9-1-Wait: Local Community Outraged

By Mari Payton
|  Thursday, Mar 24, 2011  |  Updated 8:42 AM PDT
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9-1-Wait: Community Wants Faster Response

Olivenhain, located in northeast Encinitas, has to wait up to 14 minutes for emergency response.
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When it comes to saving a life, every second counts.

That's why residents in the northeast Encinitas community of Olivenhain were outraged Wednesday night at a city council meeting.

They believe it's taking too long for fire crews and paramedics to respond to emergencies.

In the city of Encinitas, the fire department's goal is to respond to 80 percent of calls within five minutes.

But if you live in Olivenhain, the fire chief said it can take up to 14 minutes for a fire truck to arrive.

Encinitas Fire Chief Mark Muir said, “You get brain damage in 4 minutes, critical in 6 minutes, so it's real important that we get there fast.”

Residents want their own station.

Chief Muir said the city already has five of them and they are placed based on call volume.

For every call made in Olivenhain, the city gets hundreds in other parts of town.

City officials are considering relocating one of the existing stations, but that could cause delays in busier areas. 

Still, residents say it's unacceptable and are asking the city council for help.

Tom Swanson, an Olivenhain resident said, “Public safety is supposed to be the number one priority of the city, except for Olivenhain where it has no priority."

A father of five children, Matt Battiata said it took the fire department 15 minutes when his 2 year-old was having a seizure. 

“We pay taxes," Battiata said, "and I don't think it makes any sense because we live in a semi-rural area that we would have less of service."

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