According to the latest Automatic Aid Agreement between Contra Costa County Fire and East Contra Costa Fire Protection Districts, aid is further being reduced to high priority incidents. The Agreement went into effect September 1, 2015.
Under the old agreement, CONFIRE would send two district engines into East Contra Costa Fire’s District (Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Byron, Bethel Island, Knightsen) when no engines were available. If a third or more were needed, further aid could be requested. Under the new agreement, it specifies what types of calls qualify for CONFIRE’s aid.
CONFIRE Chief Jeff Carman explained the agreement says that they will only be requested on medical incidents of the highest priorities such as cardiac arrests, choking’s, etc. For lower priority calls, if there are no East Contra Costa Fire units available then only an ambulance will respond.
Chief Carman did say the ambulance always has the ability to call for additional help and we would respond accordingly.
The move comes after a previous aid agreement did not work as anticipated where CONFIRE ended up sending more units to ECCFPD than it received–thus supplementing fire service for residents served under the ECCFPD. Over time, aid went from a 2:1 ratio when stations were open to a 3:1 ratio when ECCFPD closed its downtown Brentwood and Knightsen stations in May.
“This was all a result of the fact that East Con Fire’s use of our resources rose from a 2:1 ratio (they use us twice as often as we use them) to a 3:1 ratio the month after they closed their last station,” said Carman. “Chief Henderson felt that he wanted to maximize the use of our resources on fires and allow the ambulance to assist them on EMS calls. As always, we will see how these changes affect things and make adjustments as needed. This is all new ground, no play books available for doing these kinds of things.”
ECCFPD Chief Hugh Henderson said the auto aid agreement were aimed at balancing out the aid given by both agencies.
“In looking at the auto aid responses over the last 90 days 60% of the responses are medicals and 40% are fires,” explained Henderson. “The district relies on Contra Costa fire on those fire responses to get the additional personnel on scene for the safety of the community and our firefighters. The impact to the community on this new auto aid agreement is that if all East Contra Costa resources are tied up that medical responses are only going to get AMR on the initial dispatch. This means that we will be using a majority of auto aid for fire responses only. Statistically they should balance out the auto aid agreement between the agencies.”
During comments at the Board of Supervisor Meeting in July, Henderson highlighted that in June, there was 19-times when no East Contra Costa Fire Protection District resources were able to respond to a calls while highlighting CONFIRE responded to 6% of the Districts calls.
At that point in July, 20 days into the month, ECCFPD has already had 406 calls and needed auto aid a total of 30-times with 37-Contra Costa engines assisting.
Smart move CONFIRE, I do not want to pay higher taxes for my fire service only to see my engines go into Oakley & Brentwood. Thank you Chief Carman for saying NO.
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