SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento Fire Department is in its first year of being on a reality TV show called 'Live Rescue,' on A&E.
The show features firefighters and paramedics from around the country. But Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen feels that the show is a dose of reality that isn't needed.
"Honestly, when people are in need, they call for service. A lot of times they don't want a film crew to show up," Hansen said.
Hansen said he had concerns about the series after reading an article in the Sacramento Bee which questions if the show is exploiting the city's residents.
"I don't think it's in the city's interest to always have to show every gruesome moment to viewers who are there to glorify those things," Hansen said.
At the most recent Law and Legislative Committee meeting, Hansen pushed to have the city consider pulling the fire department off of Live Rescue.
Fire department spokesperson Keith Wade told CBS13 being on Live Rescue is about showing the department's transparency.
"So, to be able to give that viewer that front row seat and some education after we just don't fight fires," Wade said.
Wade and the city said they didn't have numbers to indicate if being on the show has helped boost recruiting numbers, but the city's assistant city manager for public safety said that anecdotally there's has been more interest in people applying with the fire department.
Some folks CBS13 talked on Wednesday said they support the series but can see where the embarrassment can set in.
"I think it's a good idea and it should be, you know, brought to the light," Azia Freeny said.
"I could see where somebody who's being rescued may have a problem with it. Maybe they might be embarrassed," Tiffany Koroush said.
Wade also told CBS13 that Sacramento Fire Chief Gary Loesch gives the final approval of what is aired on the show. He said that Loesch is given a rough cut of the package that are shot in our area. The chief also approves what is aired during the segments called, "live nights," on Live Rescue. He is given a closed video link and can tell the show's producers can and cannot be aired.
"He has the ability to pick up the phone and call - it's about 20 to 30 minutes prior to that footage would be shown - and say 'hey I don't want this to make air' for whatever reason. And they will honor that," Wade said.
The contract between A&E and the city states that Sacramento Fire Department will be on the show until March 18, 2020, with the option of extending the contract and additional year into 2021. But, the contract does state there's no cost to the city to be a part of the program.
Wade states A&E pays $1,800 per week for any additional overtime that is needed for requested members of the fire department to be a part of an episode.
Hansen said he hopes the city can come back to the table and figure out if cameras should still be rolling.
"They just feel really humiliated in that process. I don't think our citizens should be afraid to call that something that's going to happen to them that they don't want," Hansen said.
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