FIREHOUSE INTERVIEW: FIRE CHIEF JOANNE HAYES-WHITE San Francisco, CA, Fire Department

Firehouse: The San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) is down about 300 firefighters. Is there a plan for the future to hire new firefighters and promote EMTs? Hayes-White: In the past few years, we have been unable to match retirements with new hires...


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All of this could not be accomplished without a solid working relationship with our five-member Fire Commission, our partners in labor and with the executive and legislative branches of government. My approach has always been one of open, honest and direct communication and a team-oriented approach. This has served me well in my nearly nine years as chief of department.

 

Firehouse: Within the past two years, the department has provided fire protection for the Presidio, former federal military location near the Golden Gate Bridge. With this area and Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay, will the demand for service keep increasing?

Hayes-White: The San Francisco Fire Department has taken on greater responsibility and an increased call volume with the protection of Treasure Island and Presidio. As such, we have staffed up in both locations to provide medical and fire service into both areas which experience heavy tourist activity.

 

Firehouse: With the budgets the way they are and low manpower, is the department still able to deploy resources to adjoining, nearby or long-distance mutual aid areas?

Hayes-White: The San Francisco Fire Department remains committed to being an integral part of the State of California’s Master Mutual Aid Plan and assisting our neighbors when in need. While our first priority is to protect the residents of and visitors to San Francisco and ensure appropriate staffing, we have approximately 25% of members who are wildland trained and ready for deployment, in addition to five rigs dedicated for mutual aid deployment. n

 

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