The SF Fire Department’s top brass, who have recently blamed safer street designs for slowing emergency response times, are coming under fire as evidence mounts that SFFD’s own management problems may be to blame. The department lacks sufficient medical staff, equipment, and emergency vehicles, according to a report released in June, and officials apparently neglected to purchase new vehicles with public funds intended for that purpose.
Today, SFFD’s rank-and-file firefighter organizations penned a letter calling on Mayor Ed Lee to replace Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White to address “the crisis in public safety,” the SF Chronicle reported. Last week, the Chronicle reported that Supervisor London Breed, a former fire commissioner, “has lost confidence in the leadership of the San Francisco Fire Department”:
The Fire Department has increasingly struggled to get ambulances to medical emergencies to transport patients to the hospital, an issue that has been detailed in several city reports this year. While fire trucks with at least one paramedic on board respond to all 911 calls within minutes to administer medical care, patients are regularly waiting for long periods for an ambulance to arrive – it happened 2,500 times in 2013, a fourfold increase since 2008 and 25 percent jump over 2012.
In August, according to data presented to the Fire Commission last month, there were more than 374 incidents where it took more than 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at a call – including nine cases where it took more than an hour…