Town Business: Oakland Fire Department Still Seriously Under-Staffed


Despite recent hires, there still are not enough firefighters in Oakland, and key positions remain unfilled.

Nearly five months after the deadly Ghost Ship inferno, which highlighted the shortcomings of Oakland's poorly-resourced emergency responders, the city's ability to fight fires, provide emergency medical response, and especially to inspect buildings, remains hamstrung due to staffing issues.

According to Oakland's most recent jobs vacancy report, 36 positions, or 7.1 percent of budgeted, sworn jobs in the fire department aren't filled right now. That's worse than the police department's under-staffing, which is 2.2 percent.

However, the fire department's personnel situation has improved since last December when there were 62 empty sworn positions.  Back then, Oakland was missing seventeen firefighters, six paramedics, and seven engineers.

There's now only twelve missing firefighters, three paramedics, and four engineers.

But Oakland fire is still missing key personnel, including fifteen captains.

And the department still doesn't have an Assistant Fire Marshal, and it's missing three inspectors in the Fire Prevention Bureau, which is responsible for inspecting buildings like the Ghost Ship and 2551 San Pablo Avenue.