San Diego

San Diego Rescue Fire Chief to Respond to Lifeguard Union's Concerns

San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy responded to concerns about a new dispatch system at a briefing for media early Wednesday.

Chief Fennessy reassured the public, emphasizing the new 911 protocol is better for public safety and has improved response times.

Chief Fennessy called the issue, which was first brought up by lifeguard union leader Ed Harris, nothing more than a political stunt.

“Shame on you Ed Harris, you crossed the line and this is the main reason I am speaking out publically today,” Fennessy said.

San Diego lifeguards worry the new 911 dispatch system rolled out last December is confusing dispatchers and adding to response times.

Sgt. Ed Harris, leader of the lifeguards union and former candidate for San Diego mayor, said the change may have caused confusion on Sunday when a toddler needed to be rescued near Mission Bay Park.

Fennessy has said the new system was put in partly to combat the high volume of unanswered 911 calls.

“Our change in dispatch protocol for inland water rescues has resulted in improved service to the community members we serve,” Fennessy said in a statement. “It’s unfortunate that the Teamsters Local 911 president is misleading the public by making uninformed and false statements about this change.”

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