San Jose’s new fire chief, William McDonald, only started work this Monday, but he is already facing his first crisis. The city has laid off 49 firefighters, and if negotiations between the city and the union don’t go as planned today, he could have a much smaller department. He is not fazed though. “We have fewer resources. We’re very, very lean. But I think the community can expect and deserves excellent service, and that’s what we’ll provide,” he says.
No matter what happens, McDonald plans on introducing dynamic deployment to the SJFD. What this means is that firefighters will be assigned to a number of different stations and shifted around as needed. The decision as to where to locate them will be based on historic and real-time data, which will be fed through a computer program to determine where they are needed most at any given time. He does warn, however, that this means some stations, such as the Communications Hill station, will not be staffed at certain times.
The dynamic deployment system is already being used in other cities facing budget cuts, but not everyone is happy about it. The one alternative is for the city and the union to reach some agreement, hopefully as quickly as possible.
Read More at ABC 7.