SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The San Jose Fire Department’s controversial “brown-outs” will be coming to an end soon as the department has filled 49 positions that were lost last year.

Once the additional staff is fully trained, the department will no longer have to enforce the “flexible brown-out” plan, where two engines were forced out of service each day.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Thanks to a $15 million federal grant, academy classes will start next week for firefighters that were laid off and those that are new to the department.

But San Jose Fire Department spokeswoman Captain Mary Gutierrez said less than half of those who were laid off decided to come back.

“We have 22 of those 49 that have accepted positions back with the city,” she said. “Those other 27 have chosen either to not come back or have gotten jobs in other cities. From what I understand, quite a few of them got hired in Contra Costa and Alameda County.”

Gutierrez said that even though the 22 returnees only left last year, they still have to be retrained.

“Part of that training is 80 hours of refresher emergency medical services training,” said Gutierrez. “We’re calling it spring training or a boot camp for them.”

Captain Gutierrez said that the 27 new employees are mainly lateral transfers from other fire departments.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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