Fire Department Shared Management Monthly Performance Report

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In December, the Davis City Council voted 3-2 to create a shared management structure between the Davis and UC Davis Fire Departments. Both fire departments would be under one Fire Chief, Nathan Trauernicht who had been the UC Davis Fire Chief.

In addition to the Chief, John Heilmann is the Deputy Fire Chief of Operations, Mike Taylor is the Deputy Fire Chief of Training and Safety, Bruce Fry, Shawn Kinney, and Paul Swanson are the Shift Division Chiefs, and Tim Annis is the Fire Marshal/ Division Chief.

Not only is there a shared management agreement between the new agencies, but we have boundary and fire staffing shifts that have changed the nature of how emergencies are covered in Davis.

On a monthly basis, the chief will be presenting a performance report. This is a key piece of transparency for the community to monitor how these important changes are working. The Vanguard will be publishing this report as well as analyzing pertinent information.

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Chief’s Message

Community Members,

I am pleased to present the first monthly performance report for the Shared Fire Management of the City of Davis (DFD) and UC Davis Fire Departments (UCDFD). Through the collective efforts of talented employees in both organizations, we are able to provide not only data about how we are performing, but also hope to paint the picture of work that is done by these two outstanding fire and emergency services agencies every day.

Just like our communities and our greater society, the fire service is changing. Change doesn’t come easy to many; in fact most people can relate one of the most personally challenging experiences in their life to a significant change. One of my personal goals as the shared Fire Chief is to help both departments, their respective communities and staff, through what are very challenging times in our industry today and into the future.

I see the road blocks that are ahead of us as a glass half full. It’s an opportunity for us to collaborate, innovate, re-imagine, and create a sustainable path for our operations moving forward. We have completed a Standard of Cover document and Strategic Plan for UCDFD, and we will begin work on DFD’s in July to help revitalize the department’s mission, vision, and values along with plotting a course that will help guide our service delivery as the community grows.

These monthly reports are designed to be a high-level overview of key activities and functions of the organizations. They should generate discussion, both draw and answer questions, and provide insight into the operations of modern day fire and emergency services delivery. This data alone should not inform policy decisions, but instead provide the framework to pose policy questions which, provided context and a comprehensive data set, can aid us in developing programs, services, and deployment strategies that best suit the needs of our unique communities.

Your new fire management team is eager to see the Shared Fire Management agreement renew and continue the great work that has been accomplished to date. Simply put, together we can do more!

Looking forward,

Nathan J. Trauernicht
Fire Chief
City of Davis & UC Davis Fire Departments

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Response Readiness

For the purpose of this report, response readiness refers to a fire company being in its home station, or home district, and ready for a call. Why is this important? Simply put, if a fire company is out of district (out of position), response times increase to that response area.

When the boundary drop between the city and campus was implemented, the goal was to start sending the closest available unit. This deployment strategy is occurring today based on station locations and in the future will occur based on global positioning systems (GPS) and automatic vehicle locators (AVL) on each fire company which will fully realize closest unit, real-time, response.

As you can see below, the focus of our analysis is on the response district of City of Davis Fire Station 31. Why do we call this out? Because this district has the highest call volume and the highest number of stacked calls (also known as simultaneous calls). So when we show a “reduction” in the 2014 month-to-month comparisons, we are basically showing the amount of responses in which Engine 32 and 33 are now remaining in their home districts, when in the past they would have been out of position and response time to those districts would have been extended.**

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DFD-April-14-7Training For Performance

In January, the West Valley Regional Fire Training Consortium implemented a training plan to ensure all of its member agencies (UC Davis, Davis, Woodland, West Sacramento, Yolo OES) would be compliant with OSHA and State mandated annual training. All participating departments are provided blocks of training to be completed within a six week time period. All consortium, individual, and outside training, is captured in the new system which provides for ease of accountability and guarantees common cohesive efforts at emergency scenes.

The number of hours that must be obtained in order to receive the maximum credit by ISO is 20 hours per month of structural firefighting training. This does not include continuing education for EMT, hazardous materials, technical rescue, wildland firefighter, personnel rules, etc.

Considering all of the standard training required for all hazard departments such as DFD and UCDFD, the dedication and efforts to meet these standards is commendable, but we are continually striving to improve.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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33 thoughts on “Fire Department Shared Management Monthly Performance Report”

    1. South of Davis

      Frankly wrote:

      > Given most of the calls are EMS, why not close a fire station
      > and contract with outsourced EMS providers? WE can save
      > a lot of money.

      WE (as taxpayers) want to save money, but THEM (as politicians) need money to run for re-election and higher office.

      Contracting with a non union EMS provider would give better service for less money but would most likely end the political career of any politician that supported the idea.

      P.S. This is not a dig on the professional firefighters it is just a fact that if someone focuses on one thing they tend to be better at it. Someone who is “just” a paramedic will have the time to focus on what they do without fire training that that have keep up with (or call in sick to avoid)…

      1. Frankly

        So let me get this straight…

        The rational and fiscally prudent thing to do in light of the fact that we have far fewer fires due to the copious construction code and product safety regulations layered on to business (really more taxation)… is to reduce the scope and scale of fire fighting services because they are no longer as necessary… but no politician will take it up for political reasons?

        And the media and Democrat template is to ignore this, demand more tax increases and keep grossly over-staffing and over-compensation fire fighters.

        And bankers are the crooks?

        Clearly this report supports a new cry to vote NO on MEASURE O. Close a damn fire station and outsource EMS services. Why am I being asked to dig deeper into my pockets to pay for expensive city services and employees that we do not need?

    2. Fire Chief Trauernicht (DFD/UCDFD)

      Frankly and South of Davis,

      First let me say I always appreciate a forum such as this to share in an exchange of our first amendment rights.

      Frankly: I recognize that little I say will sway you from what are obviously your deeply held values and beliefs, which I don’t have to tell you – you are absolutely entitled to, but that seem at odds with what the service delivery model currently used in the City of Davis (and most of the country) for providing fire protection is.

      What I would add to the conversation is that we should, in these particular threads, focus on the intent of the information being shared. Many comments about DFD end up getting into much larger issues of public employee compensation and benefits, pensions, and generalizations that really are more about government’s role in society than about the ins and outs of providing emergent and non-emergent first response services to a community. I don’t deny that there are interconnections with those topics and our industry, but those issues are so much broader in scope and sometimes trying to address them within a thread that isn’t gear towards that clouds the issues being presented.

      Privatization is not a one size fits all answer to a situation that at the end of the day presents increased costs for all. Private providers grapple with many of the same financial issues that those of us who provide government services do. Trying to make fire and ems provision profitable is a challenge for even the best private providers. It would seem logical to me that if privatization of such services worked well and was highly successful, then we would see a greater number of them in our country and that nothing would stop the proliferation of such models. I don’t think its necessarily a safe assertion that all attempts at privatization fail due to labor groups and politicians. Private companies will walk away from negotiations if there is not a profit to be made and shared with shareholders. And in most cases, if you look at the model of the hierarchy needs, the role security plays may ultimately be the single largest influencer in the decision to privatize for the majority of society who is content with the concept of fire and emergency service delivery being socialized. While some of our citizenry are skeptical of government there is at least an equal or greater share that see government as a safe haven for services that they rely on and that they think everyone should share the burden for.

      And let’s be honest, living in California ( a non-right to work state ), finding a private provider that doesn’t use some or all unionized employees would be a challenge. On the other hand nationalization of the fire service is used successfully around the world in many countries. But their fire service progression has been much different then that of the US. Which as we look back at old man history we are reminded that unlike most countries, the American Fire Service started out privatized (remember the insurance company fire markers, gangs of New York, etc.?), the lack of success of that model resulted in the creation of volunteer fire companies and saw the privatized influence of service provision fall to the wayside. I mention this only as a pie in the sky idea, and for purpose of contrast and comparison, because our country’s fire service has evolved too far to make it practical and federal government views this level of service as the responsibility of state and local government.

      At the end of the day I prefer that we focus on adapting the culture of our industry to meet the needs of the communities we provide service to. Firefighters are highly trained in a diverse amount of high and low risk areas of expertise. Since the system exists, should we not focus our efforts on innovation and sustainability of critical infrastructure services over the long haul? For all the things the fire service does: fire prevention, injury reduction, hazardous materials response, pre-hospital medical care, emergency management, disaster preparedness, and generally the people the community calls when they don’t know who else to call… I’d say we provide a great deal of value.

      I’d be curious to see your research on the topic of outsourcing EMS services if you have some time to swing by the station or meet up for coffee and share them.

      Topic change, no matter how few fires there are we will always need a standing army ready to respond to them. Because while some would say that fire doesn’t happen often and that its not their problem; many disagree instead asserting that fire is an issue of the entirety and not just the individual. Fire is everyone’s problem and when it happens it isn’t often ok to the individual or family the experiences the loss. We certainly can bolster other areas of business within our portfolio to match call demand, but to think that we can get rid of the fire portion because of building codes and because there aren’t many is a bit of a reach for me. Also keep in mind that one of the most significant factors impacting a community’s fire problem is socioeconomic condition. A change in Davis’ makeup in that area would have an impact on the number of fires. Also age and type of construction, type of developments (high density specifically), high hazard businesses, all of these factors impact fire frequency. We are blessed that Davis is such a fire safe community, but it is not without fire and thus should not be without adequate protection.

      We may always disagree on the theories of how it should be delivered; but at the end of the day the Fire Chief’s job is to inform the community of the risks, for the community to decide how much risk is acceptable, and how much is the community willing to pay. I’m doing the first part of that as I share these monthly reports. The rest will be handled by the community inclusive of the elected officials that represent them.

      I understand that you have core beliefs that may never be changed on this topic, just wanted to engage you a bit on it and hope you have a great weekend.

      NOTE: these views and comments are my own.

      1. Frankly

        Chief Trauernicht: Thanks for taking the time to provide such a thoughtful response.

        Like a lot of long-term Davisites, and as a businessman, I am very frustrated with the financial circumstances that we find ourselves in. I am not someone that likes to look backwards except for reference to help what we should do going forward. I am all about solving the problem and moving on to the next one. Because there will be an endless supply of problems in this complicated life we live, and conflicted world we live in.

        I am your humble student with respect to the art, science and business of fire prevention and fire fighting. That is not my level of expertise. However, I think the facts and statistics demand some more detailed explanation of reasons why or why not we, as a city, should continue on with a hugely expensive fire fighting personnel infrastructure when it is clear that the job has shifted significantly to provide emergency medical services. It seem that the old model is not the correct model today and going forward. I sense opportunity in that realization, but I suspect that we are not looking at it hard enough for political reasons. That just adds to my frustration.

        You see, in my career as a business manager and owner, I have had to hire people, fire people, lay people off, downsize, outsource, completely change my service delivery model, constantly do more with less, constantly innovate, look for every possible efficiency and exploit it to the nth degree. And I have had to do these things, and still have to do these things, only so I can help my company continue to stay solvent and viable and an ongoing concern.

        I think you are the right person for this role, and I think the city has taken the right step putting both departments under your leadership.

        But when the construction materials for my house and remodels have all been restricted to more expensive fireproof products, when every minor change in my home requires a building inspection and every one of those requires the inspector to test all of my multiple smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, when so many consumer products too have all been regulated to help prevent fires, when autos have all had significant safety regulations applied to them, when so many new homes require interior sprinkler systems, etc.., etc.., etc…, and then when we get confirmation that the number of emergency calls has shifted to primarily visiting our senior centers… well, I just can’t help thinking that we are missing the big opportunity here to re-engineer the service model for what is called fire safety.

        I will take some time over the next few days to do some research on the different service models that exist. I would welcome some ongoing dialog about them and the opportunities for change.

        Thanks again for your response.

        1. Fire Chief Trauernicht (DFD/UCDFD)

          Frankly,

          I totally understand where you are coming from. We are in a significant transition period in the fire service where some will emerge from the “new normal” in great shape, and others will not depending on how they adjust to the changes.

          I also appreciate your business perspective and hope you see my passion for business, stats, data, and organizational management as evident in this report and those that will follow.

          One thing that will undoubtedly be a challenge will be our ability to respond with enough urgency to changes in service delivery to come out on the right side of the potential out comes. Organization change management tells us that it takes 8-10 years on average to effectively shift the culture of an organization… the bad news is I don’t think we have that long to adjust. So my challenge is balancing change, with providing a sense of security and stability. Not an easy task…

          As you research service delivery models I suggest you look into some of them that I am working on possibilities for:

          Mesa Arizona Fire & Medical’s Transitional Response Vehicle (TRV)
          Anaheim California Fire & Rescue’s Community Response Unit (CRU)
          Spokane Washington Fire Department’s STAR Program (mental health response)

          Instituting similar programs here is desirable but takes time, careful navigation, and incubator funding to get off the ground. That’s part of the challenge in the current Davis economic climate is funding for innovation.

          You’re challenges related to Fire Codes and building supplies are universal. Similar to the building, plumbing, electrical codes, etc they are all created through a national or international development process and then adopted by local jurisdictions. The interesting part is that many of the code development committees who create both the codes and standards are heavily waited with private industry reps, and not local fire service. The building industry plays a bigger role in your frustrations then it may appear on the surface…

          With that said most of what is contained in codes and standards truly is in the best interest of public safety and reducing property loss. If your interested in the generation of many of our codes I highly recommend the following reading. Both book outline the fires in our country’s history that brought us to the codes we have today:

          Fighting Fire! – Ten of the Deadliest Fires in American History and How We Fought them by Michael L. Cooper
          The history of firefighting in the United States is explored through the stories of 10 important fires.

          Some are familiar stories, others less well-known. It begins with the largest in Colonial history, the Boston fire of 1760 that some saw as judgment from God even as they sought to make improvements in the city’s ability to respond to future blazes. The change in city skylines that occurred after the Chicago fire is discussed, and fires in Baltimore, New York and San Francisco in the early 20th century, deemed the “great urban fires,” led to important changes in regulations, building codes and firefighting techniques. Workplace tragedies such as the one that occurred at the Triangle Waist Company led to changes in laws protecting workers. The devastating loss of life in the attacks on the World Trade Center demonstrated the vulnerability of modern buildings. The volume concludes with a look at one of California’s worst wildfires. Each of the 10 incidents seems carefully chosen to provide a different angle to the history of American firefighting. Readers can chart progress and setbacks as firefighters worked to improve their techniques and communities attempted to make their buildings and environments safer.

          Seven Fires: The Urban Infernos that Reshaped America by Peter Charles Hoffer
          This resonant and fascinating book by a renowned historian examines how seven fires shaped the larger course of American history. The Boston fire of 1760 set the stage for the American Revolution. The Pittsburgh fire of 1845 opened the way to larger scale industrial plants. Out of the ashes of the Chicago fire of 1871 came the modern skyscraper, the Haymarket Riots, and the Pullman Strike. The Baltimore fire of 1904 showed how a city’s downtown, utterly destroyed, could re-invent itself after a catastrophe. The Detroit fire of 1967 forced politicians to concede what people of Detroit already knew—that racism and racially-based deprivation were not changed by the civil rights movement. The Oakland Hills tragedy demolished a landscape of private privilege and imperiled the dream of leisure living in natural settings. Apart from their domestic and global political implications, the fires of 9/11 have prodded a complacent nation to admit to itself that twentyfirst century emergency services, and the urban lifestyles they protected, have to be thoroughly rethought. Told through gripping narrative chronicles of the catastrophic events, memorable portraits of historic figures, and incisive, thought-provoking analysis, Seven Fires reveals a nation and a people at its best and worst and illustrates how disasters teach lessons that, if we grasp them, can help us better our society.

          Lastly for a glimpse at the future of fire prevention I encourage you to visit: http://strategicfire.org

          Best!

          NOTE: Comments, ramblings, ideas, views, opinions, and grammar errors are my own.

          1. Fire Chief Trauernicht (DFD/UCDFD)

            See… I said waited instead of weighted… grammar fail…

          2. Frankly

            First – no worries on the grammar. This is a blog and the VG lacks either a preview or an edit button… something I hope is added later.

            Organization change management tells us that it takes 8-10 years on average to effectively shift the culture of an organization… the bad news is I don’t think we have that long to adjust. So my challenge is balancing change, with providing a sense of security and stability. Not an easy task…

            I agree that organizational change is difficult, and I agree that we don’t have 8-10 years.

            Change can happen much quicker when leadership is united with the same shared values and same sense of urgency.

            Therein lies our problem.

      2. South of Davis

        Chief Trauernicht

        Thanks for taking the time to type a well thought out reply. I don’t know how long you have been reading the Vanguard but I’ve posted over the years that my best friend (since we were kids) is a California (not Yolo or Sacramento) firefighter and I’ve spent a lot of time over the past 30 years with firefighters (including more than one bachelor party weekend in Vegas where I was the only “non” firefighter). I have a lot of respect for firefighters but many of my posts has to do with the “math” of promising so many guys that they will be able to retire at 50 and get $10-$20K a MONTH (going up by CPI every year) for life (even if they have a new job with a non PERS department paying $200K that will give them a second pension).

  1. Davis Progressive

    this is a brilliant presentation. we never saw this kind of work before. now we see that the fear tactics by the 3494 henchmen were just that – scare tactics.

    1. Fire Chief Trauernicht (DFD/UCDFD)

      Davis Progressive,

      I’m glad you find this report informative! That was the goal and is the goal moving forward.

  2. PhilColeman

    I’ve mentioned before that the term, “fire department,” is increasingly an anachronism. With changes in building codes, fire prevention measures, and such, actual structural fires are quite rare. Compared to years past, serious structural fires are far, far fewer than in the past.

    Perhaps a more accurate description of the fire department mission and title would be “Medical services and assistance” to capture the current fire department time consumption and demand.

    Also of note are the numerous calls of general assistance, such as helping somebody who is locked out or fell out of bed. Would anybody know if the fire service has something comparable to a cadet program, where aspiring fire fighters could do volunteer service in such instances? This would significantly increase the readiness status of the professional fire fighters.

    1. Fire Chief Trauernicht (DFD/UCDFD)

      Phil,

      You are absolutely right. The fire service has failed to rename itself to properly reflect its current mission. Some departments have changed their name… For example: Mesa Fire & Medical, Woodenville Fire & Life Safety, and Lincoln Fire & Rescue are a few examples. The naming culture of the fire service is rooted in tradition and it is a tough tradition to change. But I will say that even though the name doesn’t describe it, we are truly all hazard/all risk emergency and non-emergency responders. A perfect example of something that is beyond what most people think is our scope was how we recently coordinated the safe relocation of 101 residents of Davis Healthcare after power was lost to the facility. The fire department played the lead coordination role of fire, AMR, regional transit, Unitrans, para-transit, non-emergent 3rd party transport vans, Yolo OES, YEMSA (all of which are amazing partners with us). So while we will work over the coming years on our name, in the meantime I hope the community understands how much more than fire that we truly do everyday. Harken the saying “what’s in a name?”.

      Fires statistically have a cycle by which they increase and decrease based on everything from changes in technology, society, age and maintenance of a community, socioeconomic condition, climate, and so on. In my opinion one of the most impressive parts of our industry is how we have taken on so many more and diverse tasks as the decades have gone by. The fire service of today doesn’t even begin to resemble that of which Ben Franklin experienced when he and many of our country’s other great early leaders were members of fire departments. Not knowing what the future holds and reviewing the lessons learned of serious fires from our past leads me to believe that while we should continue to explore how to diversify our deployment strategies, we shouldn’t give up what we know is a valid service baseline to effectively mitigate the unnecessary promulgation of fire. (We are what some would categorize as a socialized insurance policy…)

      You are absolutely correct that building codes and fire prevention measures have drastically reduced fires in our country, yet the troubling news to me is that America still has one of the worst fire problems in the industrialized world… Two good reads I highly recommend:

      America Burning, as commissioned by President Nixon:
      https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/fa-264.pdf

      and

      America Burning Revisited:
      http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/5-0133-508.pdf

      Fire Prevention remains a core portion of our mission that deserves greater emphasis as does our role in injury prevention and supporting programs that enhance community wellbeing.

      As for cadet and volunteer type programs, DFD does have a CERT program (community and emergency response team) that is made up of citizen responders who are trained with basic skills to assist in support functions during large scale events and disasters. UC Davis has its nationally recognized Student Resident Firefighter Program that helps augment response capabilities. Learn more about the SRFF program on the UCDFD website fire.ucdavis.edu.

      Volunteers in active fire suppression and EMS roles is challenging and those hurdles are well documented. In fact there are a number of national organizations that have a primary mission of helping to recruit and retain our nation’s volunteer firefighting force. The reality of the volunteer fire service is that it is well suited for certain types of communities, most often rural, where jobs in the community allow their employees to drop what they are doing at a moments notice and leave for an undetermined period of time to provide services. There are quite a few suburban areas on the east coast that have large and successful volunteer fire departments but the community and employer culture toward supporting those organizations is much different then what we experience on the left coast typically.

      Some information on the challenges faced by the volunteer fire service:
      Preserving and Improving the future of the Volunteer Fire Service
      https://www.iafc.org/files/1VCOS/VCOS_Blue_Ribbon_Report.pdf

      How Economy is Challenging Fire Protection Services
      http://www.isomitigation.com/docs/fire-peril.pdf

      Retention and Recruitment for the Volunteer Emergency Services: Challenges and Solutions
      http://www.nvfc.org/files/documents/2007_retention_and_recruitment_guide.pdf

      These are just a few… lots more…

      I have worked for combination agencies in the past that have successfully used reserved firefighters (typically used to fulfill a short-term and specific mission) in roles like staffing peak activity units or adding addition staffing to the career ranks when a special/high risk is present. None change the core amount of career resources available normally, but they do augment them to meet specific needs. While this is a possibility on the horizon, our current statistics don’t support a need as the decoupling of Engine and Rescue 31 appears to be relieving our simultaneous call issue in 31’s district that was spilling over into 32 and 33’s districts and impacting service levels there.

      I am VERY interested in starting a fire explorer program in Davis though. For those not familiar fire exploring, it is a partnership with Boy Scouts of America that allows young men and woman ages 14 – 21 to learn about the career of firefighting. It is how many get there starts in our profession, including myself, and it starts to increase hometown interest in becoming a firefighter. It’s an amazing program and for more info you can look here: http://exploring.learningforlife.org/services/career-exploring/fire-service/

      Hope you are enjoying your weekend Phil!

      Note: Comments, thoughts, opinions, etc are my own.

      1. jrberg

        As a CERT member for the DFD for several years, I’d like to point out that the program has had its ups and downs, but could use a lot more support from the FD to make the use of volunteers more effective. It’s interesting that you mentioned the Davis Health Care evacuation – I was there as a volunteer…..for the PD, directing traffic. Interestingly, I got my traffic direction training through CERT – I had only been a PD volunteer for 3 days before this call out.

        The PD has a volunteer coordinator and an extensive program in-house for use of volunteers. I don’t know if it’s possible, but it seems to me that that the volunteer programs for both departments could be merged into one system to make effective use of all citizens who choose to volunteer their time to improve public safety. There’s a lot of overlap on the duties, I’m sure, although I think the CERT program is a lot heavier on medical/first aid training, and rescue training.

        Incidentally, I got into the PD volunteer program not because of any dissatisfaction with CERT, but because of my strong interest in bicycle safety. I have been very impressed at the PD’s favorable response to these concerns, and look forward to focusing my volunteer activities with them toward these goals.

        1. Fire Chief Trauernicht (DFD/UCDFD)

          jrberg,

          You are correct, CERT needs a lot more support from the FD and the City. Now here’s the good news: I taught CERT for over four years and developed a modified version of it that was deployed to public school employees countywide. Additionally I ran the joint CERT program for three fire districts, so rest assured I know the value.

          With that said here comes a spoiler from next months report highlighting emergency management: we have asked for and are receiving funding to bolster training, equipment, and supplies for the CERT Team. Over the next fiscal year we will be increasing the team’s utilization and building on the foundation that has already been established. Additionally, I have realigned the responsibilities of a Division Chief to focus on leading Community & Agency Preparedness. Much of his work will support the Captain who currently runs the CERT program and it will increase the coordination with Yolo County OES.

          We will also be exploring adding interested parties from UCD who have been trying to start a team on campus. More to come!

          Take care!

          1. jrberg

            I heard a rumor about the funding. Sounds great, and I will be looking forward to increased participation. You have a lot of community members who are willing to help.

  3. Tia Will

    Phil Coleman

    “With changes in building codes, fire prevention measures, and such, actual structural fires are quite rare.”

    Interesting that you cite building codes as contributory. I believe that these are a form of regulation. Quite
    useful interns of preventing avoidable losses it seems to me.

    1. South of Davis

      Tia wrote;

      > Interesting that you cite building codes as contributory. I believe
      > that these are a form of regulation. Quite useful interns of
      > preventing avoidable losses it seems to me.

      Just think if we ban smoking, e-cigarettes, bar-b-qs, ALL fireplaces and gas stoves we will have even less fires…

      P.S. Banning ALL cars (including electric cars like the Tesla that burst in to flames every now and then) would prevent even more fires.

      http://a.abcnews.com/images/Business/HT_tesla_fire_jtm_131003_16x9_992.jpg

  4. Matt Williams

    Chief Trauernicht, thank you for the superb report. I echo the thoughts of the other posters here. The medical issue that Frankly has raised is one that I have witnessed in action over recent years when my elderly neighbor has had as many as seven 911 calls in a single year, with two fire trucks and an ambulance all arriving to help him and his wife deal with the fact that he had fallen. With four fire personnel on each truck at the time plus the two Ambulance personnel, the devotion of 10 personnel resources and three vehicles for each of those seven calls seemed a bit like overkill … but of course, to him and his wife those personnel were a godsend.

    I do have three historical experience questions that I would like you to research and answer.

    First, does Davis have statistics about the type of structures that have had fires over the years. For example,

    — single family residences
    — condominiums
    — small multi-family family residences up to 4 units (duplexes, triplexes, quadplexes)
    — apartments of 5 units and above
    — commercial establishments
    — industrial companies
    — other

    Second, how does the average firefighting cost for the single family residential fires in Davis compare to the average fire fighting cost for apartment fires in Davis?

    In the interests of full disclosure, with respect to that second question I received the following information when I recently posed it in another venue:

    With respect to the second question, the average firefighting costs are similar, regardless of occupancy type. Most fires in Davis have been successfully controlled by the first alarm assignment of three engines, the rescue and UC Davis Truck, prior to July 9, 2013 and four engines, the rescue and UC Davis Truck after July 9, 2013. I am not privy to fires that have occurred prior to July 2009, but of the fires I researched from July 2009 to present, the only fire that I am aware of that required a second alarm response to the scene of the fire was the apartment fire on Sycamore in February or March of 2013. The average firefighting cost per incident is predicated on several variables, pre-burn time, size and complexity of the occupancy, time of day, to name a few. However, the historical data over the past five years does not show a significant difference between occupancy type with respect to average firefighting cost.

    Third, the reason for asking the second question about total firefighting cost by structure type has to do with the fixed costs of our Water District of which a significant portion is (correctly I believe) identified as “fireline protection.” In a perfect world no residence or structure will ever experience a fire, but just as each homeowner/businessowner purchases fire insurance to protect themselves against loos, each water ratepayer wants the peace of mind assurance that if he/she should experience a fire, the hydrants will flow profusely when the fire professionals attach hoses to them. So, my question to you is, “Is there a differential water flow difference for the different types of structures listed in the first question?”

    The same disclosure for the second question applies to this third question, and the following information came as a result of my question in another venue:

    My response to your second question focused on Davis; however, there is an industry norm for determining the necessary fire flow to extinguish any given occupancy. That given fire flow is different based on the occupancy. Single family dwellings require less fire flow to extinguish than a duplex, fourplex, or large apartment complex. I am not privy to the complexities of the water rates, but would believe that if there is a fire flow component to the rate structure there will be significant differences with respect to necessary fire flows for any given structure. Your question related to average firefighting costs of actual fires, not required fire flows for any given structure. I am not sure that if the water rate structure uses fire flow calculations that using average firefighting cost is comparing apples to apples.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.

    1. Fire Chief Trauernicht (DFD/UCDFD)

      Good Evening Matt,

      While we can provide a breakdown of structure fire by occupancy, our records management system (RMS) doesn’t have a common field where that is reported. What that means is that we would have to go back and individually search the narrative fields and research the response addresses to determine the occupancy type. On the UCD side we have whats called “premise files” built into RMS for all structures on campus that would allow a fairly easy search for your request. Unfortunately, to my knowledge the City does not. The good news is that we are currently moving the City to the same RMS UCDFD uses and with that we have begun generating premise files for occupancies in Davis. In the future your request will be easier to fulfill.

      But with all that said, I can validate that the two responses you were provided are accurate.

      More broadly on the topic of water supply requirements:
      Water supply analysis establishes how much water is available and determines how much pressure and gallons per minute (GPM) are need for adequate fire protection. In some cases, industry standards and codes give specific requirements. In others, requirements are left substantially to the design engineers or authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ). An example of an AHJ would be a local Fire Marshal or Building Official.

      Determining water supply requirements for manual firefighting operations has always been more of an art than a science. The more commonly used formulas have never really addressed differences in fuel load of contents and are really nothing more than gross approximations. One of the original formulas based the community’s water supply requirements on population. However, it became apparent that sparsely populated industrial communities may have a greater fire protection water supply demand than densely populated residential areas.

      There are four common techniques for calculating fire flow requirements. A formula traditionally used in fire service circles was developed by the Fire Service Extension Division of Iowa State University and is typically referred to as the Iowa State Formula which is:
      Q=(0.01)(v)
      Where:
      Q=the required fire flow in gpm
      V=the building volume in cubic feet
      (Note: No consideration is given to the combustibility of construction or contents)

      More recently, the National Fire Academy (NFA) has begun promoting the following formula:
      Q=(1/3)(a)
      Where:
      Q=the required fire flow in gpm
      A=the building area in square feet
      (Note: Compensation is not made for variations in construction type or hazard of occupancy. However, both formulas contemplate full building involvement and could be revised for foreground operations if only a portion of a building were involved in fire.)

      The following was developed for insurance grading purposes and is published by the Insurance Services Office (ISO):
      Q=(18)(c)(a)^0.5
      Where:
      Q=needed fire flow in fpm
      A=building area in square feet
      C=a factor based on construction: 1.5 for wood frame, 1.0 for wood-joist masonry, 0.8 for unprotected noncombustible, and 0.6 for fire resistive
      (Note: using this formula requires rounding to the nearest 250 gpm. Also, a minimum value of 500 fpm is imposed, with a max of 8,000 fpm for wood frame and wood-joisted masonry. A 6,000 fpm max is specified for other construction types. The formula may be adjusted for differences in occupancy combustibility allowing the results to be increased or decreased by up to 25% for the combust-abilty (may have just made up a new word there) of contents. The objective of this formula is to deuterium the fire flow needed to contain a fully developed fire to the building of origin and thus prevent conflagration.)

      Lastly, some fire codes contain tables that specifically state the required mimim fire flows and required fire flow duration.

      Regardless of the method used to calculate the flow rate, the required fire flow should be available simultaneously with domestic consumption at the maximum daily rate.

      Is this information what you are looking for???

      1. Matt Williams

        Both yes and no. Let me tell you what I have heard. Regarding my first question, the City databases currently store fire information by “occupancy” but that said information is in a non-discrete text field that provides a narrative of the pertinent details of the fire, so extraction of the address or occupancy type is not possible. Regarding my second question, the overall costs of fighting a fire at a multi-family residential structure are essentially the same as the overall costs of fighting a fire at a single family residential structure. Regarding my third question, the amount of water (which is an unbilled cost when fighting a fire) is roughly proportional to the volume of the structure, and therefore the typical single family residential structure fire would require less water than the typical multi-family residential structure fire because multi-family residential structures typically (but certainly not always) contain more cubic volume than single family residential structures do.

        As a follow-up question to your answer to my first question, will the 911 call database have the address of the fire based on the information that the reporting 911 caller provided?

        1. Fire Chief Trauernicht (DFD/UCDFD)

          Hi Matt,

          Your understanding regarding question #1 is correct, but we are working on changing that with the new RMS.

          Regarding #2, what do you mean by cost? Are you referring only to the value to property lost? Lost profits if it was a business? Are you referring to the cost of total damage, water damage, smoke damage, firefighting damage? Or are you referring to the personnel costs associated with the act of fighting an individual fire, apparatus costs for that incident, fuel costs for that incident, etc?

          Regarding your third question… its kinda hard to answer. The reality is you could have a room and contents fire in a multi-family apartment complex that uses no more water than a room and contents fire in a single family dwelling. Conversely you could have a fire in a single family dwelling that spreads to a neighboring home because of strong winds and zero lot line construction. So its really hard to draw a line in the sand and say that in every single scenario one or the other will require more water. It all depends on all the factors that go into fire behavior. We could go real deep into the factors that determine fire spread, but not sure that’s your intent here. Long story short, big building doesn’t always mean big water and little building doesn’t always mean little water, it all is dependent on circumstance.

          And to answer your final question, yes – CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) does record address, but we also have address information in our RMS… In fact in the new RMS we go live with at DFD on July 1 most the the report fields from RMS auto populate into the RMS report.

          If I’m still not providing the kind of answer you’re looking for please let me know.

          1. Matt Williams

            You are doing superbly. Your answer to question #1 is both complete and fully satisfactory. I hope the new RMS install goes well. Your answer to question #3 is also both complete and fully satisfactory.

            Regarding your answer to question #2 you are right in on the key issue I’m trying to triangulate in on. In a perfect world no one would experience a fire, but reality says that every homeowner, apartment owner and business owner wants the comfort (dare I say insurance) of knowing that if they do experience a fier, when your engin es roll onto the scene they will be able to attache to the nearest fire hydrant and have copious amounts of water. That water availability for fireline protection is one of the water system’s non-volumetric costs. Determining how to fairly and proportionally allocate those costs to the 16,433 accounts in the water district is a challenge. The dialogue around that challenge has touched on each of the questions you ask about both value and cost. I personally believe that fireline readiness is essentially a fire insurance policy; however, coming up with value that that insurance policy provides each ratepayer is a challenge. In the back and forth dialogue about this, some people have argued that apartment fires are more expensive to fight, both in terms of “act of fighting costs” and in terms of imputed water costs (since no hydrant actually has a meter). My personal sense is that neither act of fighting costs nor imputed water costs are meaningful, and that value of the structure and contents is what drives an owner’s decision about how much fire coverage they purchase from their insurance company. Two of the premises put forward in the dialogue has been that apartments experience both more frequent fires and higher value fires. Understanding the relative frequency of single family residence fires vs. multi-family residence fires vs. commercial/industrial fires will help address the first of those premises, and collectively the answers to the questions you posed in your “regarding #2” paragraph above will go a long way toward addressing the second premise.

            Regarding the street address in the CAD database of 911 fire calls, can that information be exported into an Excel spreadsheet. If it can, then that information could be merged with the Water District’s database and the type of structure at an address could be determined from the merged information because the water database has structure type for every address in Davis that has a water meter.

  5. wdf1

    Chief Trauernicht,

    Thanks for being willing to interact in an informative and professional manner in this venue. I much appreciate that you have taken the time and effort to do so.

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