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Flood Park Isn't a Good Place for a Fire Station

Menlo Park Firefighters Association opposed to Fire Chief's desire to buy Flood Park and turn it into two fire stations.

Menlo Park Firefighters would like to go on record and state that we believe that our Fire Chief's desire to purchase Flood Park with the intent of relocating 2 firehouses onto the property is a poor one.

We believe this for two reasons. Most importantly we understand how much our community and the citizens we serve want to as a park. Secondly, from an operational standpoint, the Fire District's seven stations are currently positioned in areas that serve our community better than a relocated station to Flood Park.

We ask that you not be led astray when you hear our Chief talk about problems with our deployment plan. The problem with our District's deployment plan is our staffing levels not our station locations.

The Location

Although as Firefighters we do not have a stake in Flood Park, as your neighbors, we did observe the park close and we watched the two year struggle it took to reopen it. We are aware of the work the Menlo Park City Council did along with the Supervisors of San Mateo County to reopen the park, but most importantly we are aware of the non-profit that was created by concerned citizens to help fund Flood Park.

It is our view that the to be utilized as a park, not as a Fire Station, contrary to the plan Fire Chief Schapelhouman advocated to the County Supervisors this week.

The District's Deployment Plan

In the 96 years that our Fire District has served what is now the communities of Atherton, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and parts of unincorporated San Mateo County, it has performed several "Deployment Response Studies" or "Standards of Coverage Reports." The last "Standards of Coverage Report" was completed by Citygate Associates under the direction of the then Menlo Park Fire Chief, Paul Wilson. Former California State Fire Marshal Ron Coleman was the lead in the Citygate project. The report cost $60,000 to complete and was presented to the Fire District in October of 2004 

This study was conducted because in 2004 the District was looking at potentially relocating Fire Stations 1, 5 and 6. What the study found was that although the Districts' Fire Stations were in adequate locations per national standards, the District did not staff its' Fire Stations with enough firefighters on a daily basis to adequately cover the communities we serve. 

Fire Chief Paul Wilson took this information and increased our daily staffing level from twenty-four (24) firefighters to twenty-five (25). One of Harold Schapelhouman's first acts as Fire Chief was to reduce our daily firefighter staffing levels from twenty-five (25) back down to twenty-four (24). It is important to note that the District's revenues were just over 23 Million Dollars ($23,141,832) in 2005 and in 2012 the District's projected budget is in excess of 30 Million Dollars ($30,470,900) yet it provides the community with less firefighters. As taxpayers you are spending 7 Million Dollars ($7,329,068) more on less firefighters.

As firefighters we understand the need for and we hope that as citizens you understand that the District does not need to relocate stations, it simply needs to adequately staff the stations we already have.

-- Menlo Park Firefighters 

Sandy B February 08, 2012 at 03:46 AM
The city should build apartments on half of the park land to pay for its operating costs.

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