ENCINITAS (CBS 8) - Firefighters are raising the alarm over proposed changes to emergency services in Encinitas.
Monday night, Encinitas city council members listened to firefighters' critical response to a plan that would close fire station 1 in downtown Encinitas and fire station 4 in Village Park. It would also 'cross-staff' medical and fire-rescue personnel and equipment, which would mean either an ambulance would be dispatched to a medical emergency or an engine would be dispatched to a fire/rescue calls, but not both.
The Encinitas Fire Association says the proposal will increase critical response time and limit first responders' ability to provide life-saving services.
"It sets us up for failure," Captain Jim Mickelson, president of the Encinitas Firefighters Association, told CBS News 8. "I genuinely believe it will be dangerous and public safety will suffer."
Civic activist Bob Bonde, president of the Encinitas Taxpayers Association, created the proposal. "The emergency services operation is broken," Bonde told the council and audience members Monday evening. "Lives are being lost... because of poor service."
But Encinitas' mayor said it would take "an enormous amount of public outcry to convince this type of a plan would be good for Encinitas." "Evidence suggests... people are quite satisfied with the level of public service they are receiving,:" Mayor Kristin Gaspar said.
The council did not take a vote Monday night on Bonde's plan.