Restructuring Encinitas Fire Department not a popular idea

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ENCINITAS, Calif. — The Encinitas City Council is considering a plan that will shut down two of the city’s six fire stations and change the way firefighters respond to medical emergencies.

The idea was first brought up in April of last year by a group of residents.

The city’s fire chief will address the plan during a city council meeting Monday night.

“We feel that shutting down one and especially two stations would have a very negative impact on providing the level of public service that we do currently,” said Mike Diagle, Encinitas’ Fire Chief.

The proposal also calls for “cross staffing,” which forces firefighters to respond to medical emergencies in ambulances leaving their fire engines behind unattended at fire stations.

“The problem is that the minute you take firefighters off the engine and put them on transport ambulance, that engine is going to be at the station unmanned and unavailable to respond,” said Chief Diagle.

Right now, firefighters respond to medical emergencies in their engines and are often the first ones on scene to render life-saving care. An ambulance then transports the patients to a hospital.

Chief Diagle says if his firefighters have to provide transportation to a medical facility, they and their engines would be unavailable to respond to emergencies for up to 60 minutes.

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