Hank Sims / @ 7:12 a.m. / Local Government

Citing Lack of Funds, Humboldt Bay Fire Suspends Rescue Swimmer Program, Firefighters’ Union Says


File photo: Andrew Goff.

From Humboldt Bay Firefighters Local No. 652:

Humboldt Bay Fire Chief Bill Gillespie has announced the immediate suspension of the department’s water-based swimmer portion of its water rescue program. This program has executed several rescues of live people from Humboldt Bay since its inception seven years ago.

Humboldt Bay Fire has become unable to fund this program due to continued shortfalls in the budget. Swimmer based equipment has been removed from the apparatus and will be stored. Members of Humboldt Bay Firefighters Local 652, the department’s labor organization, expressed regret over the suspended rescue swimmer based water rescue program. Humboldt Bay Fire will continue to respond to calls for service in our local waters, but will do so as a shore based response. Throw ropes and long handled tools are some of the interventions that can still be employed.

According to Local 652 President Matt McFarland, “Union members are committed to finding budget solutions that will allow a swim based program to be reinstated in the future.”

Humboldt Bay Firefighters Local 652 would also like to remind residents and visitors to remain cautious and vigilant when working or playing on our local waters. Always wear a personal flotation device, and never mix drugs or alcohol with water based activities. For more information, citizens are encouraged to contact the Firefighters through their website at humboldtbayfirefighters.org, or on Facebook at Humboldt Bay Firefighters Union - Local 652.


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