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Immediate attention needed

Original post made by Ingrid SHU on May 23, 2012

Dear college terrace neighbors,
Are you aware that the upcoming budget cuts would result is stopping the fire engine service to our area! Engine no. 2 is no longer able to save us.
Learn more about this issue, come to our booth to sign the petition.
We will be at the corner of Stanford Ave. and Hanover Street
from 7:50 am - 8:10 am Thursday 5/24.
Save Hanover street fire engine service!

If you are interested in finding more, and you cannot come to sign
the petition, please send your name, home address and phone contact
to tungtung238@gmail.com

Comments (21)

Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on May 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Alarmist and paranoid. College Terrace is not at risk, if station # 2 is diminished. Firefighters should fight fires, not make homes calls over an asthma attack. EMTs should answer house health calls, minus the big firetruck and full crew. PAFD is, once again, on a campaign to support its union shakedown. The union knows that frightening women/mothers is an effective propaganda device. My hope is that women will become stronger than this, but that is still a ways off, apparently.

Don't sign the petition.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm

College Terrace does not need Fire Station 2 on Hanover Street; you have Fire station 6 on the other side of your community on the Stanford campus to cover you. You will also have excellent backup from Fire station 5 on Arastradero Road.

Fire stations 5 and 6 will also be able to cover the Hills along with Fire station 8 in the Summer.

The entire area of South Palo Alto from Oregon Expressway to San Antonio Road and East of Alma is covered by only one fire station, Fire station No. 4 on Middlefield. Why should the entire City of Palo Alto pay to cover College Terrace with two fire stations?

Hanover Street Fire station 2 is unnecessary and a waste of money. The Paramedics can be easily relocated to another fire station in Palo Alto. They should be more centrally located anyway.


Posted by y'all be careful, ja, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 23, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Y'all let me know how this works out a couple years after the station closes.

I genuinely pray the only thing you notice is higher fire insurance rates.

Let's check back on those a couple years from now.


Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on May 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm

"I genuinely pray the only thing you notice is higher fire insurance rates."

More union shakedown action. Ignore it.


Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on May 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm

"Why should the entire City of Palo Alto pay to cover College Terrace with two fire stations?
"

It shouldn't. I live in College Terrace, and all we need is firefighters to respond to fires, as they (very rarely) occur. Palo Alto needs to restructure the fire fighting response. The most important parameter is to STOP sending out full fire crews for health issues...that is an EMT issue, not a firefighter issue. Firefighters should be first responders on one principle thing: Fires. Secondarily, natural disasers.

Mutual aid agreements can take care of fighting fires. Firefighters deserve respet for whaty are intended to do, fighting fires. However, they should leave first aid and health emergencies to the EMTs. We should refuse to sign a contract with a union shakedown, that puts the firefighters where they don't belong.

Ladies, when you see those nice young, buff firefighters, in their pressed uniforms, with Hollywood smiles, talking nice about saving your kids...RUN THE OTHER WAY! It is another union shakedown.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on May 23, 2012 at 10:48 pm

The reason fire fighters answer calls for the paramedics first is because they are closer. All fire fighters are trained EMTs. Also, the City of Palo Alto must have 29 fire fighters on call at all times to comply with Union contracts They don't have anything to do, so why not have them help out the paramedics?


Posted by curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North
on May 24, 2012 at 10:12 am

Here's the solution. Take charge. Next time you call the paramedics, tell the dispatcher you will accept only 2 responders, and if they can't live with that, don't send anybody.


Posted by Andrea , a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 24, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Wow- for such an educated area people around here just don't seem to get it. For one fire crews work as a TEAM. Just because a call out may sound like just an asthma attack you never know how serious it could be. A car accident can require an entire crew to extricate a victim and provide medical care etc. Do you all realize how many companies are in the area of station 2 and that one fire crew could not handle a large blaze in one of those facilities? I guarantee that response time will be slowed and people are then going to blame the FD for not getting there in time to save dad from his heart attack etc and the FD is just going to shake their head and say- didnt we tell you all this long ago??? Spend one day on a ride along with these amazing, hard working folks and maybe you will learn just what they do do and give them the respect they truly deserve. All this union talk is such garbage. These nice well groomed guys are clean cut and looking as they should for the job they do. Most have families of their own and they are just friendly and approachable as they should be! Telling women to run the other way is just plain stupid. IF youve noticed that when they do get a call and they are not needed they will stabilize the patient and transport them and the fire crew will leave. Its not like they hang out there for hours doing nothing. This town is so ungrateful for what we have and I think sadly you all need to see what it would be like without them before you might get some appreciation. This topic makes me so mad and frustrated and so happy I am leaving PA! BUT I will always support the FD here! What they do in one day is ten times more important then what most people in their cubicles do - ever! And you complain its just a health call and blah blah..well when its YOUR kid or YOUR elderly mother you may think differently!


Posted by Resident, a resident of Community Center
on May 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

More union propaganda. We have way more union ff's than needed in PA and they are paid about three times the market rate. Every citizen should be encouraging the city mgmt to restructure the pafd to make the organization efficient and cost effective. No more sending two trucks and five employees when 1-2 are sufficient.

All city employees (including ff's) should be switched to 401k's and not receive any retirement benefits till they are 65. This means ff's will need to find other employment after they are no longer on the government dole as ff's.

We have an unsustainable retirement system for government union employees. Needs to change NOW. Ignore the union propaganda!


Posted by Fred Balin, a resident of College Terrace
on May 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Ingrid is right to be concerned.

And the impacts go way beyond College Terrace. As I wrote in one of two posts in the thread on proposed public safety cuts, Engine 2's first response areas include:

- all areas West of El Camino from College Terrace and Research Park up through Stanford housing and Nixon School to Junipero Serra ... and Page Mill up to Skyline and into the Foothills outside of the summer months when Station 8 is not staffed

- west of El Camino for Evergreen Park and the California Avenue business district areas down to Lambert and then into Ventura, and

- across the tracks in Professorville and Midtown.

We now also estimate Station 2 to be closed for 9 months, and are awaiting confirmation from a city that has not been very forthcoming on this entire matter to date.

Web Link

Resident of Charleston Garden: You are correct that engines are often closer to emergency medical calls. There are two concurrent ambulances available in town, but there is also a paramedic on each of the 6 engines ready 24/7/365. As for the minimum shift staffing of 29 personal, that was taken out in last fall's contract.

Andrea: Your sentiment and facts are in the right place; hang in there and filter out the noise.


Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on May 28, 2012 at 10:14 am

The consultant study from last year recommended:

" merging of Station 2 and Station 5 into a new station near the intersection of Arastradero Road and Hillview Avenue; and staffing Station 8 in the foothills only during "high fire" days, rather than throughout the summer."

It also recommended doing away with the union demand of 29 ff as a minimum staffing.

Combining two stations (2 and 5) into one at the corner of Hillview and Arastradero (near the old Roche site) makes complete sense to me. It would allow for less expensive staffing, without giving up much in terms of coverage. There is no need to be alarmist about this common sensical proposal. The union will continue to spread fear, but we should not buy into it.

Don't sign the petition.


Posted by Fred Balin, a resident of College Terrace
on May 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I am dubious about how common is the sense throughout the community in favor of these two recommendations from last year's city-contracted Fire Services and Utilization Study.

But we can leave that matter aside for now, for neither the merger of Stations 2 and 5 nor reducing staffing at Station 8 in the Foothills is part of the proposed 2012-2013 fiscal year budget.

But another potentially controversial recommendation is, and it has jumped the gun.
#26: "When Stations 2 and 5 are merged, eliminate one engine "

The mater of shutting down an engine company is a vital policy question that is proceeding under a cloak of darkness through the fast-moving budget process.

No related information disseminated without research and prodding from residents, no community outreach, no public discussion.

Those are definitely calls for alarm, which is why I have immersed myself in this matter as much as I am able over the past few weeks, spreading the word, and preparing an information document to be disseminated in the coming days.


Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on May 28, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Condensing two stations into one, at an optimal spot, should result in the elimination of redundant engines.

The FF union is stirring the pot, and making citizens nervous. Ignore the union, and use common sense.


Posted by y'all be careful, ja, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 28, 2012 at 1:39 pm

John,

Not union propaganda. Never been in a union, not a fireman. Full disclosure, my late father was, but that is no longer an issue, obviously.

re "they are paid about three times the market rate."

Market rate would be what ff's are paid in this market. If PA ff's are paid 3x what MP, RWC, MV and Sunnyvale are paid, then heck yeah, they're over paid.

Or are you comparing to rates in Omaha and Bakersfield?

Are they 3x what the local market is? Or was that just shrill propaganda and rhetoric?


Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on May 28, 2012 at 2:01 pm

I did not make the "3X" statement. I do think that public unions have gouged the public, but I do not know about specific salaries, relative to neighboring towns. My main point is that fire protection in Palo Alto can be made much more efficient. The fire union will always try to scare the public. Don't fall for it.


Posted by y'all be careful, ja, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 28, 2012 at 2:14 pm

John, bad formatting on my part; I know you didn't, the 3x was claimed by Resident.


Posted by Fred Balin, a resident of College Terrace
on May 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm

My estimate, stated above, of a 9-month shutdown of Engine Company 2 beginning July 1, if the proposed budget were to go into effect, was low.

That is because my calculations relied on an error in last year's Fire Services Utilization and Resources Study that stated that the Foothills fire station was staffed for 90 half days. It is actually staffed for 120 half days. [The error is on Page 86 within Web Link ]

This ups my estimate by a third, to 12 months.

One of the city's six 24x7x365 fire engines (Engine 2, the city has stated) will be shut down for the year if this budget is approved, and as stated in the budget, with subsequent consideration to make it permanent.


Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on May 29, 2012 at 4:39 pm

@ Fred: Have you ever had a conversation with Tony Spitaleri about PAFD staffing issues?


Posted by Fred Balin, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2012 at 8:24 am

Do you mean that within your world view, since I am not a woman and therefore easily frightened and defenseless against "buff firefighters, in their pressed uniforms, with Hollywood smiles" that you are trolling for bits of tar to adhere to your union conspiracy theories?


Posted by John, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2012 at 8:31 am

@Fred: I mean that you seem to be parroting his pro-union views. Did he provide talking points for you?


Posted by Fred Balin, a resident of College Terrace
on May 30, 2012 at 8:57 pm

You provide no specificity on what views you are referring to. Have never met the man.


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