Santa Ana’s budget crisis has its fire departments and fire stations in danger, as they fight to close a deficit at high as $30 million next year. Closing or browning-out fire stations are very real possibilities, and there is even some talk of outsourcing the city’s fire services entirely.

While many of the city’s unions and departments have offered various concessions to reduce their budgetary burden, city officials say the fire department has been as accommodating. As a result, the 10 fire stations are facing cuts or eliminations.

Some of the reforms that could be instituted is a staffing procedure based upon historical call numbers by day and time. This could allow stations to be closed at night when calls are the fewest. This plan, however, has already drawn the criticism of the fire chief, who says that emergencies can never be truly predicted and the city needs to be prepared for any eventuality at any time.

From the Voice of the OC:

Santa Ana officials are now openly acknowledging that deep cuts to public safety are needed to close a budget deficit that could rise as high as $30 million in the next fiscal year.

And in its comprehensive report issued in September, Management Partners Inc., the city’s contract budget analyst, specifically cited the need to reform the Santa Ana Fire Department’s staffing policies. The report went so far as to say that some fire stations could be temporarily closed at night when call volume goes down.

“Management Partners believes that consideration should be given to eliminating the current fixed staffing model,” the report says.

Read the full article here.