The San Diego Fire Department received an equipment donation Thursday worth $74,000, providing a lift to a unit that has been hit especially hard by the downturn economy.
The department will upgrade its communication capacity with 72 new VHF radios, courtesy of the San Diego Fire Foundation. It also received an Interstate Paratech Shoring Kit, which stabilizes cars after traffic accidents to foster passenger extrication and treatment.
The effect of the radio donations will be most greatly felt when working alongside outside agencies, be it inside or outside San Diego County. The kit improves firefighter safety and accelerates the time it takes to free trapped and injured passengers from vehicles.
Jeff Carle, San Diego Fire operations assistant chief, and Frank De Clercq, president of the San Diego Firefighters Local 145, accepted the donations on behalf of the department and its 900 firefighters.
“They depend on the right equipment to provide the highest level of public safety: the services the citizens depend on and deserve,” De Clercq said. “Adding another tool available to our rescue teams means that people involved in traffic accidents will have an even better chance of being rescued and cared for quickly, and our personnel will be safer as well.”
The San Diego Fire Foundation was founded in 2006 to provide assistance to the San Diego Fire Department in critical-need areas, using locals’ tax deductible donations to purchase service enhancements not regularly available within the city budget.
The fire department has suffered through heavy waves of cuts, including extended brownouts, firefighter firings and demotions, station-closings, and helicopter and lifeguard staffing reductions.
“We know the city’s finances are more than tight,” DeClerk said, “so it’s only through the continued work of the Foundation and generosity of the San Diegans that our firefighters can get these needed tools.“