Letters to the Editor

Petersens are uninformed

By October 11, 2012


After reading the numerous errors in your article on Craig and Sherry Petersen’s plan to rebuild our fire department, I realized that someone who had actual fire and EMS experience needed to set the record straight. I’ll try to cover all the errors, but might run out of room.

We staff, and operate, four pieces of apparatus every day (three engines and a truck). Not “12 fire apparatus to one ambulance.” There are unstaffed reserve engines that allow our volunteers to respond with us to a major incident, or provide a back-up apparatus if our primary engine has a mechanical malfunction.

Our station locations were already carefully selected to be centered among all the residential and commercial properties in their respective response zones.

“Smaller, more agile, ‘ambulance-type vehicles’” will not respond more quickly than our engines because we generally maintain speeds of no more than 10-15 mph over the speed limit, even when traveling Code 3 (lights and sirens) to maintain safety. Our engines can easily attain these speeds.

I’ve been a paramedic for 20 years, and was an adjunct professor at FLC teaching the basic EMT curriculum for eight years. Your statement that “Stroke and heart attack victims require little stabilization” violates current protocols and procedures designed by emergency physicians. Every one of our firefighter-paramedics is state certified and evaluated annually by a team of doctors, nurses and paramedics. While I respect your expertise at nutrition and health insurance, I feel confident that I know a little more about how to deliver life-saving medical care. Station 84 (not 87) is 30 years old and in dire need of replacement. The estimates for construction are $3 million (conservatively estimated at $300 per square foot), not $4 million.Your statement that “when you offer people 17 days of sick time most of them take it, whether or not they’re sick” strikes me as particularly insulting. We are continuously exposed to the ill and injured as part of our duties. It’s far too common for us to contract some of the same illnesses that we treat people for. I don’t believe eight sick days a year is too much, and the insinuation that we may abuse sick leave is uncalled for.

Our firefighters receive $500 per year for uniforms. A single set of our required uniform pants and shirts costs approximately $175. This does not include belt, jacket, hat, or T-shirts. Take a look at our neighboring similarly staffed districts and you’ll find our uniform allowance is on the low end. The iPads you complained about replace older, antiquated engine mounted computers for mapping and fire pre-plans. The iPads are approximately one-quarter the cost and provide far greater capabilities. Truckee is hiring part-time firefighter-EMTs (not paramedics) with no experience required. Our firefighter-paramedics each have an average of 13 years of medical experience and 10 of firefighting experience. I could go on, but have run out of room. I encourage all your readers to vote for Hidahl and Hartley.

Tom Anselmo
Cameron Park


Letter to the Editor

Discussion | 5 comments

  • John PetersonOctober 11, 2012 - 3:45 pm

    Tom, The Petersen's have many valid points, but most importantly, they care very much for their community. They are trying their best to make a contribution to their home town of 30 years. So rather than criticize their efforts, calm down, show some class, and try to represent yourself in a more professional manner. As a former Firefighter myself, I respect anyone like the Petersen's who care enough to do something that they believe will help their community. Finally Tom, I appreciate that you want to help your brother Firefighters, but these types of bad-natured statements make you and all of us look bad. Please knock it off.

  • Joanne BigsbieOctober 12, 2012 - 5:23 pm

    Mr. Peterson, I don't believe Mr. Anselmo's comments are negative in any manner, he is just stating some facts trying to clear up some misinformed citizens. I appreciate the fact that Mr. Anselmo is standing up for his fire department. And last I checked, there is a thing called freedom of speech. Your comment to Mr. Anselmo in reference to "please knock it off'" is uncalled for. Thanks for your time.

  • Pete VoyOctober 23, 2012 - 10:35 am

    Dear Captain Anselmo, Your letter to the editor of October 11 accused Sherry Petersen and Craig PetersEn who are running against the incumbent board members (endorsed by the your union/association) as being uninformed. Please go to your El Dorado Hills Fire Department web site and click on operations/apparatus drop downs Listed are 14 response units (trucks, medics, air units, etc.. Craig and Sherry Petersen are very well informed. They got their information off your department web site! They realize these are "back up units". The real question is why do you have all this equipment when your department has over $13 MILLION in unfunded pension and health care liabilities. I have attended board meetings and listened as you stood up to speak on behalf of the union. What concerns so many taxpayers and should concern your brothers in the service is what will we do after we exhaust our surplus as we spend millions more than our revenue and we have to cut pensions, wages, firefighters, and the level of service. I notice you live in Cameron Park so you cannot vote for Craig and Sherry PetersEn. But you may want to tell the union that a vote for the PetersEns may protect their jobs and our service levels in the long run, since your department's budget released on September 30, 2012 calls for the purchase of two more units totaling $1.7 MILLION! The firefighters are a great part of our community, we are lucky to have you...we want to keep you. A vote for Sherry and Craig PetersEn may be in your best interest. And thanks for all you do.

  • Dick CallahanOctober 23, 2012 - 5:14 pm

    Tom and all EDH Firefighters: our primary concern is all about our Pension and Health liabilities. The number is at least $13 million which is the number for the year before CalPERS released this past years performance of a 1% return versus a projected 7.5% - that means the liability will go higher. Stockton and CalPERS are being sued in an effort to reduce pensions. What we do not want to happen is a situation where we cannot pay off our liabilities with our reserves - that would mean your pensions are at risk. I have heard someone say that CalPERS will never go bankrupt. Of course that is true - that would be like saying GM, American Airlines, United Airlines, Kodak, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and so on will never go bankrupt and reduce pensions. Oh wait, they all went bankrupt and reduced pensions. Well, lets just ignore the problem, not put the pension and health risk on the balance sheet like every private company is required to do so that their employees can pressure companies to ensure they have sufficient funds to cover their liabilities. I am sure the State's taxpayer's will agree to pay the $400 million that CalPERS and CalSTRS are short - why, that is only 4 times the State's annual budget. Somehow, the problem will solve itself......

  • J MillerOctober 25, 2012 - 9:47 am

    Im voting for the Petersen's and hope anyone that reads Mr. Anselmo's letter will realize that our firefighter's have less actual structure fires than Folsom and yet receive more total compensation in $$ and benefits! I agree that they are nice guys but compensated and need a board that isn't in their pocket!



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