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Alameda Firefighters Address Rotating Fire Station Closures



On January 26, 2009, the Alameda Fire Department will no longer provide enough on-duty firefighters / paramedics to work on all of the city’s fire apparatus and ambulances. Whenever firefighters are off (due to earned leave, injury / illness or training) and overtime is needed, the department will simply place a fire truck or ambulance out of service, depending on how many people are off that day. How often will this occur? Nearly daily!

The current near-daily use of overtime is caused by the following factors:

    9 frozen / unfunded positions
    5 long-term injuries
    3 budgeted, yet unfilled vacancies

You may have seen on local blogs and newspapers that earned leave (vacation) and sick leave are the primary cause, but please understand this is just a small part.

The Fire Department had originally attempted to implement this “brown-out” of a fire company July 1, 2008. Due, in part, to public outcry, the City was able to partially fund the overtime budget and delay the brown-out until now. If the brown-out policy had been in place July 1, a closure of a fire company or ambulance would have occurred on all but six days (September 7, 9, December 10, 15, 17, January 7). This means that on 188 out of the last 194 days (through January 10, 2009), the Fire Department would have had a company out of service.

All recent Alameda Fire Department deployment studies (completed by outside organizations) indicate the minimum safe level of deployment is 27 firefighters staffing five fire engines, two ladder trucks and three ambulances. Any less dramatically hinders the ability of the firefighters to operative safely and efficiently. One report from City Gate, completed in September, 2004 (at a cost of $50,000 to the tax payers) indicated this when the annual call volume was at 5,704. Since then, the call volume has hovered at or near 6,000 for the last three years. Another deployment study completed in July, 2008 by the IAFF indicates the need for 34 on-duty firefighters.

The Alameda Fire Department needs all of it’s 111 sworn positions filled. A bare minimum of 27 on-duty firefighters at the stations are needed to keep the citizens, visitors and firefighters free of harm.

Please call the City Manager or City Council members and urge them to reverse their decision. Their contact information can be found online at

Alameda Firefighters Association

2 comments to Alameda Firefighters Address Rotating Fire Station Closures

  • john

    Why not privatise the ambulance service , that will take care of the majority of the fire dept work and concentrate on the real job description of a fire fighter ……
    City like Vallejo went bankrupt because of pork belly benefit to the fire fighter.
    Eliminate overtime implimentation , for every one of us out here who have been working for an employer , you get overtime for the time you actually work , firefighter get pay full day overtime regardless how many minutes they actually worked ….. odd but true. They claim not to have time with their family but then why do they almost all have a second job on the side when they are supposed to be paid to rest …..GREED . next why some of them are provide with City vehicle when they leave too far for a timely emergency response.

  • The firefighters addressed the privatization question last Saturday at an Alameda Public Affairs forum on the City’s budget crisis. You can get a CD of the event from APAF:

    As for overtime, the firefighters say they don’t want the overtime:

    and that the reason there is so much overtime is that the City has kept full-time positions un-funded and un-filled, forcing the firefighters to work overtime. I’ve heard that the break-even point between paying overtime versus full-funding the positions is somewhere above 30 firefighters on staff each day, whereas before the brownouts, the number was 27, and this necessitated overtime because positions were un-funded.

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