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United Professional Firefighters Of Contra Costa County

Creek & Flood Channel Safety Awareness

With the forecast for heavy rains over the next few days our normally calm creeks and channels can become full of swift moving water and debris without warning. Please stay out of the creeks and channels and Stay Alive!

We must take advantage of this opportunity to speak to our children and friends about the dangers of fast moving storm water and the almost certain fate that awaits anyone who goes into rain swollen creeks and channels.

The flood control channels are part of our community’s infrastructure and, like freeways or railroad tracks, should never be used for recreation. The flood control channels are designed to drain storm water from our communities and take it swiftly “out to sea”, preventing flooding. Water from the surrounding watershed area first gathers in small streams and creeks and then flows into the large channels for a swift trip to the Delta, Carquinez Strait and San Pablo Bay. This storm water can pass from small open creeks to large underground tunnels; from narrow rocky stream beds to wide concrete channels; all the while gathering debris, speed, volume and power. At key points along the way, large structures have been built into the system to slow down the water and control the power. This allows the water to flow back into wide earthen channels without destroying their natural habitat or causing erosion. These structures are an efficient tool in managing our floodwaters but can be deadly for humans.

Please talk to your children and friends about the flood control channels. Appreciate the great job they do for our community, but leave the channels to storm water and Stay Out, Stay Alive!

Our website also has additional educational topics under Community Outreach such as flood preparedness tips and fire safety tips.

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Sandbag Locations in Unincorporated Contra Costa County

The Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff is providing information on sandbags for the unincorporated areas of the County. Residents must provide their own shovel and transportation. Sand and the bags are available at:

West County Detention Facility, 5555 Giant Hwy, Richmond.
Sandbags are cached on site in a container at the sand cradle located on the south side of the facility public parking area.

Bay Point:
Ambrose Recreation & Park Center — 3105 Willow Pass Road, Bay Point. West side of the parking lot next to one of the trees approximately ¾ of the way back to the playing fields. Sandbags are cached in a container on site at the sand cradle.

Senior Center, 215 Second Street, Oakley.
Materials are located at the south end of the parking lot beside a large tree adjacent to the Office of the Sheriff Delta Station.

County Public Works, 2475 Waterbird Way, Pacheco.
Sandbags are cached in a container on site at the sand cradle.

Walnut Creek:
Howe Homestead, 2950 Walnut Boulevard, Walnut Creek.
Materials are located in the parking lot.

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Overview of the 9-1-1 Emergency Fire Response Measure for East Contra Costa Fire District

A federal grant that keeps two of our local fire stations open is set to expire in November and cannot be renewed or extended. Unless new revenue is secured now, two local fire stations must close permanently and 18 firefighter/EMT positions will be eliminated.

This would leave 250 square miles and over 100,000 residents in East County with just three fire stations and nine on-duty firefighter/EMTs to keep us safe.

If two more fire stations close this year and we lose 40% of the firefighter/EMTs currently serving East County, 9-1-1 emergency fire response times will increase to 15 minutes or more. Fires double in size every 30 seconds and, when deprived of oxygen, permanent brain damage can occur in as little as four minutes and brain death in as little as eight minutes.

This week you are receiving a ballot in the mail and your vote will determine the future of local 9-1-1 fire response. A YES vote will provide locally controlled revenue that can only be used to:

1. Preserve rapid 9-1-1 emergency response times
2. Protect the fire department’s ability to respond to multiple emergencies occurring at the same time
3. Maintain fire stations, fire engines and lifesaving equipment
4. Prevent the permanent closing of two local fire stations
5. Prevent the reduction of the number of on-duty firefighter/EMTs

Strict fiscal accountability is required:

- Every penny raised will be spent here in East County
- Funds can only be used for fire protection and emergency response services
- No funds can be taken away by the state or county or used for other purposes
- An independent citizens’ oversight committee and annual audits ensure funds are spent properly
- The proposal automatically expires in five years and cannot be extended without another vote

This stable local funding comes at a very small price to pay, approximately 30 cents per day for the typical homeowner, to keep 9-1-1 emergency fire response services alive in East County.

Vote YES to Protect Rapid 9-1-1 Fire Response in East County!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What area does East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) serve?
- ECCFPD provides fire, rescue and emergency medical services in a 249 square mile area of Eastern Contra Costa County. The District basically covers the Cities of Brentwood and Oakley, the Town of Discovery Bay, the communities of Byron, Bethel Island and Knightsen, the Marsh Creek/Morgan Territory area, and all other areas to the East of Antioch and East and South of Clayton. It serves a population of 105,000.

How was the District impacted by the recent recession?
- The District relies primarily on property tax revenue and the Great Recession and associated decrease in property values led to a 40% decrease in funding for local fire and emergency medical response.

What has the District done so far to live within its means?
- The District has closed three of the original eight local fire stations; reduced fire suppression employees from 57 to 48; frozen salaries from 2007 until 2012; reduced administrative employees from 4 to 2; sold its surplus equipment; and reduced budgeted expenditures to a minimum. Additionally, our firefighter/Emergency Medical Technicians’ (EMTs) take-home salaries are reduced by up to 25% by contributions for pensions and healthcare.

How would further service reductions impact emergency response times in East County?
- If two fire stations close and 18 firefighter/EMTs are laid off, 9-1-1 emergency response times to portions of East County could increase to 15 minutes or more. For victims of heart attacks, strokes, accidents and other medical emergencies, permanent brain damage can occur in as little as four minutes and brain death in as little as eight minutes. The District’s ability to respond to multiple emergencies at the same time will be especially hampered.

Why is the District proposing a 9-1-1 Fire Suppression Measure?
- A temporary federal grant that keeps two of our local fire stations open everyday is set to expire on November 17, 2014. The grant cannot be renewed or extended. The Fire District Board of Directors has made substantial budget cuts and has evaluated all options for funding. Unless new revenue is secured between now and November, two local fire stations must close and 18 firefighter/EMTs will be laid off. This will leave 249 square miles in East County with just 3 fire stations and 9 on-duty firefighter/EMTs to keep us safe.

What will the 9-1-1 Emergency Fire Response Measure fund?
- Preserving 9-1-1 emergency response times
- Maintaining the number of on-duty firefighter/EMTs
- Keeping local fire stations open
- Maintaining the ability to respond to multiple 9-1-1 emergencies

How can I be sure these funds will be spent wisely?
- The 9-1-1 Fire Suppression Measure will require strict fiscal accountability provisions, including:
- All funds will stay in East County
- No funds can be taken by the state or other agencies
- Mandatory annual audits and reports to the community will be required
- No funds can be used for administrative costs or administrator salaries
- An independent Citizens’ Oversight Committee will ensure funds are spent as promised

What will happen if the 9-1-1 Fire Suppression Measure does not pass?
- The Fire District’s projected budget will only support three fire stations and nine on-duty first responders to serve 249 square miles and 105,000 residents in East County. This will require closing two fire stations and reducing the number of on-duty firefighters by 40%.

How is the District funded?
- The majority of District funding comes from a fixed percentage of the 1% Property Tax on assessed valuation of all parcels within the District. This percentage is capped by Prop 13 and is not at the discretion of the District. The District also receives additional funding through federal grants, which only provide funding for a limited number of years. The District currently has a federal SAFER Grant, which will expire in November. If replacement funding is not secured, this loss will lead to the closure of two fire stations and have a direct impact on local 9-1-1 emergency response times.

Are there other significant sources of funds to which the District has access?
- No. The District has no access to the General Fund of the County or either City within the District. The District receives a portion of the $10 County EMS fee, which provides 2% of the budget. The District receives income from one Community Facilities District, that of Cypress Lakes (Summer Lakes), which provides 1.5% of the budget. These funding sources are insufficient to help maintain the current levels of emergency response services. Any additional funding must be approved by local voters residing in the District.

How do the salaries of our local firefighter/EMTs compare to others in the area?
- East County firefighter/EMTs are already paid 40% less than those in nearby fire departments.

What can be done to reduce pension costs?
- East County firefighter/EMTs already pay a significant portion of their own pension costs, which reduced their take-home salaries by up to 25%. New employees were shifted to a smaller pension plan, assuring that all employees pay their fair share. The Board has done everything it is legally authorized to do.

When will I have the opportunity to vote on the 9-1-1 Fire Suppression Measure?
- Ballots were mailed out to all property owners in the District August 22 and must be received by October 6 to be counted.

What if I don’t receive my ballot in the mail?
- If you did not receive your ballot or can’t find it, please call TrueBallot at 888-854-3190.

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5 Contra Costa County FPD Fire Stations Closed

7 Fire Engine Crews Shut Down


List of Closed Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Stations:


Station 4 in Walnut Creek: 700 Hawthorne Drive, Walnut Creek, 94596

Station 11 in Clayton6500 Center Street, Clayton, 94517

Station 12 in Martinez1240 Shell Avenue, Martinez, 94553

Station 16 in Lafayette4007 Los Arabis Drive, Lafayette, 94549

Station 87 in Pittsburg800 W. Leland Road, Pittsburg, 94565 


Additional Fire Engine Crews Shut Down:

Station 1 in Walnut Creek1330 Civic Drive, Walnut Creek, 94596

Station 6 in Concord2210 Willow Pass Road, Concord, 94520 


Is Yours Next?

Please contact your represented board of supervisors for your home town. Their contact information can be found through the following link:



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Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Contact Information

All concerns regarding any fire station closure or fire service reductions & cut-backs for Contra Costa County Fire should be directed to your local board of supervisors. Their contact information can be found through the link at the bottom.

We also send out updates and information on our Twitter account @CCCFirefighters, our blog (, and our Facebook page at

Thank you for all of your continued interest and concerns for your local fire department!

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Why Do We Send a Fire Engine to a Medical Emergency?

Many people haven’t thought of what to expect when they dial 911. If they have, they may figure that a call for help means that someone will show up relatively quickly and deal with their problem. If someone were to ask you why you would call 911 you would list a handful of situations. At the top of that list would likely be a medical emergency, fire, burglar and the like. But do you give much thought to who shows up or how they get there and who decided that is the best way to respond to your emergency call? In these challenging economic times, we are all looking for ways to save money, reduce waste, and eliminate duplications in services, but is sending a fire engine with three specially trained professionals a duplication of service?

When you call 911 in Contra Costa County, your 911 call is routed to the Fire District for emergency medical calls. Every Fire District dispatcher is certified in emergency medical dispatch (EMD) and trained to ask a series of questions to determine the best response.

Why send a fire engine? The Fire District is the primary medical first responder in most communities due to short response times, a skilled workforce, and the ability to bring time-sensitive, life-saving interventions to a patient quickly. Think of a fire engine as a multi-use platform for fires, rescue, and emergency medical service (EMS) calls where three trained professionals are always ready and available for the next emergency call, whatever it is. The apparatus are big and expensive but very versatile. They are like a giant tool box filled with the tools that can save your life.

The current EMS delivery model in our county includes a priority dispatch of the closest paramedic fire engine with a typical response time of 4-6 minutes. A simultaneous dispatch of a private paramedic ambulance with a required (by contract) response time of no more than 11 minutes and 45 seconds occurs. The Emergency Medical Dispatcher will give pre-arrival instructions to the 911 caller, if applicable. The engine will arrive to evaluate the situation and begin patient treatment. The ambulance will arrive and, depending on the situation, either assist fire paramedics already at the scene or take over patient care prior to transport to the appropriate hospital. Regardless of who arrives first, the fire and ambulance crews work together to provide you with patient care.

Recent advances in emergency medicine have contributed to increases in patient survival rates. Our county has a survival rate of 35.5% for witnessed cardiac arrests with a shockable heart rhythm. That percentage is astounding compared to the national average of 20.5%. The combined efforts of the County EMS Authority, our Fire District, AMR ambulance, and the hospital system continue to make a difference!

While the primary mission of the fire service has changed dramatically in the past fifty years, fires still occur with regular frequency in our county. In our Fire District, we still experience a significant level of fire activity, both structural and wildland. The geographical coverage afforded by fire station locations and the number of fire engines within our Fire District allows us the capability to address both fire and emergency medical response.

Our County has an integrated EMS team. The County EMS Authority, who has the ultimate responsibility for the delivery of these services, has worked diligently to provide the highest level of EMS care possible. Working together, the emergency medical dispatch, fire engines with advanced life support paramedics, transport ambulances, and emergency rooms do not provide a duplication of service but rather an organized systematic approach to medical emergencies in our county. The initial response, detection, and treatment of critical trauma, stroke and heart attack provide our residents with the best chance for survival. Current survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest are at the highest in the county’s history and every responder in the system makes significant contributions to that success.
The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District provides 23 staffed fire companies with three personnel – at least one of those personnel on each fire apparatus is a paramedic. Our fire apparatus provide all the necessary tools, equipment, supplies, drugs, and medications to provide advanced life support emergency medical care.

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The Relationship of Fire Department First Response to Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

Fire services play a vital role in providing an engine "first response" to 9-1-1 medical emergencies. In some areas (Moraga-Orinda and San Ramon Valley) fire services also provide emergency ambulance response. In other areas of Contra Costa County, emergency ambulance response to 9-1-1 calls is provided by a private company, American Medical Response (AMR).

With significant budgetary pressures currently affecting nearly all public sector entities, Contra Costa County has already been impacted by cutbacks in fire service in some areas, and may see more cutbacks in the months ahead. Fire station closures mean fewer fire engines available for medical first response. Where first responder response times are delayed, critical interventions needed in the early stages of some calls may be delayed and, in the most serious cases, treatment delays may affect patient outcome. The coordinated response of fire and ambulance services is an essential partnership in the care of 9-1-1 patients.

Although 9-1-1 ambulance response times are not impacted be these changes, ambulance service cannot duplicate fire first response times or activities.

To learn more about how the Contra Costa County EMS System works and the roles of first responders, dispatch centers, and fire agencies, click on the link below to take you to the Contra Costa Health Services "Report to the LAFCO" dated August 2012.

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FAQ - Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

Getting emergency medical help to your location requires many partnerships when calling 9-1-1: a 9-1-1 telephone system must route calls to a dispatch center; the dispatch center must gather information and communicate it to field personnel; field personnel must stabilize the patient; the ambulance and/or helicopter must transport the patient to the hospital; the hospital must triage the patient, possibly further stabilize the patient, and send him or her to the appropriate specialist.

Click on the link to our FAQ section to find more information on what emergency medical services (EMS) is and how it is delivered to you in Contra Costa County.

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Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Fire Explorer Program

The Contra Costa County Fire District Explorer Program is designed for young adults between the ages of 14 to 21 that live in Contra Costa County who are interested in learning about a career in the Fire Service. The program is a joint venture with the Boy Scouts of America’s Learning for Life. In addition to learning about the Fire Service, the Explorer program’s main goal is to provide the young adult with a sense of responsibility to their neighborhood through on-going community related activities.

An Explorer program is typically the first opportunity for most young people interested in a career in the fire service to see an in depth view at what it takes to become a professional firefighter. You will be enveloped in fire service etiquette, culture and the wonderful history of the fire service. You will be exposed to intensive training and stressful scenarios to begin the firm foundation required to become a professional firefighter. This is not an easy job; we are looking for the future of our organization, and will have the highest standards.

After meeting the program’s entrance requirements, you will be given an opportunity to attend a minimum of 12 drills in a year. At the drills, you will be trained by Professional Firefighters and will learn: fire fighting skills, hose lay evolutions, ladder techniques, salvage operations, wildland fire fighting procedures, proper use of fire fighting tools and equipment, breathing apparatus use and other related subjects. Upon completing various certification requirements, you will be qualified to ride along on an Engine or Truck and respond to actual fire and medical emergencies. During these 12 and 24 hour ride a-longs, you will use the training you received in the monthly drills to assist Department personnel on emergency incidents and participate in other station activities and duties.

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Contra Costa County Fire - Free Smoke Alarm Program



Including the communities of Antioch, Bay Point, Clayton, Clyde, Concord, El Sobrante, Lafayette, Martinez, Pacheco, Pinole (Tara Hills/Unincorporated Area), Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Port Chicago, Richmond (North/Unincorporated Area), San Pablo, and Walnut Creek






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Contra Costa County Community Warning System (CWS)

The Contra Costa County Community Warning System (CWS) is a comprehensive warning system for alerting people in Contra Costa County to imminent threats to their life or health. In partnership with local industry, government, news media, and the public, the community will be alerted and informed of emergencies through various forms of communication:

* sirens near major industrial facilities and safety zones
* Countywide telephone notification system
* NOAA Weather Radio
* Radio, TV, and Cable via the Emergency Alert System (EAS)
* Cell phone notification
* Twitter alerts ~ follow CoCoCWS

Different hazards may call for you to take different actions to protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors. You may be advised to "shelter in place" where you are or get ready to evacuate, or you may be asked to do something else to help emergency responders.

When asked to "shelter in place":

1. shelter inside away from the outside air
2. shut and lock doors and windows; turn off vents, air conditioners, and fans
3. listen for notifications and broadcasts of official information learn about how long to shelter in place and what you can do protect your health


Go to:

Enter your cell phone number and zip codes for which you'd like to receive alerts.

For more information call 925-313-9622 or

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County ARSON Tip Line

You can help fight fires! Call the Arson Tip Line at 1-866-50-ARSON to leave a recorded message about fire-related criminal activity, in English or Spanish. You can leave an anonymous tip, but sometimes the Fire Investigator needs to call you back for more information, so we ask for your name and phone number. All investigations are treated confidentially.

Community involvement is critical to solving cases of arson. In general, the citizens of Contra Costa County are very helpful in providing authorities information about crimes that have occurred in their communities.

You can make a difference! When you call the Arson Tip Line, don’t worry if you think the information you have seems too little or unimportant. Some of our best tips come from citizens who were not aware that what they saw was really very important to the investigation of an incident.

1. What is “ARSON”

Arson can be where someone intentionally, recklessly, or unlawfully sets a fire or is responsible for starting a fire.

2. When should you call the tip line?

You should call when you actually see or hear who was involved in the fire.

3. If you call the tip line, will someone respond immediately?

Remember, the “tip line” is for messages that we will check every day. If you need immediate assistance, call your local law enforcement agency or the fire department directly.

4. If you leave a message, is your information anonymous?

Yes, your information can be anonymous if you wish. Please specify in your message if you do not want to be identified or contacted by investigators. But remember, a good witness is one of the best crime fighting tools there is!

** Arson Tip: It is up to ALL of us to do the right thing. Let’s stomp out firesetters! For additional information please call the Contra Costa Fire Protection District main office at (925)941-3300.

Arson is a Crime!

Arson Tip Line: 1-866-50-ARSON

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