Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 10/06/2012 06:25:32 PM PDT
Catch up: Read previous coverage relating to the city’s financial crisis in our San Bernardino section
SAN BERNARDINO – Firetrucks and engines have begun changing over to three-person crews, the most noticeable change among several approved Monday, but Interim Fire Chief Paul Drasil says residents shouldn’t fear a change in service levels.
“They shouldn’t see an overt change,” Drasil said. “It’s going to be busier for our firefighters. We’ve lost our fourth person on truck companies. There’s so much to be done that with (only) three (people), it just takes a little longer.”
Some of the cuts the City Council approved before touching the Fire Department – a politically charged decision – still haven’t taken effect, which Acting Assistant City Manager Gwendolyn Waters has attributed to various logistical challenges.
But the estimated $2.9 million a year in cuts to fire services will soon be fully implemented, Drasil said.
The drop from four people on fire vehicles to three, along with the elimination of a two-person paramedic squad, drew criticism from the fire union and some council members when Drasil suggested it in response to the interim city manager’s order for all departments to develop a plan to cut 30percent of their expenses as the city works toward eliminating a $45.8million deficit.
Firefighters are still concerned the cuts will endanger firefighters and residents, said union President Scott Moss.
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