SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve a policy to maintain the current practice of requiring a minimum staffing level of four firefighters on fire engines and trucks in San Diego.
Councilwoman Marti Emerald, who heads the City Council's Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee, said today's vote was intended to "memorialize" state and federal firefighter staffing standards.
"We need to set, I believe, some standards going forward in these tough budget times," Emerald said.
"We want to send a message ... that one standard we don't want to abandon is the basic minimum four-member crew standard for firefighters," she said.
While there has not been a specific proposal to change the current required firefighter staffing levels, some officials have questioned whether moving to three-person crews would save money.
Councilman Carl DeMaio, who said he doesn't support a change now, said that "unfortunately, given the fact we have budget constraints, I want us to really be very thoughtful in exploring all options."
Fire officials told the City Council that having four-member fire fighting crews is critical to maintaining emergency response times and coordinating once on the scene.
"We are united in our position that four-person staffing is what is appropriate in our city," San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Javier Mainar testified.
Ultimately, the decision on firefighting staffing levels is up to the mayor.
Jay Goldstone, the city's chief operating officer, said Mayor Jerry Sanders is committed to the four-person firefighter standard.
A study on the issue, initiated by the mayor's office, is due sometime next month.
"We are going to have a report in six weeks that might put data on the table that will change our opinion," DeMaio said. "I doubt it will. But, absent any data to the contrary, I continue to support four-person crews."
DeMaio said, however, he believes the city needs to look at the cost of how firefighting staff are deployed.
The SDFRD responds to more than 100,000 calls a year, most of them are for medical emergencies.
The always-heated topic of whether to begin holiday shopping on Thanksgiving Day will be raised again Thursday, as many chain stores will open their doors around San Diego one day before the so-called "Black Friday."
Thanksgiving could see record-setting heat in San Diego County, according to forecasters, who also reported the smashing of temperature records across the county on Wednesday.
A charity run, meals for the needy, a long-running music festival and holiday shopping are on tap for Thursday's Thanksgiving Day in San Diego.
Your living room often becomes your work space if you work from home. If you have kids, the house can be even more chaotic. Well now, more women are able to take 10-15 steps out of their home and into their "she shed."
Around 60,000 passengers are expected to pass through San Diego's Lindbergh Field daily during the upcoming holiday weekend.
Thanksgiving meals were provided to the needy around San Diego County Wednesday, one day ahead of the holiday.
A pedestrian was killed Wednesday night in a hit-and-run crash in the Mountain View section of San Diego and police detained the driver, who fled the scene on foot after the vehicle struck a house.
U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft were searching in the Philippine Sea on Thursday for three sailors missing since a U.S. Navy aircraft crashed a day earlier.