Sacramento firefighters say they are understaffed ahead of budget presentation

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento firefighters say they are overworked and it needs to change soon, as the city gears up to talk about budgeting for the fire department.

“Your fire department is overworked and we need the help and we need it now,” Roberto Padilla, spokesman for Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522, told FOX40.

Padilla says the city is not providing firefighters with what they need most.

“We want to see more personnel,” he said.

Tuesday, Fire Chief Gary Loesch will present the department’s budget to the Sacramento City Council for the upcoming fiscal year, which starts in July.

The department’s proposed 2021/2022 budget totals $142.7 million, which is an increase of more than $4 million over last year and an all-time high budget for the department.

But what Padilla and other union members want to know is why this year’s budget includes eliminating two vacant positions, and where that extra $4 million is going.

Padilla says with Sacramento’s growing population, the money should be going to fund at least three new fire stations.

“It’s not just the fire stations, it’s not just the equipment, it’s the people and we’re in desperate need of people right now,” he said. “Our response time is 30 seconds above the national average. That’s unacceptable. In a business where seconds count, that’s the difference between losing one, two, three homes, or a person loses their life.”

Padilla and his fellow union members plan on attending Tuesday’s city council meeting to voice their frustrations. 

The Sacramento Fire Department says they look forward to adding clarity to the budget after Tuesday’s presentation.

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