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Burbank firefighters concerned about state budget

Ryan Carter

The Burbank Fire Department is eyeing proposed cuts in the state

budget and are concerned staffing levels might be a target.

Fire Chief Mike Davis said it’s still too early to comment on


specific scenarios, but added that the governor’s budget package,

which threatens an estimated $5 million from Burbank’s general fund,

is likely to have an effect.

The state’s shortfall is estimated to top $35 billion.


“We’re going to feel the brunt, there’s no doubt about it,” Davis

said. “It’s going to impact our services here.”

Burbank fire union officials are concerned about staff cuts.

“The only way you cut is in manpower,” Burbank Firefighters Union

president Lew Stone said.

One potential cutting measure is taking a firefighter off a

four-engine rig, leaving it with three.

Before the mid-1980s, some Burbank engine and truck companies went


without a fourth firefighter on board even though studies have shown

a fourth person optimizes safety and efficiency, Stone said. At the

time, positions were shuffled so all but two stations carried four

firefighters in a company. Additional cuts could affect more

stations, Stone said.

City finance officials have asked departments to look at items in

their budgets that could be cut by 10%.

About half of the budget goes to the police and fire departments,


said the city’s Financial Services Director Derek Hanway, who seemed

to echo what fire officials were saying.

“There’s only so much you can cut without affecting [fire and

police services],” Hanway said.