Home Contra Costa County Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Allocates Measure X Funds to Improve Emergency Response

Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Allocates Measure X Funds to Improve Emergency Response

by ECT

MARTINEZ, CALIF. — The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors last week approved recommended funding allocations that are poised to change the face of fire service across the county. The supervisors voted unanimously to support the proposal, pairing it with investments in the county hospital, health services, emergency response, and sustainability that will markedly improve the county’s resilience.

 

The approvals pave the way for the long-planned annexation of East Contra Costa Fire into the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District by immediately funding station construction costs for Fire Station 54 and Fire Station 51 in Brentwood. Both stations are necessary to meet current service level demands according to analysis by East Contra Costa Fire. Contra Costa Fire will also add an additional apparatus and engine company to Fire Station 81 in Antioch, thereby increasing the total number of engine companies serving east county residents by 50%.

 

“Yesterday was a historic day for East County residents who have long needed enhanced fire service,” said Board Chair Diane Burgis. “The funding approved by the board yesterday, together with the ongoing annexation of East Contra Costa Fire into Con Fire, will result in station construction and staffing for a total of six stations in the current East Contra Costa Fire service area as well as the reopening of an additional station in Antioch. In short, there will be a 50% increase in the number of engine companies in the area I represent, and those companies will be staffed with advanced life support paramedics, so it’s not just more service and quicker response times, it’s better service for residents.”

 

Burgis added: “I want to thank all of the partner agencies and community members who have worked so hard to get us to this point and especially, Fire Chiefs Lewis Broschard and Brian Helmick and the East Contra Costa Fire board; and Vince Wells from Local 1230, who has been stalwart on this issue for years.”

 

“We are pleased by the decisions made by the Board of Supervisors yesterday allocating Measure X funds to support fire and emergency medical services that will well serve residents across the county,” said Lewis Broschard, fire chief, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “Among several major benefits of Measure X funds to residents is rebuilding, reopening and staffing of long-shuttered and much-needed fire stations in east and west county, which promise to improve response times and increase levels of service.”

 

Broschard added, “Funding for wildfire mitigation will significantly extend our abilities in the high and very high fire hazard severity zones of the entire county, expanding our hand crew program to a year-round effort. This will allow critical fuels reduction work to continue during the winter and spring months while fully staffing our Crew 12 during the peak summer fire season.”

“We would like to thank the Board of Supervisors and especially Board Chair Burgis for championing this effort to increase emergency medical services in east county to the appropriate levels which the District has strived to provide over the past two decades,” said Fire Chief Brian Helmick, East Contra Costa Fire Protection District. “Through annexation and the addition of these funds, east county will see two additional stations in Brentwood, one additional station in Oakley, and over the next two years, provision of paramedics on every engine in the District.”

 

“This is an exciting opportunity for the City of Pinole and West County, which promises to enhance fire and emergency service delivery for the benefit of all residents,” said Pinole Fire Chief Chris Wynkoop. “We look forward to working with city and county stakeholders to finalize the arrangement between our agencies and facilitate the reopening of Station 74. This is truly a testament to the collaborative efforts among city and county officials, county fire chiefs, labor, and citizens, to address our common goal of providing the highest level of fire and emergency services to residents countywide.”

 

IAFF President of firefighters Local 1230, Vince Wells, says: “On behalf of the members of Firefighters Local 1230, especially those in east and west county, we would like to thank the Board of Supervisors for this much-needed financial support from Measure X. Our fire seasons have gotten longer, and the frequency of fires and other emergencies has increased significantly. Additional fire stations mean additional firefighters on duty, improving response times to emergencies and firefighter safety. The East Contra Fire District has been underserved since its inception, and adding three more stations in this area is a significant improvement to emergency response capability. We are grateful for Supervisor Burgis’s advocacy and support to assure this funding was approved.

 

In its November 16 actions, the Board of Supervisors approved a total of $32.3 million in funding for fire and emergency medical services across the county. Of the total, $18.8 million was for one-time expenditures, with $10 million of that to be expended in the first year, $13.5 million was allocated for ongoing expenses.

 

A significant portion of these funds was allocated to the construction of fire stations in the current East Contra Costa Fire Protection District service area. These facilities are expected to be absorbed into Con Fire next year as part of an annexation process currently under consideration by the Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo).

 

In east Contra Costa, one-time Measure X funds of $12.2 million will support the rebuilding and reopening of Fire Station 54 in downtown Brentwood. It will be staffed with a three-person fire engine crew, of which one member will be a paramedic. Ongoing funds of $3.5 million annually will support salaries and benefits for the personnel assigned to this station. The planned Fire Station 51 construction project, also in Brentwood, will be completed thanks to $5 million in one-time Measure X funding.

 

In central county, Con Fire will receive one-time funds of $1.6 million to support purchase of a much-needed fire truck for Fire Station 81 in Antioch. On-going funding of $3.5 million annually will support salaries and benefits for the new truck crew along with other associated costs.

 

In west county, the City of Pinole Fire Department will receive $2 million in ongoing Measure X funds to reopen its recession-shuttered Fire Station 74 and integrate department operations into Con Fire.

 

Countywide, an annual allocation of $2.5 million will provide funding for staffing and equipment necessary to provide a year-round 14-person hand crew program to address wildfire threats, both for fire responses during fire weather and for fuels reduction and hazard abatement work during non-peak fire season. The hand crew will be staffed seven-days-per-week during fire weather and five-days-per-week the remainder of the year. Additionally, $2 million was allocated annually for a variety of ongoing wildfire risk reduction programs across the county.

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