Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Environmental Services Agency


December 18, 2001


January 8, 2002



Honorable Board of Supervisors


Marcia Raines, Environmental Services Agency Director


Agreement with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) for Fire Protection Services.


Approve a resolution authorizing execution of an Agreement with the California Department of Forestry (CDF) for fire protection services, and approve two Appropriation Transfer Requests accepting unanticipated revenue.



The County has maintained a contract with CDF for fire protection services in the unincorporated areas of the County not protected by cities or fire districts, and County Service Area #1 (CSA #1/Eichler Highlands) since 1962. CDF provides this protection from four County fire stations, each with a three person, paramedic engine company. CSA #1 is also provided with a three-person engine company. In addition to fire and emergency medical services, CDF provides fire protection planning for new construction, fire prevention activities, and life safety inspection in the County areas. These services are coordinated by the County Fire Warden, whose services are provided through the contract with CDF.


CDF oversees the operations of five County-funded volunteer fire companies. This includes allocation of equipment and supplies, maintenance of fire apparatus operated by the volunteer companies, and dispatch services. CDF also coordinates the volunteer training program to assure that the County volunteer firefighters meet all County, State and Federal training mandates.



Several accomplishments have been made over the last year. Fire Prevention staff were involved in plan review and approval for two major projects: the San Mateo County Crime Laboratory and the Polhemus Water Treatment Plant, in addition to having reviewed over 180 building and sprinkler permits. A new fire engine was purchased for the Pescadero station, two vehicles were purchased for training purposes, and estimates have been received for the purchase of a water tender. Over 2000 hours of training were conducted on subjects such as fire control, emergency medical services, and hazardous materials. Efforts were made to increase community services standards, such as a Motorcycle Safety Day led by the Skylonda station and the La Honda Fire Brigade, and CPR classes offered to students at Pescadero High School.


In July 2001 an agreement with the City of San Mateo was approved for the maintenance of City fire apparatus. The contract has been advantageous for both parties. In the first half of the fiscal year, eight engines and trucks have been inspected and serviced for the standard ninety-day safety inspection along with all repairs listed by City of San Mateo Fire personnel. Turnaround time for repairs has averaged five to seven working days depending on the amount of repairs necessary and parts availability. There are two vehicles remaining to be serviced until all of the city's fire engines will have been serviced at the Belmont shop.


Two continuing areas of focus for this fiscal year include assisting San Mateo County Public Safety Communications with developing and implementing a station alerting system for paid and volunteer stations. This will reduce the time between a 911 call and the response of emergency crew. CDF staff are also working on mapping emergency response areas for each Battalion in County Fire and CDF wild land jurisdictions. These maps will be electronically placed in the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) systems at each communication center to further facilitate and streamline responses of emergency resources. CDF staff are working closely with the Public Works Department to prioritize and perform maintenance on the four County owned fire stations, three of which are older and in need of repairs.


Although not reflected in the standard State-issued CDF contract, CDF does provide Equal Benefits to its employees. ESA staff are working with CDF to add this language to future contracts.


Fiscal Impact

The total amount requested under the terms and condition of the contract with CDF for FY 2001-02 is $6,384,806. The majority of the contract ($5,446,740) is financed through the Structural Fire Fund which receives monies from property tax levied on all properties located within the County but outside of cities and fire districts; the remainder ($938,066) is financed by the County Service Area #1 Fund which receives property tax revenue and special tax revenue for both police and fire protection. The budgeted amount for the CDF contract amount increased from FY 2000-01 to FY 2001-02 by $326,250 primarily due to an increase in benefit and retirement rates, and an increase in paramedic retention pay. Invoices from the state on expenses incurred in the Schedule A of the contact are based on actual costs of providing service.


Due to a change in administration at the CDF level, a refund totaling $218,178 from FY 2000-01 has been received for insurance refunds from the large number of employees who were out on disability during the year. This unanticipated revenue will be distributed between the Structural Fire and CSA #1 accounts and will be used to offset the difference in the estimate of Schedule A of the contract when the Recommended Budget was approved and the remainder will be placed in the reserves.


There is no impact on the General Fund under this agreement.


The County Counsel's Office has reviewed the resolution and finds it in order.