While many Bay Area fire departments are adding resources to enhance their jurisdictions overall safety; effective today the City of Palo Alto will be protected by fewer firefighters and reduced resources than yesterday. Today will mark the third major reduction in department personnel in the past five years and is being done in the name of “efficiency.” The Fire Chief is using national minimum standards for emergency response times as means to justify this reduction in available emergency resources. With response times expected to suffer greatly, it will require firefighters to arrive late to emergencies approximately 500 additional times before an appreciable reduction in service is recognized, or acknowledged, by the Chief.
Palo Alto Firefighters will continue to do everything in their power to protect you, your family and the community. We recently added active shooter to our list of all risk responsibilities; along with the usual, fire, technical rescue, EMS, hazmat, water rescue, automobile extrication, aircraft rescue, life safety inspections, public education, and on and on. This is everything you count on us for. Our Chief believes we can provide all of that with less people and less training time. We believe we became inefficient a long time ago and should be adding resources to become efficient.
A city and its fire department shouldn’t be profit driven. It should be safety driven. It should focus on the realities of delivering excellent service all the time, not just showing up on time (most of the time).