After months of organizing and training probationary firefighters, the District is now prepared to open Station #54 in downtown Brentwood. Here is a Press Release issued from the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County, Local 1230 late Thursday night.
Great news for Local 1230 Firefighters and the communities they protect
Tomorrow morning May 1, at 8:00 am, East Contra Costa County Fire District, Fire Station 54, will be re-opened. Fire Station 54 is located in downtown Brentwood. Tomorrow it will be re-opened and staffed with three firefighters per day as it was prior to its closure on July 1, 2012 due to budget cuts. This is due to the fact that the Fire District received a Federally Funded S.A.F.E.R Grant back in November, 2012. This funding source was created to assist in the maintenance of public safety services for communities that met the grant criteria since the economic downturn.
Station 54 was one of the three fire stations closed in the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District after the failure of Measure S. The grant has allowed the Fire District to re-open two of the three fire stations closed last July.
The grant was received by the District in November, and allowed for the rehiring of the 15 firefighters that were laid off July of 2012. Many of those firefighters have found jobs in other jurisdictions, so new fire fighters were needed to fill the number required to receive the grant which is why it has taken so long.
Station 94, in Knightsen, was re-opened in December of last year, upon the return of the remaining laid off fire fighters. The new fire fighters hired to re-staff Station 54, have graduated and have completed their training requirement which allows for its re-opening.
“We are excited to have this historic fire station re-opened and to have new fire fighters on board,” says Vince Wells, President of the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County, Local 1230, who represents them. “Perfect timing. We are entering into what seems likely to be a very busy fire season. The neighboring Contra Costa County Fire Protection District has eliminated 6 engine companies and proposes to close two more this coming fiscal year. With automatic aid in place, what happens in one neighboring District impacts the other; this is great news!”
Local 1230 Vice President Gil Guerrero, who is a Fire Captain in the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District says, “The staffing provided by the SAFER grant is greatly appreciated. It allows us to bring back laid off firefighters and to provide the much needed staffing to cover a district this size. During the period of the closures it has been rough on the firefighters and the community.
Guerrero added, “We have been overwhelmed with emergency calls and have had to cover the community with very limited resources. We have had several very significant emergency incidents that were escalated due to the lack of staffing and delayed response. The return of Fire Station 54 to full service, will have a significant impact on our ability to respond and mitigate multiple or major emergencies.”
Unfortunately the grant funding is only guaranteed for two years. It is hopeful that a more permanent revenue stream is established by the expiration of the grant. The SAFER grant expires in November of 2014.