Joint Venture with the Contra Costa County Sheriffs Office
In 2015 the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District began a partnership with the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office to provide an increased level of service for the Sheriff's Air Support Unit (ASU), using their two helicopters, STARR 1 & STARR 3. This partnership has provided an enhanced cability of their helicopters, while providing a broadened scope of service throughout Contra Costa County.
During daylight operations, a CCCFPD Fire Captain/Paramedic is added to the helicopter flight crew making the crew a total of three. All three members are trained to a higher level of air rescue abilities and wildland firefighting. Now in their 2nd season of the partnership, there have been many rescues so far, making an impact throughout the County and providing an additional level of service from the Fire District and the Sheriff's Office.
Some of the operations the helicopter crews are able to perform include: performing rescues in difficult or remote locations, short haul rope rescue, aerial support for large scale incidents including lighting, aerial reconnasisance, infrared camera (FLIR) and wildland fire mapping, and bucket water drops for wildland fires.
While STARR 1 & STARR 3 are not medical transport helicopters and will not transport a patient to a local hospital, they are able to perform a rescue and then transfer patient care from the Fire Department Paramedic to a waiting ambulance or transport medical helicopter. STARR helicopter operations are based out of Buchanan Airport in Concord and typically can respond to most areas of the County quite rapidly from their central location.