We need a county fire department
Last updated 11/2/2007 at Noon
It is time for San Diego County to grow up and come in to the 21st century by establishing a county fire department. It is way past time for this. San Diego County has been getting by on the cheap for way too long and the county deserves to have fully staffed, permanent fire stations as well as air resources dedicated to and staffed by the fire department. The fire departments of Los Angeles, Orange and
Ventura counties protect all unincorporated areas in their counties as well as cities that choose to contract for fire protection services.
No department can fully protect all citizens from the ravages of a fire siege; however, San Diego would have a quicker response with a county-wide department that was managed in a more uniform manner and with more air resources. A county fire department will cost more to operate than the current patchwork of volunteer departments and districts, but a higher level of protection will be provided. The county may need to re-prioritize its current programs and allocate more money for fire protection or more taxes may be needed to support the higher level of protection.
It is interesting to note that Los Angeles County has two large fire departments along with several smaller departments. Between them, there are about 15 helicopters equipped for firefighting. LA County also contracts to have two Super Scooper aircraft for a few months in the fall and they also have a contract for a Sky Crane type helicopter. San Diego County has, what, three helicopters available for firefighting? (By the way, what happened to the helicopter that
is supposed to be assigned to Fallbrook?) LA County is not dependent
on state and federal resources to make an air attack. They own their own air force and can make an immediate attack on the head of the fires. It is much more populous than San Diego County but San Diego has a much larger wildland fire problem.
San Diego needs to address this issue in a very serious way, unlike the way they have addressed it in the past.
Mike Reardon, Captain
Los Angeles County Fire Department