Chula Vista firefighters
Chula Vista firefighters in front of a city fire engine. Courtesy IAFF Local 2180

By Darrell Roberts

Chula Vista firefighters’ primary mission is to save lives, environment, and property. That’s hard to do with only 42 firefighters per day protecting over 52 square miles and 268,000 people.

Plainly and simply, there are not enough of us. The lack of firefighters in our community is not only shocking, it is dangerous.

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The City of Chula Vista has fewer firefighters per capita than any other large city in the state of California. Our inadequate number of firefighters compared to nationally accepted minimum standards translates into longer response times to your family’s emergency, poor patient outcomes, more property damage from house fires, and an increase in firefighter and citizen injuries.

By voting for Measure A on June 5, you will be voting to hire much-needed firefighters, add additional fire trucks, decrease response times, and provide the level of public safety that your family expects and deserves.

In the last five years alone, Chula Vista has seen over a 30 percent increase in emergency calls for assistance. Last year, Chula Vista firefighters responded to more than 20,000 emergencies. Couple that with the fact that we failed to meet industry guidelines for response times year after year and the negative impact on the city’s safety is stark.

The Chula Vista Fire Department lacks sufficient fire stations, fire engines and firefighters to keep our neighborhoods safe. When seconds are the difference between life and death, these things matter so much more.

Our goal is to get to you quickly and with enough firefighters to handle any emergency that you or a loved one is experiencing. In a medical emergency firefighters and firefighter paramedics will be able to respond quickly to provide life-saving medications and treatment.

When a fire strikes, firefighters save lives and minimize damage to your home or business. During a rescue, you want a highly trained firefighter to rescue you and provide life-saving treatment. Every line of service and work that we provide is time sensitive.

Voting for Measure A gives your firefighters and firefighter paramedics the ability to quickly give you the best service and keep you safe.

Wildfires ravaged California in 2017, one of the deadliest and most destructive fire seasons in the state’s history. These catastrophic fires destroyed homes and businesses and, in some cases, took lives. Experts predict it could get worse in upcoming years.

Your Chula Vista firefighters were on the front lines battling these blazes to help minimize the damage and rescue trapped citizens. Dozens of Chula Vista firefighters spent weeks and months battling some of the fiercest fires across our great state. Our firefighters not only fought fires, they re-deployed into these damaged areas to assist in the deadly and destructive mudslides that resulted from the fire.

But our efforts here at home did not stop. While many Chula Vista firefighters were fighting the wildfires, others continued to protect our community, working long hours to ensure our neighborhoods remained safe. The wildfires were an important reminder that large disasters may impact our city, but we must ensure that we have enough resources and firefighters to handle any emergency, especially when it strikes in our own backyard.

Measure A will help provide the necessary tools to help firefighters respond to all emergencies, from wildfires and auto accidents to heart attacks and house fires.

As a firefighter, I see it repeated many times. After someone loses their home to a fire, or their loved one has a medical emergency, the community of Chula Vista rallies around that neighbor to help them through the tough times. Ours is a city of truly caring and compassionate people. Our residents genuinely want to help one another.

That is why on June 5, your firefighters are asking you to help your neighbor before the fire, before the medical emergency, before it is too late.

By voting for Measure A, you are voting to put more firefighters and firefighter paramedics in the fire stations to answer the call when you and your family need them most.

By voting for Measure A, you are voting to have more firefighters on the fire trucks to respond to the house fire before your neighbor loses everything.

By voting for Measure A you are voting to get medical help to you more quickly.

Simply put, by voting for Measure A on June 5, you are voting to make Chula Vista safer.

Darrell Roberts is president of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2180, which represents Chula Vista’s firefighters.