“(Butte County) asked us to pay them to keep their station open – obviously, that’s not something we can do. It certainly is a step in an uncomfortable direction … but we’ll continue to provide services for our residents and back them up,” explained Chico City Councilmember Randall Stone.
It will require the City to do exactly what they’ve been tasked with doing for years – address fire suppression and coordinate with the hospitals and ambulance services to address medical needs. The average cost for a Chico Firefighter is about $168,000 per year. On each engine there are 4 firefighters ($672,000 per year in personnel). On each truck there are 5 firefighters ($840,000 per year in personnel). The average salary in California for a paramedic/EMT is $47,000 per year. There are two paramedic/EMTs per ambulance ($94,000 per year in personnel, not fully loaded cost). When a fire truck responds to a medical that can be addressed by an ambulance, the fire truck is not available to respond to fires and is out of the station – leaving another section of the station’s response area further away and with a much larger response time. If the City is looking to enhance response times, coordinating with medical providers solves this issue. This is the way most other communities in California operate their fire stations – including the authors of the most recent Standards of Coverage report.
Action News Now report on County Fire Station Closures