other services.
Dt March 06, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Concerned Citizen, thanks for being a voice of reason. Luckily, i think that the majority of Davis residents agree with you on this.
Sam March 06, 2013 at 07:19 AM
Dt. Just so there's no confusion, I am a firefighter but not in Davis. I do however live and am raising a family in Davis. My statements come from real world experience, and my concern for safety is genuine.
Roberto March 07, 2013 at 07:35 PM
The firefighter's union is costing the city more far than it can afford. Look what happened to Vallejo and Stockton. Davis is going down the same way. It's a powerful union and one that smaller towns can't fight but can't afford. The pay and the huge benefits are just not acceptable.


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