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Fountain Valley sticks with own fire service

City decides against partnering with Huntington Beach, county fire departments.

February 01, 2012|By Michael Miller

Fountain Valley has opted to stick with its own municipal fire service rather than partner with Huntington Beach or the county.

The City Council directed staff in October to study the possibility of drafting a contract with the Orange County Fire Authority or merging partly or completely with the Huntington Beach Fire Department. Both were options to potentially save costs for the city.

In the end, the city opted to maintain the status quo because it could better control costs in-house, City Manager Raymond Kromer said.

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"That's the bottom line, that we control what we do and our costs and what our future growth is going to be," he said.

City officials were also concerned that if Fountain Valley's department merged with Huntington's, the small size of the former department would mean its members had a smaller chance of getting promoted.

Councilman Michael Vo said that consideration, as well as the need for short response times, factored into the city's decision.

"We have about 5,500 calls annually, and anywhere near 80% of them are medical emergencies," he said. "So we took a hard look and decided our own Fire Department and our own fire chief would help the city as a whole."

With its fire staff remaining independent, Fountain Valley is in the process of hiring a new chief.

The department will also need a training officer and a nurse, but is open to contracting out for those positions, which would likely be part-time, Kromer said.

michael.miller@latimes.com

Twitter: @MichaelMillerHB

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