6/5/13

Grand Jury Report: EMS and Fire Services

The Contra Costa Grand Jury has issued a report (available here) urging all stakeholders to collaborate to solve our County's issues with emergency medical and fire services:

Confronted with an unwillingness on the part of citizens to vote for ballot initiatives to increase funding to support current fire protection and emergency response service models, the Board of Supervisors of Contra Costa County has taken an important step in identifying new, alternative delivery models that potentially hold the promise, if implemented, for greatly improved efficiency and better alignment with budgetary constraints.

By hiring an independent consultant, Fitch & Associates, LLC (Fitch), to review current practices, evaluate current needs, and make recommendations on how best to provide a realistic level of service for citizens, the Board acknowledged the need for a better model. The results of the study may have implications for fire districts throughout the County.

It is encouraging that the County has requested, and the consultant has promised, that a “greenfield” or “whiteboard” approach will be taken, one that allows a thorough review of the status quo and consideration of new and innovative ways to provide acceptable service in a cost-effective manner.


Much work will remain to be done after the report has been completed near the end of the year. The timing appears to be excellent for a long-overdue, collaborative effort between fire districts and the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). Cooperation, commitment, and leadership from fire boards, LAFCO, and the Board of Supervisors will be critical to move the process forward and address the concerns of all interested parties.

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