Home Bethel Island ECCFPD Response Times Fall to 7:01

ECCFPD Response Times Fall to 7:01

by ECT

michaelson sworn in

Chief Hugh Henderson reported last night that the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District response times fell to 7:01 minutes on average for 465 calls in March compared to 7:18 for 487 calls in February.  Meanwhile, Brentwood Vice Mayor Joel Bryant was appointed the new Board President after Kevin Romick stepped down.

With the downtown Brentwood Station expected to open in early May, response times should continue to go down as we add more coverage and the District re-acclimates itself to a five-station service model.

During Public Comments, there were two speakers from Bethel Island who spoke out about the fire on Taylor Road which left two homes destroyed and one home damaged.

Rick Carlson who had his home  damaged in the fire, but was considered a “save” by the District, commended the firefighters on saving his home.

“Obviously, it was a scary scene. I would like to commend the firefighters and their decisions made. They are the reason I am not homeless because of their efforts.  While the decision has been criticized on the Island, but I feel they were right on par. I would like to specially thank Engine 94 and Firefighter Johnson, Ben from Engine 88 on an emotional side because he helped me very much,” said Rick Carlson.

Cha-Cha Cha also spoke and criticized the district for not holding a town hall meeting after the incident and allowing rumors and opinions to run wild on the Island. She stated they could have had a town hall to explain exactly what happened, the challenges, and it could have put an end to the debate quickly.

“There is a lack of communication with this District,” proclaimed Cha. “I want all the stations back, I want the firefighters back and put where they belong. Shame on the people who voted against the parcel tax!”

Romick Steps Down

ECCFPD said goodbye to Oakley Mayor Kevin Romick last night who had been transitioning off the Board since November and welcomed Jonathan Michaelson to replace him. Romick was presented a plaque of appreciation from Joel Bryant and was thanked for his service. Romick spent the last two years as Board President.

“We just want to say as employees of Local 1230, thank you… you have always been a good sport and cared about your community,” said Gil Guerrero, Local 1230 Vice President.

“I’ve worked with you for a couple years now. You have been a person of passion, compassion and I thank you for your leadership,” stated Joel Bryant.

Joel Bryant was appointed the new President of the Board while Ronald Johansen was appointed vice president of the board.

Grant Denied:

The District did not receive a grant to add a ladder truck. It was reported the District was one of 12,000 applicants seeking $2.15 billion in funds.

Surplus Property
The Board recommended the staff come up with a policy to deal with their surplus property. They are expected to create this policy within the next 30 day to 6-months.

Request Proposal from City of Brentwood for Administrative Services
Currently this is an exploratory item where Brentwood will come back with real numbers. District staff explained that currently the IT portion of this item is comparable.

Joel Bryant asked if there was a private company that is comparable or feasible? The chief responded staff has not looked into that or tried at this point.

Director Smith stated this is a potential cost savings and instead of going across the county to Martinez, they can walk across the street to Brentwood who in his opinion has one of the bets finance departments in the County.

“If we get that same service that Brentwood gets, we will be ahead of the game,” Director Smith proclaimed.

Housing Arrangements with AMR
There was some discussion last night regarding how AMR is not paying for housing at the stations and that this is saving them money. The Board will be looking into this further as it appears there have been no updates since the original agreement in 1992 when it was a pilot program for a station that is closed in Bryon and a District that no longer exists (East Diablo Fire Protection District).

Director Johansen claims AMR is saving a lot of money by using QRV’s instead of the two paramedics on a rig. We need to address this free housing.

Director Cooper questioned how the contract from 20-years ago is still legally binding.

According to the Chief, the position AMR is taking is the District receives $1.4 million in compensation in terms of service which exceeds any cost of housing. The District will be inviting AMR to speak about this in the near future—no timetable was given.

Three Subcommittees to be Formed
The Board will meet next month to finalize the idea of creating three subcommittees to address many challenges within the District that may need additional time.

Director Smith had been working on this for a few months now and states that the District needs to show that they are on top of things. He explained how he doesn’t want the public to think they are hiding things in subcommittee, but stated the reality is that is when things can get done.

Joel Bryant explained his position is subcommittees and ad-hocs are very valuable to run ideas through before coming to the full board. It saves bad ideas from being presented and saves time. He also stated he wanted a committee created as fast as possible on a potential revenue enhancement.

“We are months behind schedule on a revenue enhancement and an ad-hoc committee could come up with service models. We don’t have 30-days to find out service models. We need it now,” said Bryant.

Bryant suggested that two of the committees being standing while one would be an ad-hoc committee. The District staff will come back next month with policy and allow for the public to provide input before they decide on a direction.

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Barbara DuMont Apr 2, 2013 - 8:15 am

Well a couple of things come to my mind-1) The fire dept didn’t need to hold a town meeting on the Island. Got a question, go to the board meeting. 2) so AMR gives the district $1.4 million, for what exactly? And is it legal for a public agency to provide free housing to a private for-profit business? 3) the discussion on the subcommittees give the impression that the board is just spinning their wheels here. Lets get moving forward.

JimSimmons42 Apr 2, 2013 - 8:17 am

Imagine a townhall meeting on every major incident a district has. Go to the meetings and ask questions.

Voter23 Apr 2, 2013 - 8:20 am

The District is not big enough for subcommittees. What a waste of time. Can’t wait for the County and AMR to push back against the District about AMR housing. Just what the District needs, more bad press.

Burk Apr 2, 2013 - 8:27 am

My opinion on the AMR topic is I am not quite sure how charging AMR to flush a toilet and wash their hands solve anything financially. AMR says they provide over a million in services… Let them prove that claim and then decide to renegotiate when the county contract is up

Grant Smith Apr 2, 2013 - 8:59 am

There is nothing earth shattering going on with the new board. They better get on the ball or be prepared to shut down stations again when the grant expires.

JigsUp Apr 2, 2013 - 9:19 am

The AMR contribution is the value put on the QRVs. The contract is between the County and AMR. The district is not in any position to dictate terms. It’s a little weird to be focusing on that when the clock is running on a 2 year grant lifeline. When that runs out you don’t have enough revenue to go back to the service model you had before the grant. Costs continue to climb while revenue is basically flat.

Focus on a revenue enhancement. There is no larger priority. The service model will be dictated by the revenue you have. Spending undue amounts of effort on service models at this time is pointless.

Right now this is nothing more than a group arguing over who gets to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. Redirect most, if not all the energy to the single most important issue facing the district.

burkforoakley Apr 2, 2013 - 9:22 am

Look at it this way, 9-directors then put on 3-subcommittees. That is 27-meetings the Board could instead meet with community groups to educate east county on the issues facing the fire district.

Barbara DuMont Apr 2, 2013 - 10:09 am

Its not the community groups that need to be reached out to. Its the uninvolved citizen that we have to reach. These people go to work and go home. They don’t read the paper/internet and don’t pay any attention to their community. Look at the number of people that voted vs the number of people that live here. The vast majority of people do not think or care about their emergency services until they need them. Then its WHY? why was the response so slow, where were the paramedics, why did the police stop that drunk before he hit me, and on and on………

Former Chamber Member Apr 2, 2013 - 10:51 am

If you ignore the community groups and assume they will blindly follow the district you are mistaken. The community groups help earn you votes and it doesn’t happen over night, it takes many months of careful discussion and planning to get them on board. Burk and DuMont are both half right. Together, they will find a happy medium.

Barbara DuMont Apr 2, 2013 - 11:45 am

Yes you still have to meet with the community groups but the larger population is the one that does not vote or is easily swayed by groups like the Contra Costa Taxpayers Assn. If a fire tax is to pass, we have to reach out to our neighbors and educate them. I discovered last time that out of 6 households with over 20 registered voters, my household was the only one educated on the fire tax. That left 14 registered voters were planning on voting no to increased tax. That is all they saw. After talking to them and showing them what was gong to happen, they all told me that they would support a fire tax.

Jose Apr 2, 2013 - 7:32 pm

We do not need a fire tax. We need responsible people who know how to manage the funds appropriated. Screw the tax just like the county screws us. Instead of wasting more money on something that has already been rejected, brainstorm new ideas for revenue. The county and state are loaded with wasteful bucks. Try dipping into those dollars like the other progressives do. It is all about politics today and who can smooze the politicians for some of the pork. My taxes just went up when our President said they wouldn’t. My weekly check has dropped with higher taxes. While the government gets more we get less. Next will be Obamacare and it will raise medical costs 30% for most. Lets get something back for our taxes instead of more taxes.

B-Wood Apr 3, 2013 - 10:30 am

Jose, what is wrong? Did you get tired of using the “Voter” Pseudonym? Someone pee in your cheerios? Dropped on the head as a child? Take too many “vitamins” at some point?

Let’s review it one more time for you.

Our little tiny fire district does not have a spending problem. It has a revenue problem. It is simple math. Nothing will change that-especially you. As long as there is no increased funding, the district will continue to struggle. I know you don’t want to pay your fair share, but sooner or later that is how it will have to work out. Crying about it or trying to rearrange the facts will never change the simple economics of the situation. Period.

The “responsible people” have tried to manage the little funding they have, but as my wise grandmother used to say; “You cannot squeeze blood out of a turnip”.

I see your new ideas include robbing from Peter to pay Paul. You then said, “The county and state are loaded with wasteful bucks’. What State and which County do you live in? Do you even read or comprehend the State and County’s running deficits-or how they cannot co mingle funding? Dipping into those dollars like other progressives?

You call for “responsible people to manage the funds that are appropriated” then go on to suggest ridiculous things like; “The county and state are loaded with wasteful bucks. Try dipping into those dollars like the other progressives do.” You are a moron.

The news was just released that county and city taxes are up everywhere….Everywhere EXCEPT here. That’s right, 9 cities and 3 Counties-but NOT here! Do you even read? http://www.boe.ca.gov/sutax/pam71.htm

Nice try at an attempt to confuse the issue by using your frustration with National politics and Federal taxes. It doesn’t wash with those that understand the differences.

Better luck next time.

Barbara DuMont Apr 3, 2013 - 12:08 pm

Let me tell you how I really feel: I am sick and tired of these people that keep spouting “we need responsible people to manage the money” “fire fighters are over paid” etc. and in the next breathe demanding more and better services. Well we were all quite happy living in our small rural communities. We had a volunteer fire service staffed by 2 or 3 generations because that was expected of you-give back to your community. Our fire depts didn’t have much money, every year we had a Fireman’s Ball to raise funds. When we wanted to get a jaws of life, we spent a couple of YEARS raising the money. Then developers discovered cheap land and thing went to hell. People started moving out here. And the issues started. We have to have a professional fire dept. We have to have paramedics. The fire whistles are too loud and go off in the middle of the night. We tried to tell you people that we didn’t have the revenue for the professional fire dept that was being demanded but hey, what the hell, there is money in the reserve, lets spend it and somewhere down the road figure this out. Well the bill has come due, the reserve is gone and no solution has ever been found. Calls for service has increased with the population but we have less stations opened than we had 30 years ago!! Its time for people to pull their heads out of their butts and decide what the hell they want and to live with it. If they don’t want to pay a tax, then don’t complain when your home burns to the ground. And as to the medical calls I challenge you to come up with a workable plan that meets state law. You can’t just say that we aren’t responding to medicals. And there just isn’t any way to triage medical calls over the phone. People can make a stubbed toe sound like life or death. Other people can down play a major medical issue to something simple.

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