Con Fire delivers increased operational capacity in East County

Adds four-firefighter crew at Fire Station 92 in Brentwood, Advanced Life Support capability now districtwide

By Steve Hill, PIO, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District (Con Fire) announced, Thursday, April 13, 2023, operational staffing of a completely new crew at Fire Station 92 in Brentwood and availability of Advanced Life Support emergency medical service on all operational crews districtwide.

Beginning April 11, the four-firefighter crew of the new Engine 90 was fully operational, more than doubling firefighting resources dispatched from Fire Station 92 located at 201 John Muir Parkway in Brentwood. This unique engine crew is specially equipped and staffed to perform fire scene searches and rescues, vehicular extrications, and other rescues. The additional crew will also support quicker assembly of firefighting forces in east county’s Battalion 9 and neighboring Battalion 8.

Additionally, on April 1, all Con Fire crews in the former East County Fire Protection District area of responsibility became Advanced Life Support capable for the first time since the annexation of that fire district in July 2022. With this change, all operational Con Fire crews across the district are ALS, meaning at least one of the assigned firefighters is a paramedic. Con Fire has been able to upgrade east county crews from their former Basic Life Support capability as a result of its inherent operational efficiencies.

The combination of these two major post-annexation improvements reinforce the benefits of consolidation of firefighting resources into a single, larger, more capable organization able to more efficiently deliver comprehensive fire, rescue, and EMS services across the county.

“I am proud of the work that has been done by so many, including firefighters, elected officials, and staff at all levels, to position us to deliver these life- and property-saving resources to residents of east county and our entire district,” said Lewis Broschard, fire chief, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “The additional four-person crew on Engine 90 adds immensely to our response capability in east county and benefits central residents, as well, while districtwide ALS capability assures all district residents of receiving paramedic care in a timely manner anywhere Con Fire serves.”

“This is another milestone to celebrate as we work towards making east Contra Costa County safer after the annexation of East Contra Costa Fire Protection District to the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District,” said Contra Costa County Supervisor Diane Burgis. “With the addition of four new firefighters in Brentwood, and assignment of Engine 88 to East County’s Battalion 9, there are now 19 firefighters where there used to be nine. This, and with the transition from EMTs to paramedics, we are providing more resources to east county cities and unincorporated areas, enhancing the quality of service, ensuring response times are faster, and we are all safer. I also look forward to the two new stations to be built in the next few years.”

Engine 90 is uniquely configured and staffed as a virtual ladder truck company on a fire engine platform. This means the new engine is equipped with all the specialized equipment, including rescue and extrication tools, typically found on a fire truck, with the exception of a 100-foot aerial ladder and master stream water nozzle system. It is also staffed with four firefighters, as opposed to the three normally found on a fire engine. These four crewmembers are able to work as two separate teams, essentially doubling the tasks that can be accomplished at an incident scene by this single apparatus and crew.

Engine 90’s innovative ladder truck-like configuration comes as a result of a districtwide shortage of ladder trucks due to the recent highway accident that took one such apparatus permanently out of service and nationwide supply chain issues creating extended delays in new equipment delivery times. Con Fire expects to be able to replace Engine 90 with a new ladder truck sometime in 2024. Until that time, Engine 90 will deliver most of the many capabilities of a ladder truck, minus its aerial ladder.

All of Con Fire’s operational crews are ALS capable, staffed with at least one paramedic on board, along with other crew members who are emergency medical technicians. Our apparatus are properly equipped and supplied with the medications needed to provide patients with a higher level of medical care including those in cardiac arrest and respiratory distress, and who need advanced trauma care, continuous IV drips, on a chronic ventilator, and those who require cardiac monitoring.

Paramedics and EMTs who staff the Con Fire ALS apparatus have a higher level of training than those who provide BLS services at other organizations. Due to their advanced training, ALS personnel are allowed to start IVs, administer medications, and give injections to help stabilize the patient on the way to emergency rooms or trauma centers.

Measure X is a countywide 20-year, ½ cent sales tax approved by Contra Costa County voters on November 3, 2020. Collection of the tax began on April 1, 2021. The ballot measure stated the intent of Measure X is “to keep Contra Costa’s regional hospital open and staffed; fund community health centers, emergency response; support crucial safety-net services; invest in early childhood services; protect vulnerable populations; and for other essential services.”

A board of supervisors created Measure X Community Advisory Board oversee an annual assessment of community needs, focusing primarily on the priority areas identified in the Measure X Needs Assessment, including emergency response (fire/medical), health care, safety net services, preventative care, affordable housing, and support for early childhood, youth, families, and seniors.

About Contra Costa County Fire Protection District – With implementation of a contract for service with the City of Pinole in March, 2023 and annexation of the former East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) in July, 2022, Contra Costa Fire now provides fire and emergency medical services to more than 770,000 residents in 12 cities and 11 unincorporated areas across our expanded 557 square-mile jurisdiction. The district now comprises 34 fire stations and more than 600 employees. Through our unique ambulance “Alliance,” the district delivers EMS and ambulance transport services to much of Contra Costa County. In 2022, the district responded to nearly 100,000 incidents of all types, including 67,000 fire medical emergencies, and dispatched some 100,000 ambulances, conducting more than 75,000 ambulance transports. Contra Costa Fire remains dedicated to preserving life, property, and the environment.

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