BSFA Supports SDCFPD/CalFire
Last updated 6/6/2022 at 12:50pm
An open letter to Borrego Springs...
Let me introduce myself, my name is Brian Lozano and I am the president of the Borrego Springs Firefighter's Association (BSFA), local 4160. For the past 61 years, the Borrego Springs Fire Protection District has been the provider of fire protection and emergency medical services in the community. The ability to provide such exemplary service to a unique community has been no small feat. At a time when few areas in rural California had professional firefighters, the members of the Borrego Springs Firefighters Association were able to provide that to the community. With the introduction of paramedics to the BSFPD, yet another service that was not seen in many rural areas, was provided.
With a heavy heart I must profess that after all these years we have reached a crossroads. We can keep going on as is, utilizing out of date equipment, making do with less, all in an effort to simply delay the inevitable. That inevitability seems to be the transition to San Diego County Fire Protection District/Cal Fire. This is something only made possible by the dissolvement of the current fire protection district. I am not writing to you in an effort to explain how or why we got to this point but the facts are that we are here. The members of the BSFA have always made the best of the situations they faced and continue to do while providing the highest quality care and fire services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contrary to previous statements, the members of the BSFA are highly qualified and well experienced at all ranks and specialities, whether they be Fire Captains, Fire Apparatus Engineers, Firefighters, and paramedics. The members bring years of knowledge and unique experiences with them along with their great passion for this community and serving it to the best of their ability. Early on in this process the members of BSFA remained steadfast in the position that we would support whatever option the community decides they see as best for themselves. Within the last couple months a steering committee was formed to research the possibility of getting a tax measure to help fix the shortfalls we are facing. The research showed that even a large tax increase, 6 times the current tax, would not solve our issues. When the community was presented with these hard facts and a rough outline of the services Cal Fire would provide, the community overwhelmingly opposed raising taxes and supported transitioning the district to SDCFPD/Cal Fire.
With this information in hand, the members of the BSFA have unanimously voted to align with the community and support a transition to SDCFPD/Cal Fire.
We know this comes with a shock factor to some and was not a decision made lightly. However, we feel this is the best option for the community to continue to receive the highest quality fire protection and emergency medical services they so justly deserve. The SDCFPD/Cal Fire can provide things that would simply not be obtainable and in some cases, imaginable for us currently. Many were worried about the current members of BSFA and them not being absorbed by Cal Fire in the transition. These were concerns shared by BSFA alike but, we have all been assured multiple times both privately and publicly by CAL FIRE Firefighters Local 2881 and Cal Fire, that ALL current employees of the district would be protected in the transition. We know another concern weighing heavy on the minds of community members is the ambulance services currently provided. We understand and agree with such a concern but have again been constantly assured that the ambulance will remain in Borrego Springs, staffed by professional fire department personnel and not be closed down or contracted to an outside provider. YOU, the community have been our biggest concern when looking at our options and like you, we feel the transition would be the best thing for the district and the community we love, protect, and support. We know there is a long storied history of our department, the names and legacy of those before us will not be forgotten even after we are gone. We all owe a great debt to the members who came before us, current members, and community residents for allowing us to serve such a unique city. With a memory of the past and an eye towards the future, we want to thank you for always being there for us and continuing to support us.
Brian Lozano, President Borrego Springs Firefighters Association, Local 4160