Fire chief appreciates positive response to staffing study

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Capital City Fire Rescue Chief Rich Etheridge reacted to the reaction to the Fitch Study which recommends additional staffing and equipment to keep up with the ever increasing workload.

    The chief was a guest on Action Line.  He said its been positive reaction for him that they've received so much support not only from city management but the Assembly, the firefighters, and the community.  "We've had a lot of people being vocal about stepping up and saying, 'Yea, we do recognize you guys need help.  So it's been really nice to have that validation."

    One recommendation calls for the addition of a third ambulance which would be readily available.  The chief said there are ambulances all ready here.  The department has a total of six ambulances including one at the Douglas Station and another  at the Auke Bay Station.  "We just need to have the staffing added," he said.  

    The chief said they are examining the pros and cons of hiring four additional people and working them 12 hours a day to have an ambulance during just peak times or fitting into the existing structure that would call for hiring six more staff and having the ambulance 24 hours a day.

    That staffing would also be readily available.  The chief there are temporary employees working right now that could be hired.  There's also the seasonal crew whose work will be ending soon.  In addition, the chief said  there's a testing process that is scheduled to start next week which should generate a good applicant pool to draw from.

    The Assembly will take up recommendations from the city manager during Monday night's regular meeting.

    That plan calls for devoting $350,000 for an additional ambulance and four additional staff to cover 12 hours each day.


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