San Diego Fire-Rescue wants to spend $34M on helicopter, hangar

The new helicopter would be able to drop almost three times the amount of water than the city’s current helicopters can drop

By FireRescue1 Staff

SAN DIEGO —The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department wants to spend $34 million on a new helicopter and a hangar to house it in.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the new helicopter would be capable of dropping 1,000 gallons of water, compared to the city’s current helicopter’s capability of dropping 375 gallons.

The purchase of the chopper, which is called a “firehawk,” would bring the city’s total to three helicopters, and Fire Chief Brian Fennessy said this would allow them to have at least two available at all times since the choppers are frequently out of service for maintenance.

The chopper can conduct hoist-air rescues, shoreline rescues, night vision goggle operations, patient transports, vehicle rescues, large animal rescues, infrared detection and swift-water rescues.

The new hangar would reduce rust and corrosion, and helicopter maintenance could be conducted indoors.

The proposal is set to be presented to city council in the near future. Budget analyst Andrea Tevlin said the fire department should instead use the money to build one of 10 new fire stations San Diego needs.

Councilman Scott Sherman said he supports the purchases.

“We need to be prepared,” he said. “Our job, first and foremost, is public safety.”


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