Don’t turn our fire department into ‘average’


I’m going to need some clarification on the Petersens plans to bring “smaller, more agile, ‘ambulance-like vehicles’” to El Dorado Hills. If their plan is to augment our current firefighter-paramedics responding to emergencies in fire engines, then I’m all for it. However, seeing as they plan on reducing our fire department budget, I don’t see how this is possible. It seems that their likely approach is to replace fire engines, already staffed with firefighter-paramedics, with a so-called “quick response” vehicle, coupled with “average” paramedics. If this is the plan, then I have one question for them: Are you nuts?!

If we learned anything from the June disaster drill in the Lakehills area of El Dorado Hills, it’s that fires are a real and substantial threat to our lives and property. Yes, there are more frequent calls for medical assistance than calls for fires, but that does not mean that you reduce the level of protection that you already have! You make sure that what you do have is able to handle all threats. In my experiences with the El Dorado Hills Fire Department, they respond rapidly and with the ability to handle every emergency — fires, medical aids, vehicle accidents, etc.

I’ve had the pleasure to live in a couple of the communities that you cite as “comparator” departments — namely Poway and Granite Bay. I could care less about ISO, number of calls, etc.  I’m sure that the men and women in those departments are dedicated professionals, but frankly, they don’t hold a candle to our firefighters. What I know is that I have never experienced a department so positively imbedded in the community in which they serve as the El Dorado Hills Fire Department. Not only are they experts in emergency medicine and fire suppression, but they are consummate professionals and good neighbors.

I cannot in good conscience vote for someone who wants to take our outstanding public safety services and make them “average.” I’ll instead be voting for those that helped make this department what it is today: Jim Hartley and John Hidahl.

Gwenda York
El Dorado Hills

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Posted by on Oct 11 2012.
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2 Comments for “Don’t turn our fire department into ‘average’”

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  1. an outsider looking in(I live in south Placer County), i just wanted to say that in no way can your fire department in EDH bee compared to the one in Granite Bay. The dept here, which the Petersens use as a comparison model is in no way, shape or form what want your local dept to beccome. In the last 5 years we have had stations closed, engine companies browned out and positions lost. Today South Placer Fire operatess part-time engine companies. This is not amodelof success, we now have to rely on engine companies and ambulances from surrounding departments to pick up our slack, which, results in longer response times and much poorer customer servicE. Thesetwo fire entities are sovastly different that it really does the voters a mis-service to compare them. As a resident served by the spfd i do not wishfor anyone else to have the issues we have. Did anyone mention that its soo bad at South Placer that they have had CAL FIRE look into taking over? I know i am removed from the situation, but,i would hate to see people make their votingday decisions made on mis-information. In my opinion, for what its worth, stay with the fire department you have, downsizing means poorercustomer service, and as the tax-payers paying for that service you should get your money’s worth.

  2. You missed the point – we in EDH are paying twice as much for less service. There is not mis-information in pure budget numbers. Our budget is $15.1 million for 4 stations – yours is $6.88 million for 5 stations. I do agree with your last sentence – we should get our money’s worth which is why we need a change in Board members.

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