Posted: Jul 7, 2012 5:51 PM by Hope Hanselman, KSBY News
Updated: Jul 9, 2012 8:16 AM
Those living in the Five Cities may soon see faster responses from fire crews.
The Five Cities Fire Authority won a federal grant last week that will pay for six new employees. The SAFER grant is worth $1.18 million and will pay the salary and benefits for those firefighters.
Fire Chief Joel Aranez says they need additional staff because their response times are slower than the national standard.
"On a lot of the calls that we go on, there isn't enough personnel," Paul Quinlan, captain, said.
He says he's often unable to supervise his crew on emergency calls, because he is busy helping get work done.
Adding another crew member, he says, will help everyone focus on their specific jobs.
Since Five Cities Fire Authority was created, there have been 46 working structure fires, but fire fighters haven't been able to reach any of them in the standard response time of nine minutes.
But now, with the help of the grant, six new firefighters will provide staffing for two positions. It will increase on-hand staff from eight employees a day to 10.
"This will allow us to get more firefighters in a shorter period of time so we can make entry sooner," Aranez said.
Aranez is now in the process of hiring for those positions. The Fire Authority has 90 days to fill them before money starts coming in. However, the money will expire after two years. Then, it's up to the authority to come up with some $600,000 a year to keep those employees, or they'll be terminated.
The Fire Authority plans to put one engineer position at the Oceano station and one firefighter in Arroyo Grande.
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