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As Fire Season Arrives, Reduction of Services Ahead for East Contra Costa Fire Protection District
East Contra Costa Fire Protection District News Release
Release Date: June 10, 2020
For Immediate Release
Brentwood, CA — East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD), the local fire agency
serving Brentwood and Oakley Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Knightsen, Byron, Marsh Creek,
and Morgan Territory announced today, that due to severe under-funding, it has been forced to
take new, urgent measures to maintain its extremely limited operations and keep firefighters safe.
Starting July 1, the Fire District will only send firefighters inside a burning building if human life
is at risk. Due to the extreme conditions resulting from a 3-station deficit, ECCFPD firefighters
are being forced to spread themselves across 3 stations not 6, covering 250 square miles. This
is pushing our firefighters to their limits as they respond to twice as many calls for help.
Furthermore, the added strain of unbalanced “automatic aid” agreements with other county fire
departments are becoming unsustainable. ECCFPD must now focus on containing the fire to the
structure involved. Unfortunately, this defensive first operation strategy raises the safety risk
factors for families, businesses, and for property within our communities just as the 2020 fire
season is getting underway. Also announced by ECCFPD today: all public outreach events and
station visits will be eliminated indefinitely.
The safety risk of being under-funded and short 3 fire stations is real and growing, according to
ECCFPD Fire Chief Brian Helmick. “In fire emergencies, every second counts. When a fire or
emergency strikes, you need help fast. Response times matter. Delayed response times can
allow a fire to double in size every 30 seconds. But our reality is that East Contra Costacommunities, your homes, businesses, and your families will, on average, face slower
responses than national standards recommend, when you call 911.”
“Due to severe under-funding, our firefighters are continually overrun responding to calls,
maintaining required training and trying to be active in public education. We must take
necessary steps to save lives and provide the safest environment for our workforce, so
firefighters are ready and able to answer the call when it comes,” Chief Helmick added.
“These are not steps we want to take – and candidly, they may not be the last. We may have
to consider other, even more drastic measures” said Chief Helmick, adding, “The reality is, we
have to live within our means and keep our firefighters safe. We are working tirelessly to
address our severe funding shortfall, including correcting past oversights and renegotiating
developer fees and other fees that should have been put into place decades ago. We are also
practicing full transparency, asking our community for input, and continuously
LISTENING in every direction. Our goal is to find common ground that helps shape a local
ballot measure that our community can support, authorizing a new, stable and reliable (i.e.
guaranteed, sustainable and sufficient) local funding source that secures adequate ECCFPD
fire protection in the future and that doesn't take resources away from our public service
Learn more at www.eccfpd.org.
### ABOUT THE EAST CONTRA COSTA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT:
The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) is a rural-funded fire district that currently operates 3 fire stations and has a 3-station deficit. The District protects a population of more than 128,000 across its 249 square-mile service area. ECCFPD provides firefighting personnel, emergency medical services (basic life support) and fire prevention to the residents and businesses of the cities of Brentwood and Oakley, and unincorporated communities of Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Knightsen, Byron, Marsh Creek, and Morgan Territory. Learn more at www.eccfpd.org or social media via Facebook (East Contra Costa Fire Protection
District), Instagram(@east_contra_costa_fire), Twitter (@ECCFPD ) or our YouTube channel (East Contra Costa Fire Protection District). ###