Detailed department-by-department budget documents available on the City of Alameda’s website indicate that the Alameda Fire Department was budgeting and planning for eight emergency water rescue responses in Fiscal Year 2010/11 and ten in Fiscal Year 2011/12.
The Alameda Fire Department has come under fire itself this past week, for the death of Raymond Zack, who committed suicide by prolonged self-exposure in the cold Bay waters off of Crown Beach in Alameda. Several Alameda police officers and firefighters watched for over an hour as Zack succumbed, but not one entered the water to talk to him or prevent him from killing himself.
The fire department has blamed funding cuts for the lack of firefighters certified in land-based water rescue, however, the same March 16th, 2009 memo that Interim Fire Chief Mike D’Orazi cited, goes on to say that funding had been restored, and certification was to begin again in “30 to 45 days.” Action Alameda News has asked Marie Gilmore to explain why there have been no certifications in the past two years, since that March 2009 memo, and we await a response.
In the meantime, Action Alameda News has identified a detailed budget document on the City’s website, http://www.cityofalamedaca.gov/getdoc.cfm?id=243 that indicates that the Fire Department was planning and budgeting for water rescue responses this year and next year, and had set a target of eight responses in the current year as a measurable performance metric. The notation is under the “FIRE – Emergency Services” detail section of the budget document, and the excerpt is reproduced below.