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ECCFPD Board Recap: Response Times Are Misleading

A few days ago I posted that response times have increased from 6:34 to 7:10 based off the staff report released on Friday, now it appears those numbers may be misleading after Hugh Henderson admitted the District is still in the process of collecting data for low priority and non-responsive calls.

According to the staff report, it states the following:

In reviewing the calls for service for the month of July there were a total of 546 calls with an average response time of 7.10 minutes. Comparing this, in the month of June, the District ran 566 calls with an average response time of 6.34 minutes. The response times for the first six months of the year averaged for the District was 6:24 minutes for 3162 calls.

Looking at the response times for closed stations;

  • Station 54-downtown Brentwood, had 112 calls in the month of July with an average response time of 6.56 minutes. In June there were a total of 119 calls with an average response time of 5.22 minutes. For the six the first six months of the year there were 675 calls with an average response time of 5.23 minutes.
  • Station 94- Knightsen, had 18 calls in the month of July with an average response time of 11.15 minutes. In June there were a total of 14 calls with an average response time of 10.10 minutes. For the first six months of the year there were 71 calls with an average response time of 8.05 minutes.
  • Station 95-Bethel Island had 26 calls in the month of July with an average response time of 10.32 minutes. In the month of June there were 28 calls with an average response time of 5.34 minutes. For the first six months of the year there were 574 calls with an average response time of 7.01 minutes. NOTE: The month of June had the best average response times for the station in the past two years. It appeared that most of the calls were within a mile of the station.

But it was a question by Board Member Jim Frazier which should cause alarm to many in East County

“Chief, these response times are based off our priority calls, were there any calls that were not responded to or lower in the queue that did not require an immediate response?” asked Frazier.

“We are still working on that data on the calls that were held. These numbers are just calls we responded to immediately,” stated Chief Henderson.

“So the numbers could be skewed next month?” asked Frazier.

The chief said they will likely increase response times.

Moving on, the chief explained the four major incidents that occurred during the month of July, it was his statement that should raise awareness to those within the District.

“Although we had a busy month, you can see it takes major incident to use up all of our resources at one time,” stated Henderson.

D1: Response to Grand Jury Report: 

Barr explained that the CityGate Report is pretty old as the report was done in 2004 and approved in 2006. He stated he was concerned its dated and economy has changed. Not sure response is appropriate (reference to item 2 which states “Partially Disagree”) based on the current status of the District.

Jim Frazier: said CitygGate said we needed money then and we need money now. We are still there. (crowd laughs). Lets just give it to them and move on.

Motion passes 6-1 (Barr voted no).


Steve Barr presented a list of 8 items which are recycled ideas over the last 2 1/2 years.

Goal: Facilitate open public discussion of fire service in ECCFPD (District) and create a sustainable service model based on existing funding levels.
1) Proactive Fire suppression plan for new development possibly including;
A) Requiring fire sprinklers in all new construction district wide.
B) Any new construction not served by Fire hydrants shall provide a dedicated water supply for fire suppression.
2) Establish volunteer program to supplement current service model and evaluate the costs associated with staffing the Bethel Island, Knightsen and Byron stations with volunteer staff.
3) Explore and direct staff to solicit RFPS for contracting for fire service with Cal Fire or Con Fire or other service providers, the RFP would be the approved 2012-2013 service model.
4) Open labor negotiations and address;
A) Creating a Second Tier for new hires including pension and medical benefits.
B) Evaluate and modify current employee pension and medical contributions.
5) Direct staff to work with County EMS and other appropriate agencies(s) to review 911 emergency dispatch and call screening effectiveness.
A) Create a protocol for dispatch of medical resources.
B) Create a protocol for dispatch of firefighting resources.
6) Direct staff to evaluate current District policies for any potential streamlining or expenditure redirections
7) Direct staff to work with County EMS and AMR to ensure adequate medical first responder service.
8) Eliminate leased office space and move district office into vacant station house.

Barr said he wanted to bring this list forward to see if the Board had an interest in discussing them over the next six months.

“A lot of this we have been doing for 2 1/2 years. This is not new news,” stated Frazier. He explained with a new board coming on, now is not the time to discuss this list and maybe they should go through it.

He then proceeded to ask the Chief about Item 2 of Barrs list about how many people have submitted applications to volunteer. The chief said 22 have submitted which 14 are in district.

Kevin Romick suggested the Chief have staff create a paragraph on each item stating what we did and what we can do.

Pat Anderson suggested they remove Item 4 because because its in process and has to happen anyway. She also suggested to remove the date requirement of Item 3 because that should be an ongoing review.

Sept 10 will be the next board meeting where it’s expected to be lengthy with lots of actions the board must take with the budget.

After Meeting Conversation with Steve Barr on Appointed Board

I asked Mr. Barr about when Brentwood would be opening up their application process which he stated he hopes mid-August. He clarified comments that he believed anyone should be allowed to apply for the Board and the best and most qualified candidate should be selected. He stated that he did not agree with Robert Brockman who stated their would be concerns if firefighters or union folks served on the Board.

I then asked him about how the ECCFPD now has three separate terms for the same exact board. The County Board of Supervisors appoints two seats for a period of 4-years. Oakley has chosen to go with two-year terms while Brentwood had stated they would review annually.

Barr admitted during the council debate, this was an oversight and he didn’t realize this occurred. He said he would like to see about correcting this oversight and moving it in synch with Oakley’s two-year term. Stated it is fixable, but the council will have to amend this.


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4 Responses »

  1. What is the high/low of what the new response times will be? Not sure I understand Barrs list and why he wants to go over it again but good for him for basically saying Brockman’s comments at the last councilmeeting on fire and union folks being excluded was wrong.

  2. Wait a sec Burke, aren’t you supposed to be for these guys? Now you are saying they fibbed on their response times numbers? Now you are going to get it from all sides. I would have to agree with Steve Barr, the CityGate report is old, time for updated material.

  3. I am offended that they would put out the report on Friday with numbers that report better than reality. Not to take anything away from the firefighters, but if 7:10 is not the number, its not the number, lets be honest about it instead of false safety for people. While I do not like Frazier, at least he asked the right question as the rest of the board was apparently asleep..

  4. It is obvious that the Fire Chief (and limited staff) is overwhelmed and does not have the required resources to keep up. Does anyone else see the trend? The entire department is being pushed to the breaking point.

    This entire fiasco is like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

    Wake up people! You have effectively crippled your emergency responders to do their jobs which is to protect YOU..

    The NO on Measure S outcome has resulted in the voting public shooting themselves in the foot with the bullets provided by the Contra Costa Taxpayer’s Association (a private club). The tax request for Measure S AND Con Fire’s tax is about operational costs-NOT retirements. Figure it out people- you are paying much LESS in taxes due to lowered assessed property values. The fire department needed a portion of that revenue back to continue to function, but you said no. You were fooled into thinking you were sending a message. That didn’t really work now did it? Thanks to Kris Hunt, Dave Roberts and John Gonzales for having such limited insight.

    The outcome of the vote shows the public was asleep.

    With slower response times, fewer firefighters and staff, East County is now seeing the results directly. So much for the “threats” being just threats.

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