Firefighters Launch Parcel Tax Initiative Information Page

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The United Professional Fire Fighters of Contra Costa County put up a very informative page on website yesterday that will assist residents in finding relevant information regarding the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (CCCFPD) 2012 Parcel Tax Initiative.

While this information relates directly towards our friends in West County, there is some good information that relates to East County and puts to rest some of the misconceptions that have plagued ECCFPD for months now.  Below I have pulled information  from the documents while the links provide the full documents and videos which are worthwhile viewing.

The thing to remember here is that neither ECCFPD or CONFIRE was ever set up to be strictly a fire only response unit, they are set up in conjunction with AMR and other agencies to be an emergency response unit as a team.

Here are a few talking points taken from the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Tax Workshop. I thought these were the key points out of the entire presentation.

Con Fire is first to respond to:

  • Medical Emergencies
  • Structure Fires
  • Vehicle Accidents
  • Vegetation Fires
  • Other Emergencies

What CCCFPD Does

  • Fire Prevention
    • Code Enforcement Inspections
    • Engineering – plan review/approval
    • Fire System Testing
    • Vegetation Management/Enforcement
  • Life Safety Education for “at risk” (young children and mature adults) population.
  • Smoke Detector Program
  • Maintain Fire Trails for access/fire suppression
  • Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
  • Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program

How Have We Reduced Expenditures?

  • Concessions by firefighters, administrators and staff (10% salary reduction, lower starting salaries, increased health care and pension contributions)
  • Furloughs for non-operational staff
  • Non-operational positions held vacant
  • Eliminated positions and laid off employees in 2010
  • Controlled non-minimum staffing overtime
  • Deferred capital (fleet and facilities) purchases and repairs/improvements
  • Reduced operating costs and discretionary spending
  • Leverage federal/state grant opportunities
  • Value engineer all functions
  • De-staffed unit in January 2011 and scheduled to de-staff a second unit in July 2012. Still maintaining service from all 28 local fire stations
  • IAFF Local-1230 has agreed to discuss a new pension tier in July 2012
  • Exhausted reserve funds to maintain service levels

What will happen without additional revenue?

  • Fire Stations – 8 to10 Closed
  • On-Duty Staffing – 30% Fewer Firefighters/Paramedics
  • Response Times – Critical Delays in Emergency Response
  • ISO Rating – 5?
  • Insurance Increases – $230 annually for a $250,000 home (GA study) Increase 4-11% (SC study)

What is significant about this slide is Chief Louder is on record stating, “As fire chief, what I cannot do is lose 7-10 companies out of our community fire protection system. I can’t protect the community that way. Regardless of what delivery system you want to talk about, regardless of staffing levels or anything else. I can’t protect this community of 600,000 people with 7-10 less fire companies out there. That is just a given,” said Louder.

During the presentation, the Chief explained that ISO rating increases occurred when fire services were reduced in Georgia by $230 and South Carolina increased  by 4-11% depending on location of a fire station—in both cases, it would have been cheaper on parcel owners to pay the parcel tax.

The following section is interesting facts I’ve learned from the documents provided.

  • Critical brain damage occurs in 4-6 minutes without oxygen
  • Brain death occurs in 8-minutes
  • Fire-based paramedics really are an integral part of the County EMS Plan
  • Structure fires double in size every 2-minutes
  • Structure fires reach “flashover” in less than 8-minutes
  • ICMA recommends 1-firefighter per 1,000 population or 600 personnel.
  • NFPA recommends 4-person staffing per unit. The District currently has 3-person staffing.
  • NIST (structure fire) and San Diego State University (wildland fire) studies show that it takes 30% longer to complete critical tasks with 2-person staffing.

CONFIRE Documents

Letter to Fire District Service Area Regarding Tax Measure – June 2012

Revenue Measure Feasibility & Planning Project

Public Workshop Presentation

Parcel Tax Tracking Survey

Five Year Budget Projection

Recent Videos With Fire Chief Daryl Louder and CCCFPD Revenue Measure Discussion

Fire Board Meeting at the Board of Supervisors Chambers on June 26th

Contra Costa Taxpayer’s Association Video Part A – Fire Chief Introduction & Background

Contra Costa Taxpayer’s Association Video Part B – Q&A Session