BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - According to the Kern County Firefighters Union, the Kern County Fire Department is critically understaffed.
“We do have the ability to do good, we have a good fire department but we are hindered by this lack of personnel," says Dave Nelson, Director of the Kern County Firefighters Union.
Nelson says that the lack of manpower is having an effect on firefighters and the community. Last Sunday, multiple fires broke out in a short amount of time. Seven firefighters were sent to the emergency room.
"They pushed themselves beyond the point of ability," says Nelson.
Nelson says there are three firefighters for every station in Kern County, which is standard for some areas. However, other areas require four.
The Kern County Firefighters Union is in support of the one percent sales tax increase proposal that the Board of Supervisors will consider this month.
“The increase in funding and revenue would allow the board of supervisors to allocate the money specifically to public safety and facilitate those within really affected the budget," says Nelson.
23ABC reached out to multiple members Kern County Board of Supervisors for comment Friday but did not hear back.