Sounds Like San Diego FD has both hands tied behind its back.
Sounds Like San Diego FD has both hands tied behind its back.
Wow...I am truly amazed that a Fire Chief would stick his neck out to point out these serious problems. You wouldnt see that around these parts...Just a lot of excuses.
The truth needs to be told sir. The public needs to know that cost cutting, budget cutting, downsizing...etc., is endangering everyone's well being. Your story is just the tip of the iceberg.Quote:
"I feel bad about saying this because there are going to be people that probably aren't happy about it, but it is the truth," Bowman said during a meeting with The San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board, attended by reporters and editors from the newsroom.
Don't feel bad Chief....tell it like it is! The message needs to be heard.
Note that the Deputy City Manager is Lamont Ewell. No question in my mind that Chief Bowman has a good man at his side with Chief Ewell. Lamont has a Fire Service background, including Deputy Chief in Prince Georges County, Md. (where I had the pleasure of knowing and working with him) and Fire Chief in Oakland Ca. prior to going to San Diego. At any rate, a Fire Chief who stands up and speaks his mind to those that he is sworn to protect is indeed rare today. The late Chief Klinger of Los Angeles County would be proud of Chief Bowman, after all, Chief Klinger told it like it was, to both Firefighters and Politicians. Stay Safe....
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Gov. Gray Davis on Wednesday tapped officials
from his lame duck administration, along with Democratic state
lawmakers, to a panel that will review the Southern California
Former Republican state Sen. Bill Campbell of Hacienda Heights
will chair the commission being set up with Gov.-elect Arnold
From his administration, Davis named Rick Martinez of the Office
of Homeland Security; Andrea Tuttle, director of the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection; and Kim Zagaris of the
Governor's Office of Emergency Services.
He also named Democratic Sens. Dede Alpert of Coronado, and Nell
Soto of Pomona, and Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe of San Diego.
Others include the chairs of the boards of supervisors in Los
Angeles County, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke; San Bernardino County,
Dennis Hansberger; San Diego County, Greg Cox; Ventura County, Judy
Mikels; and mayors Dick Murphy of San Diego and Judith Valles of
San Diego Fire Chief Jeff Bowman, retired state fire marshal Ron
Coleman and Chip Prather of the California Emergency Council were
also named, as were Bob Wolf and Jeff Sedivec of the California
State Firefighters' Association, and Bill Bamattre of the
California Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association.
Jerry Williams will represent the U.S. Forest Service and Larry
Hamilton the federal Department of Interior. A representative of
the Southern California Tribal Chairmen's Council is still to be
The commission, which Davis announced Monday, is charged with
reviewing how the state responded to the fires, and making
recommendations within 120 days for thwarting future fires.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
you know this is fascinating but sad, isnt it ? Again discusssions were held, meetings scheduekd, things "duly dcoumented" and it takes a HUGE fire to swing the pendulum back the other way .........to say "My , maybe we should look closer at these things" ...........WELL DUH !!!! I hope that this upstanding Chief can get some solutions for his dpeartment and still keep his job ....
I would love to see a county of San Diego fire dept. emerge from the ashes of this latest disaster. The county is currently made up of several small departments, each with it's own overhead leading to a large duplication of effort. Unfortunately the cities governing these departments do not want to give up their control and neither do the fire chiefs in charge. With a consolidated county dept., the money saved in the reduction of the overhead alone could help pay for more line employees and better equipment. The benefits of common training, operations, equipment and resources would help immensley durring the next disaster whenever it may come. I am a firefighter in San Diego county and I know there are many more firefighters in this county that share my opinion on this issue.
Engineer, National City Fire Dept.
Now there something you don't see everyday. I was good to see how he balanced his facts about the state of the department by saying in the case of this fire it probably wouldn't have made much of a difference. In essence he is pointing the light and saying "we have problems", but not subjecting himself to later critcism by saying "if we had these improvements, we could have stopped this fire".
It will be interesting to see what the outcome, if any, is.
What's unfortunate about all of this is that much of the problems with staffing and equipment in San Diego, and all over California for that matter, are the direct result of the public. It was their choice to approve Proposition 13 in 1977, which more than any politician has decimated the fire service in California.Quote:
Originally posted by NJFFSA16
The truth needs to be told sir. The public needs to know that cost cutting, budget cutting, downsizing...etc., is endangering everyone's well being. Your story is just the tip of the iceberg.
Don't feel bad Chief....tell it like it is! The message needs to be heard.
While it's nice to see a chief who is telling the public the problems with his department, don't hold your breath that things will change. After all, the current situation is largely the result of the public's choices.
Here is the real deal...Chief Bowman retired fromthe City
of Anaheim Fire Dept. He was hired at San Diego and made
it clear to them he would do what he can to fix the dept.
BUT he is retired and if the BS got too thick, he could just
leave at any time.
As for a future County of San Diego FD, keep wishing, maybe
On a side note, can anyone tell me where this 12year max life limit is documented? I'd love to be able to show that to my town while we are working on replacing a 1963 apparatus.Quote:
41 percent of the department's vehicles are 12 years old, the maximum recommended life for front-line fire vehicles.
anybody got any word on this ? I know they were getting a helicopter , right ?
I doubt anything will come of this case. Cities enjoy pretty strong immunity protection. But considering that San Diego spends millions of dollars on the Chargers, there might be some merit in the case for municipal priorities.
Allstate Seeking Redress in S.D. Fire
By Tony Perry
Times Staff Writer
July 24, 2004
Bungling by fire and police agencies here allowed last October's Cedar fire to spread "into a wildfire of epic proportion," one of the largest insurance companies in the state has charged in a claim filed against three public agencies.
Allstate Corp., which expects to pay out between $290 million and $330 million to policyholders as a result of last fall's fires, is demanding that the city and county of San Diego as well as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection help it cover the costs because it says they did an incompetent job of fighting the most costly of the blazes, the Cedar fire.
The agencies have rejected the claim, which accuses emergency officials of "gross malfeasance" in allowing the fires to blacken 300,000 acres across San Diego County's backcountry and destroy 2,300 homes. Officials said a state law provides governments virtual blanket immunity to lawsuits arising from firefighting efforts.
Candysse Miller, executive director of the Insurance Information Network of California, a trade group for insurance companies, said that San Diego was the only city or county to face such a claim and that Allstate was the only company to file such a claim.
The October wildfires struck parts of San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Even if Allstate does not pursue its claim in court, she added, the insurance giant is "sending a message" that could result in future lawsuits if San Diego officials fail to bolster their fire protection efforts.
Allstate spokesman Bill Mellander said no decision had been made by the company on whether to file a lawsuit. The claim filed this week was the first step required before a lawsuit can be filed.
"In the face of possible negligence that may have caused damage to our policyholders, we are serving notice that gives us the time and ability to weigh all our possible options," Mellander said.
The government response in the early hours of the Cedar fire has been a source of debate. Fire officials have said that they were hampered by poor communications and a lack of resources and that some of their early tactical decisions did little to slow the fire's spread.
Critics say San Diego has ignored numerous warnings over the last 20 years that its fire agencies were woefully understaffed and could not respond effectively to a major brush fire.
Though the problems stated in Allstate's claim — lack of helicopters and aerial tankers, radio foul-ups and poor coordination — have been documented by the agencies in their "after-action" reports, the insurance company's language is some of the toughest that has been applied to the firefighting effort.
Fire officials, in the early stages of the fire, showed "a complete disregard" for calls from panic-stricken homeowners, resulting in a "lack of coordination by governmental officials responsible for organizing and dispatching appropriate firefighting efforts," the insurance company charged.
In December, a report by the San Diego Fire Department said the agency was hampered by a lack of manpower, equipment and training and had problems with communication and coordination in fighting the Cedar fire, which destroyed homes in two of the city's pricier neighborhoods, Tierrasanta and Scripps Ranch.
In March, a task force assembled by the forestry department reached a similar conclusion about all the agencies that fought the fires in the county.
San Diego County is the only large county in the state without a countywide fire department. And the city of San Diego has one of the lowest number of firefighters of any large city in the nation.
Historically, San Diego County officials and residents have been resistant to approving increased taxes for fire protection. In fact, four of seven fire-protection measures on the March ballot failed to win passage, just four months after the Cedar blaze and nearby Paradise fire.
Allstate's claims were rejected by the San Diego City Council, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and the state's Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board on behalf of the forestry department.
In rejecting the claim, the state board seemed to invite a lawsuit. The claim "raises complex issues of fact and laws that should be resolved through legal action," the board stated.
"The next move is Allstate's," said Bruce Crane, staff attorney for the forestry department.
Attorneys for the public agencies said Allstate would have little chance of overcoming the state law giving government agencies immunity against firefighting claims.
Nate Northrup, chief deputy counsel for San Diego County, said that state legislators, in adopting the immunity law, realized that government has its limits.
"They realize that when governmental officials have to make difficult decisions about limited resources, public entities cannot always guarantee they can do everything we'd like to do," he said.
Some took issue with what they considered the harsh, accusatory tone of Allstate's claim.
"The insurance companies have their own agendas: to take the facts and shape them in ways that benefit their bottom line," said Councilman Michael Zucchet, a former lobbyist for the San Diego firefighters union.
A private attorney in San Diego who is suing Allstate for allegedly underinsuring homeowners seeking payment for losses in the Cedar fire described the company's claims as "ludicrous."
"Basically what they're saying is that 'yes, we underinsured our policyholders, but for those pitiful claims we've paid, we want the taxpayers to pick up the bill,' " said attorney Harvey Levine, who in 1998 represented policyholders in a class-action suit in which Allstate paid $120 million. "This is arrogance at its worst."
Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times
Deja Vu all over again. In 1992 and 1993 while the foundations of the Oakland Hills fire were still smouldering the City was intent on reducing fire protection .
At that time Chief Euwell did a good job of speaking to the need for adequate staffing . Ultimately we were forced to civilainize our fire prevention program and eliminate a Truck company for a time(until a serious fire prompted the community to force a reopening).
It's a shame that when professional firefighters speak out the politicians call us self serving .
At the local level we all have to be involved in the political process and make our voices heard, and support candidates that aare symathetic to our issues.
- Helicopter- I doubt it.
- The SD area in general needs to consolidate
their "little kingdom" fire departments into
one county. A guess that could come with a
6+ million price tag to the county and you
can guess what the Supervisors said.
(Considering that they are going to get
sued for far more is interesting)
- SD City- I dont know much about them.
I keeping hearing they "have problems"
but I don see it as being the line staff's
fault. Chief Bowman is a smart and sharp
man. He led Anaheim (ISO Class 1) and
I would like to see SD City really flourish
and come out strong soon. Time will tell.