Question of the Week Answers: San Juan fire coverage adequate?

Firefighters address the blaze in San Juan Bautista in July.

Panelists and readers answered the following: After Monday’s fires along Highway 156, do you believe San Juan Bautista has adequate enough fire coverage?
Nants Foley: Because of drought conditions we are a tinderbox. Our resources are stretched to the max for all public safety services. Discussing if San Juan Bautista is adequately covered for fire is pointless until we have some solutions to consider. Bring back the volunteer fire department! They were heroes. 
Mary Zanger: Yes. The real issues seem to be  increased traffic with limited transportation lanes compounded by warming climate producing more fires with the use of limited water availability. 
Ruth Erickson: No. The amalgamation of three local fire departments, may not have taken enough consideration of the distance between San Juan Bautista and the Hollister Fire Department, especially on a crowded Highway 156 during a fire or other emergency. The 911 dispatch consolidation in Santa Cruz can get overloaded and calls from our local residents sometimes have to wait, while their emergency increases. Perhaps this San Juan incident points out problems needing solutions. 
Chris Shearer: The interim fire chief cited an “8-minute” response for the first engine to arrive. Not bad considering the new “full-time department” is three blocks from where the fire occurred. Pretty interesting. Look, I think HFD is a quality department however they have no business protecting SJB when they have a history of budget issues and staffing problems on their own. Whatever motivated this “contract” is certainly questionable and has needed questions since day one. Everyone should be concerned, county residents, Hollister residents and SJB residents. Nobody is benefiting from this agreement. … This is a big issue and I commend the Free Lance for a finally picking up the story. Now, do a little digging. 
Carlos Zapata: No they need more staff (in Spanish).

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