Hiring More Firefighters May Save Money - NBC 7 San Diego

Hiring More Firefighters May Save Money

SDSU study says it could reduce response time



    Having More Firefighters May Save Money

    SDSU study says it could reduce response time. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010)

    A study released by researchers at San Diego State University on Tuesday, shows increasing the number of firefighters per engine could save California millions.

    The researchers discovered that one extra firefighter per engine, could increase effectiveness of the state's firefighters by more than 50 percent, plus reduce the cost of fighting large wildfires.

    "The extra firefighter means a 15 to 40 minute faster response time and more efficiency in fighting the fire," said Matt Rahn, Director of Research and Education at SDSU's College of Sciences.

    "Fifteen to 40 minutes may not seem like a lot, but in the initial attack that is a lot of time and often means success or failure in a wildfire event," he said.

    Rahn and his staff also did an economic analysis of the 2003 wildfire and found that the actual economic burden to the County of San Diego was $2.5 billion.

    "Being able to reduce the fire size by even one percent would have saved $25 million," Rahn said. He added increasing the staff, thereby reducing the fire size by 10 percent, would have saved $250 million.

    Researchers and local fire agencies conducted test trials at the Santa Margarita Ecological Preserve, where they ran tests on something firefighters call extended and progressive hose lays.

    A hose lay is how firefighters extend their hose to the fire.

    Rahn says the next step is to figure out how California can pay to increase staffing levels across the state.

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