San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District

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Station 31
Station 33

The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District is an autonomous Special District as defined under the Fire Protection District Law of 1987, California Health and Safety Code, Section 13800. The District’s service area encompasses approximately 155 square miles (400 km2), covering the communities of Alamo, Blackhawk, the Town of Danville, Diablo, the City of San Ramon, the southern area of Morgan Territory and the Tassajara Valley all located in Contra Costa County.

The total population serviced by the District exceeds 140,794. On business days, the figure grows by another 23,000 to include the personnel employed in the Bishop Ranch Business Park, a 585-acre (2.37 km2) development located in San Ramon. Since its inception in 1984, the Bishop Ranch Business Park has evolved into a nationally recognized premier business center, housing over 330 companies, from established Global 500 companies to innovative start-ups. Two of the larger employers in Bishop Ranch are Chevron and AT&T.

The District employs 168 personnel, in addition to approximately 43 volunteers. The District maintains ten Fire Stations and one Administrative Office Building, all strategically located within the District. Of the ten Stations, nine Stations house paid firefighters and volunteers staff several of the stations. This allows for staffing of thirteen engine companies and four volunteer companies, including three truck companies, five transport Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances and other specialized vehicles for the cross-staffing of apparatus based upon the type of call. In addition, the District operates its own Communications Center, located at Station 31 and staffed with two dispatchers, one supervising dispatcher and a mobile command post supported by 11 volunteers. All other Administrative personnel reside at the Administrative Office.

The District also is a member of Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 4.

Within the boundaries of the District are wildland areas, single and multi-family residential units, hotels, a hospital, numerous convalescent/assisted living facilities, equestrian areas, hiking trails, rock climbing areas and a facility housing a low-level nuclear reactor.

History[edit]

The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District is an outgrowth of many years of maturation. Its early beginning took place 90 years ago at a meeting of the Danville Improvement Club. The meeting held on March 19, 1912 included the leading ladies and men of Danville. At this meeting, it was decided that a volunteer fire department needed to be organized. The idea was unanimously approved, and the name Danville Farm Defense Fire District was established. In 1921, a state law permitted the organization of special fire districts and empowered them with the authority to levy a tax for their support. Thus, on September 6, 1921, the Danville Farm Defense Fire District became the Danville Fire Protection District, an independent fire district and a political subdivision of the State of California. The official boundaries were re-designated to encompass Danville, Sycamore and Green Valley School District, an area of approximately fifty (50) square miles.

In 1963, Contra Costa County reorganized its East County Fire Protection District into the San Ramon Fire Protection District, an independent district. In December 1979, Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) initiated the consolidation of the Danville Fire Protection District and the San Ramon Fire Protection District. On July 1, 1980, with the merger complete, the two Districts were renamed the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District (SRVFPD). The new District serviced the communities of Alamo, Blackhawk, Danville, Diablo and San Ramon, within a 70-square-mile (180 km2) area. The organization comprised 4 fire stations, 27 emergency vehicles and 71 employees. With the reorganization of these two districts, the newly formed District became governed by 5 locally elected Board of Directors, independent of the County Board of Supervisors.

Some ten years later, the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District and the Tassajara Fire Protection District initiated a merger process. In January 1991, LAFCO completed the annexation of all territories of the Tassajara Fire Protection District and transferred them to the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, which included Tassajara Valley and the southern boundary of Morgan Territory. Simultaneously, the Tassajara Fire Protection District was dissolved.

In July 1997, the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District and the City of San Ramon moved forward with an annexation of the Dougherty Regional Fire Authority to the SRVFPD. With this annexation, the District extended its fire service boundary to the Contra Costa/Alameda County line.

Fire Fighting and Medical Apparatus[edit]

The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District’s fleet is made up of the following in-service units emergency vehicles/fire apparatus:

  • Nineteen (19) Type 1 engines - These are used as a front-line responder to most emergencies. They are the primary choice of engine for structure fires. Every station in the district is staffed with at least one (1) Type 1 engine, some stations contain two Type 1 engines. All engines are designated with an E followed by their station number. Stations with two Type 1 engines will have one of the engines designated with an A after the station number.
  • Three (3) Type 1 ladder trucks (105 ft) - These are used as a secondary response for structure fires. They may be occasionally used to respond to traffic incidents, medical emergencies, etc. All trucks are designated with a T followed by their station number.
  • Eleven (11) wildland units - These include eight (8) Type 3 engines and three (3) Type 4 engines. Additionally, the District is equipped with: One 1,500 gallon all-wheel water tender (with 60 gallons of AFFF foam), two 2,800 gallon water tenders with a 3,000 gallon porta-tank, & one 2,500 gallon all-wheel-drive water tender, which carries Class A and AFFF foam with portable pumps and tanks. Wildland engines are designated with an E3 followed by their station number. Water tenders are designated with a WT followed by a number designating the type of tender, and then followed by their station number.
  • Five (5) Rescue Medic ambulances - These are ambulances staffed by three (3) people. These will respond to all medical emergencies, vehicle accidents, and may respond to fire and other emergencies. These are 24/7 ambulances with extrication tools available.
  • Two (2) Paramedic Unit ambulances - There are ambulances staffed by two (2) people. These will respond to all medical emergencies, vehicle accidents, and may respond to fire and other emergencies. These are reserve ambulances that can be called in action when needed. These do not contain extrication tools.

In addition to the ambulances, the District maintains two reserve ambulances and a multi-casualty unit that can be placed into action immediately to cover maintenance needs or assist in large-scale incidents.

The District’s Type 1 engines, Type 3 engines and all trucks carry Advanced Life Support (ALS) emergency medical equipment, including oxygen, defibrillator units and ALS medications. In addition, these vehicles are fully equipped to respond as needed to mitigate any emergency including fire, rescue, hazardous material spill or vehicle accident.

The District’s Breathing Support Unit (BS31) is a multi-functional piece of equipment that can fill both high and low pressure air bottles, supplying six bottles at a time in fewer than two minutes with an air storage capacity capable of filling 100 bottles. The unit is also equipped with large pop-up scene lights, salvage equipment, medical supplies and other items, such as hot coffee, soups and beverages for the comfort of crews working on an extended incident. This apparatus will typically respond to all fires.

The District's Urban Search and Rescue Unit (USR134), deemed the district's heavy rescue unit, is an apparatus which responds to confined-space rescue situations, vehicle accidents, and fires. It contains all tools necessary to complete rescue operations. Because of the advancement of other apparatus in the district, this is becoming more of a specialty vehicle.

The District's Hazmat Unit (HM35) is a unit which responds to all hazardous materials emergenices. This particular unit contains a mobile technical reference office for firefighters, as well as a mobile laboratory to test unknown substances and materials.

The District's Communication Support Unit (CS131) is a mobile communication center used for backing up the district's permanent communication center. This unit can answer remote 9-1-1 calls and combine radio frequencies from outside agencies. It has the capability of being a mobile command center, with: backup power generators, 4 workstations, a small planning/conference room, and a bathroom. This unit has been used previously in multiple agency responses in the county.

The District has a number of other specialty vehicles (salvage unit, repair units, etc.) which are used in a wide variety of responses. The District also has spare and older apparatus which is used for training purposes, but can also be used to replace apparatus that needs to be repaired.

Fire Stations/Apparatus[edit]

Station Location Engine Truck Rescue Ambulance Wildland Unit Water Tender Other
Station 30 11445 Windemere Parkway, San Ramon E30 PM30 (reserve ambulance) E330 WT30
Station 31 800 San Ramon Valley Blvd, Danville E31 T31 PM31 E331 BS31 (Breathing Support Unit)

CS131 (Mobile Communications Unit)

Station 32 1101 Stone Valley Road, Alamo E32, E32A RM32 E332
Station 33 1051 Diablo Road, Danville E33 E333 MCU33 (Multiple Casualty Unit)
Station 34 12599 Alcosta Blvd, San Ramon E34 T34 RM34 E334 USAR134 (Urban Search and Rescue Unit)
Station 35 505 Silver Oak Lane, Danville E35 T35 RM35 E335 WT35 HM35 (Hazmat Unit), SAL35 (Salvage Unit)
Station 36** 6100 Camino Tassajara Road, Danville E36 E336 REP352 (Repair Unit)
Station 37 10207-A Morgan Territory Road, Livermore E37 E337, E437
Station 38 1600 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon E38 PM38 (reserve ambulance) E338 WT238
Station 39 9399 Fircrest Lane, San Ramon E39 PM39 E339
Station 40 Doubletree Drive, Morgan Territory E440
Administration 1500 Bollinger Canyon Road, San Ramon
Training Site 6100 Camino Tassajara, Pleasanton
    • This station also contains a 5 bay repair facility behind the main station.

Suppression[edit]

The District's Suppression personnel are divided into three platoons, A, B and C. Each platoon is commanded by a Battalion Chief who is responsible for the workings of his individual shift, communicating with the other shifts’ Battalion Chiefs to coordinate the continuity of ongoing projects and day-to-day operations. Battalion Chiefs work directly with the station Captains, who head the three or four member companies assigned to a station.

The District’s Suppression personnel include 3 Battalion Chiefs, 39 Captains, 42 Engineers, 55 Firefighters (50 which are Paramedics), and 9 Dispatchers. All Suppression personnel, excluding Dispatchers, are certified EMT-1A's and State Certified Firefighter I and II. The crew of every engine, truck, and ambulance includes a Contra Costa County accredited Paramedic.

EMS[edit]

The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District provides the paramedic ambulance service to Contra Costa County Emergency medical services Zone 4. Oversight and Coordination is provided by an Emergency Medical Services Coordinator and a Quality Assurance Registered Nurse. These two positions report to the Assistant Chief of Operations, to ensure the delivery of high quality, effective Emergency Medical Services.

The District is a participant in the Contra Costa County-wide automated EMS Records system. Using software provided by Toomay Technologies Inc., known as PCTS (Patient Care Tracking System). This program is designed to attempt to capture data on a patient from the time that a 911 call is initiated to the time they are released from the Hospital.

The delivery of exceptional EMS in a partially rural area often involves the utilization of ALS Helicopters. The District routinely uses these services to rapidly transport critical patients. Some areas such as Mount Diablo State Park are so large and remote, that an ALS helicopter is part of the initial EMS Dispatch.

While there are numerous Helicopter services available, the primary services used are CALSTAR (California Shock/Trauma Air Rescue) based in Concord, Gilroy, Auburn, Salinas, Ukiah, Santa Maria, South Lake Tahoe, Jackson, and Vacaville, REACH Air Medical Services, located at the Buchanan Field Airport, and LIFEFLIGHT located at Stanford University Hospital in Palo Alto.

Rescue[edit]

The Rescue Team is a proactive organization with a main purpose of providing high quality technical rescue resources immediately available for response, with skilled and dedicated personnel, along with providing District wide rescue related training. The Rescue Team consists of approximately 30 members. Station 34 on Alcosta Blvd. has become the home of the Rescue Team, primarily because of its central location and easy access to Interstate 680.

The Rescue Team personnel and USAR vehicle are Certified to an OES Medium level, meaning they have demonstrated to the State that they are trained and equipped to operate safely and effectively at structural collapse incidents involving the collapse or failure of reinforced and unreinforced masonry, concrete tilt-up and heavy timber construction. This OES qualification enables the State to activate the Rescue Team in the event of a major Disaster.

Aside from the above capabilities, every engine and truck in the Fire District meets an OES Basic level and is equipped with ropes to augment rescue operations, cribbing, air bags, and cutting and prying tools. In addition to the above, a group of Rescue Division members are active with Oakland’s Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force 4. The Task Force is one of several in California, and is operated under Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security. This is a Federal Team, which responds to disasters on a National level.

The Rescue Team recently took delivery of a Spartan/SVI Rescue Unit. The vehicle is equipped to handle a variety of incidents ranging from confined space rescue, technically difficult auto extrication, swift water rescue, trench collapse rescue, structure collapse, high and low angle rope rescue, the Rescue Unit along with personnel will also respond to all fires within the District and act as the Rapid Intervention Crew.

Hazardous materials[edit]

The District's Hazardous Materials Team is equipped with two trucks and trailer to respond to incidents and is based at Station 35. The Haz-Mat Team is made up of 26 State Certified Hazardous Materials Technician/Specialists and that it is an all risks Haz-Mat team capable of specialized entry, chemical analysis and hazard mitigation.

Fire prevention[edit]

Fire prevention activities are carried out by an 11-member staff, under the direction of a Battalion Chief/Fire Marshal who works closely with the cities and other utility providers to oversee all new construction, fire prevention inspections, water systems, fire investigations and weed abatement. Plans for new buildings are carefully reviewed by trained personnel to assure proper compliance with the fire and life safety requirements of the Fire and Building Codes.

The District has enacted a comprehensive fire prevention ordinance which includes sprinkler requirements for most commercial buildings and certain residential buildings. This progressive approach has led to better fire and life safety protection, and reduced insurance costs.

In addition to inspections, the Fire Prevention division works closely with the schools to provide fire safety programs. More than 4,000 students within the San Ramon Valley Unified School District annually receive a fire safety review. The fire safety review includes a visit to the schools by an engine and a display of the firefighter's clothing and equipment. Students are reminded of safe practices that should be followed in their homes, as well as the correct methods for reporting emergencies.

Communications[edit]

The Department's main communications division consists of six Dispatchers which are managed by three Supervisors (three total Dispatchers per shift) providing 24-hour dispatching of District emergency apparatus 365 days per year.

The Communications Center is equipped with the latest advances in the emergency telecommunications systems. These systems include an Enhanced 9-1-1 System, utilizing Intelligent Workstations. This allows the location of the caller to be displayed on a computer screen for instant recognition by the fully integrated Computer Aided Dispatch System. The District uses an Intergraph Computer system, a highly sophisticated computer that incorporates an extensive mapping system of the District's response area along with the station response zones.

The Intergraph system allows the District to draw maps through a digitizing process in the computer, entering the necessary information firefighters need that is not provided by an ordinary street map. The information provided includes water main sizes, locations of underground gas lines, specific road hazards, i.e., weak bridges or narrow roadways that could hamper a fire engine's response, or the location of specific hazardous materials stored in a building.

Dispatchers handle both routine and emergency radio traffic over a Motorola Centracom Elite Gold radio console, communicating by radio or special phone lines with many local agencies, such as Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, Alameda County Fire, San Ramon Police Department and Danville Police Department, Mt. Diablo State Park Rangers, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Chevron Security in Bishop Ranch, John Muir Medical Center, San Ramon Regional Medical Center, and AT&T Security.

The District recently added a 2003 Spartan Communications and Command ICS Type 1 Mobile Communications Support Unit. This vehicle is designed to perform the duties of a backup communications center, as well as provide on-scene communications and command for larger emergency incidents.

Volunteers[edit]

The District has approximately 50 Reserve and Volunteer Firefighters who augment the District’s emergency resources. Reserve Firefighters respond from various stations within the District, assisting District companies with emergencies as required. Volunteer Firefighters serve as the first responders from Station 37 to emergencies within the Morgan Territory area. All new Reserve and Volunteers Firefighters attend a 60 hour academy covering all aspects of firefighting, emergency medical, and hazardous material incidents. Reserves and Volunteers drill twice monthly and participate in ride-alongs and live burns throughout the year.

External links[edit]