GFD seeks $32.8 million budget

Guam Fire Department officials testified during the GFD budget hearing held Friday.

The Guam Fire Department presented their budget request Friday morning, asking lawmakers for $32.8 million.

Guam Fire Department Chief Dan Stone said this figure was needed for GFD’s fiscal year 2020 budget.

“The Fire Department is requesting the total amount of $32,753,256. This amount reflects an increase of $521,682 from its FY2019 appropriations from all funding sources,” Stone said.

That’s a 1.6 percent increase from last year’s budget. Stone explains why

“Personnel services increased by $588,336, inclusive of this is the increase in accounting for the full re-implementation of salary increments,” Stone said.

However, even though GFD brought on additional personnel, the department still has a high attrition rate of about 17 firefighters a year due to ongoing military training, extended military deployment, retirement, and resignation, which ultimately results in spending more money for overtime due to the shortage.

“These absences continuously challenge our ability to meet NFPA and OSHA standards. A vast majority of our attrition is due to retirement, leaving gaps in institutional knowledge and experience and middle management supervisory positions for various units,” Stone said.

As for operations, GFD is in constant need of replacing an aging fleet and avail the department of the latest equipment and technology to combat fires.

“The discussion of a new Tamuning fire station to replace our current flagship station is ongoing and we are working with our partners with GEDA. There is also a more promising commitment made by the director of GHURA regarding the building of the new Sinajana fire station,” Stone said.

The fire chief also mentioned the ongoing discussion regarding the renovation and building of their Agat Rescue Base and an East Side boat ramp at Talofofo Bay, which he says is a much-needed access point for water rescue.