The Roseville City Council on Wednesday approved a motion that would reduce the number of firefighters on each shift.
Starting within the next six months, three firefighters will staff the city's two ladder trucks per shift instead of four. Two "floater" shifts will be available to backfill for absences due to vacation, illnesses and other contingencies, which formerly were covered by overtime shifts, city spokeswoman Megan MacPherson said.
The Roseville Fire Department will not cut the number of firefighters employed, but instead will reduce the amount of overtime fees the city will incur, MacPherson said.
The move aims to remedy the $2 million deficit the city faced last year, MacPherson said. The city is estimated to save between $515,000 and $783,000 in overtime costs per year with the staffing change.
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Roseville resident and former firefighter Kent Freeman spoke against the decision at the council meeting.
"I can tell you with my fire service background that when you drop a truck company to three, you've reduced the amount of people in the interior firefight to two – the two on the original engine," Freeman said.
"The fact of the matter is that we don't put fires out with fire trucks or fire engines, we put them out with people, and when people are lost inside a burning structure, we find those people with people. Those people are firefighters."
MacPherson, however, said, “Every department has done some cutting and adjusting, so we’ve been at this for a long time. It’s something that is done in other jurisdictions as well, and even with this change we will still have the highest staffing levels in South Placer.”
Roseville Fire Chief Rick Bartee spoke in favor of the addendum at the council meeting, saying the changes were easy to make. He said it is not uncommon for fire departments to staff three firefighters on ladder trucks, and cities in the area like Folsom, Rocklin and Lincoln follow the same procedure.