Santa Ana Disbands Fire Department in Bid to Rescue Budget

Santa Ana will continue receiving emergency services, however, it will be under a new model. After 128 years, the Santa Ana Fire Department will officially disband, transferring responsibility to the Orange County Fire Authority.

Facing a tremendous budgetary shortfall of $30 million, Santa Ana saw the opportunity to save as much as $10 million per year with the fire transfer. It’s a move that other cities are considering, including Costa Mesa, El Segundo and Monterey Park.

While many of the Santa Ana firefighters will continue to work in Santa Ana, much of the savings will come from consolidating administrative and support roles, and combining fleet maintenance.

The plan has received mixed support in the firefighter community. Some see the County positions as having greater job security. However, others view the reduced staffing levels as a mixed bag. The new system for emergency services will reduce the total number of on-duty officers in Santa Ana from 63 to 48. Those first responders who no longer work in Santa Ana will be shifted to other cities in the County.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The Santa Ana firehouse on Walnut Street is dotted with reminders of the department’s proud 128-year history.

A fire alarm telegraph system from 1924 takes up the back wall of the upstairs living room. Downstairs in the garage, the department’s first motorized pumping engine from 1921 is dwarfed by the modern truck, engine and ambulance.

Read the full article here.

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