United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County Press Release - July 2 2013

United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County Press Release

July 2, 2013

For Immediate Release

SIGNIFICANT INCIDENTS & IMPACT OF FIRE STATION CLOSURES IN CONTRA COSTA COUNTY - JULY 2013

Just three days before July 4, 2013, the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District and the East Contra Costa Fire District were proven to be unable to provide enough resources to respond to the major incidents that are part of the normal operations during this time of the year. Let alone the day to day calls; according to the Firefighters Local 1230 President, Vince Wells. “Both systems were tested today, and both were dangerously overwhelmed, leaving areas without coverage for long periods of time. We had 7 alarms working simultaneously. There were multiple incidents being worked at the same time, which should be anticipated during this time of the year; especially with the high heat and dry conditions. Both jurisdictions were dependent on resources from surrounding agencies. Despite the assistance, many areas continued to lack adequate coverage for any other significant event. Contra Costa County Fire Protection District is normally the agency that provides assistance to other smaller agencies in the county; now we have become the agency in need. It is quite embarrassing based on our size,” says President Wells.

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, who is responsible for fire and emergency services for 9 cities, including; Antioch, Pittsburg, Martinez, San Pablo, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Clayton, and the unincorporated areas of the county, including; El Sobrante, Clyde, Pacheco, North Richmond, Tara Hills, Bay View, and Bay Point, has de-staffed 6 of its 30 Engine Companies, with a seventh closure scheduled in Pittsburg effective July 8, 2013. This is due to the loss of property taxes collected which provides for 90% of the District’s revenue.

We hope that with the increases in assessed value of property reported by the County Assessor this week, that the Board of Supervisors will reconsider the closure scheduled for July 8, 2013 and January 1, 2013. The events of today was just a small example of the impacts that the cuts already made have had on our ability to provide fire protection to the communities within the District.

We are hopeful that we can begin to move forward with re-opening our closed fire stations and bringing our staffing levels back up to what is necessary for a county the size of Contra Costa. The number of firefighters on the streets today, compared to the amount of hazards and population; puts us way below the industry standard.

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If you’d like more information or to schedule an interview please contact
Vince Wells, President at 925.932.1230 or [email protected]