The long-awaited 80-page analysis largely confirmed the Hermosa Beach Firefighters Association’s longtime claim that the department is understaffed and its members overworked, leaders said. “The report basically comes to the same precise conclusion that we’ve been asserting for years,” said union President Paul Hawkins. Divided into three shifts, 18 Hermosa Beach firefighters are supposed to work 10 24-hour stints a month, alternating two days on duty and four days off. The arrangement puts six firefighters on duty every day: three men in one firetruck, two men in a rescue ambulance and a single man in a second firetruck. But with a vacancy, two firefighters out with long-term injuries and another undergoing paramedic training, 14 men cover 18 positions. Increasing personnel levels to seven firefighters a day as recommended by the consultant would fully staff a second firetruck and more evenly spread the workload, Hawkins said. The city has estimated the change would cost about $505,000 a year, a figure that includes salaries and benefits for three new firefighters, as well as promotions for new captains and engineers. City officials hoped the study, commissioned in January, would put to rest persistent squabbling between management and rank-and-file over staffing levels. But discord within the department has seemingly settled after embattled fire Chief Russell Tingley retired in May. Jerry Gomez, the department’s retired assistant fire chief, is temporarily leading the crew while the city finds a permanent replacement for Tingley. The Hermosa Beach City Council is set to discuss the staffing study’s findings and any subsequent action next month. “The big question is does the city have the political and financial ability to fund it?” Hawkins said. “After going through all this pain and suffering and expense – to not do anything, that would be pretty irresponsible.” [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Adding a seventh firefighter to each of the department’s three 48-hour shifts, creating extra captains positions and bolstering the department’s reserve program are among the many recommendations from Matrix Consulting Group, which was paid nearly $30,000 by Hermosa Beach to examine the fire staffing levels. Here’s a quick list of some of the Palo Alto-based consultants’ other findings and suggestions: Immediately fill a now-vacant assistant fire chief position. The department provides “exceptional” response time for service, but with more than 2,200 calls a year, its demand is not “unreasonable.” Hire a dedicated fire prevention specialist, likely to cost about $78,000. FINDINGS: A seventh person should be added to each shift, and there should be more captains. By Andrea Woodhouse STAFF WRITER The Hermosa Beach Fire Department is understaffed and should add at least one extra firefighter per shift, an independent staffing study released this week has found.