Fire crews left without critical equipment, Lack of funding to blame

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ARCATA, Calif. (KIEM)-Firefighters are facing major budget cuts and a lack of resources.  

The lack of funding is causing crews to work without critical equipment needed to keep their community safe, according to Battalion Chief Sean Campbell.  

“Right now, I got a truck out of service, a water tender out of service, this Type One out of service,” he said.  

And the list goes on, Battalion Chief for the Arcata Fire District says, the vehicles out of service are all considered crucial technical equipment – needed and used when Arcata Fire responds to an emergency.  

“It’s frustrating because essentially there are two things you need to respond to an incident,  you need staffing and you need apparatus appropriately equipped to respond a mitigate any emergency,” he said.  

Campbell says, firefighters need their tools to do their jobs effectively.  

“These are just giant tool boxes, so when you open your tool box and it’s missing a bunch of tools that affects our ability to serve the community.” 

Capt. Nathan Padula says, the lack of funds is out of their hands.  

 “When things happen that are kinds outside of our realm, as far as something breaking down, it requires a cost and we’re kind of at a point where these costs are adding up, pretty fast,” said Padula.  

To the tune of more than $63,000, Campbell says, they are trying to do the work themselves ton cut cost – but that too is affecting the department’s capacity to serve the community.  

“Yeah, it’s a challenge, and not to mention the amount of time we’re taking trying to repair things ourselves,” he said.  

Campbell says the only way to fix the problem is through funding or hire a full-time mechanic – which he says is not possible because that too requires funds.  

 “Measure F will be on the November ballot, that’s a special tax that’s been placed on the ballot to try to obtain 1.9 million dollars of increased revenue for the fire district.” 

Campbell says the funds will be used in a variety of ways.  

“If we pass Measure-F, it will give us enough money to reopen the third station that’s been closed, it will allow us to have an apparatus repair and replacement fund, the other thing we’ll try to do is we’ll rebuild our contingency and capital improvement funds,” said Campbell.