Faced with continued financial shortfalls, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District has announced that it will take “new urgent measures” to maintain its limited operations and keep firefighters safe.
ECCFPD Chief Brian Helmick said during a news conference Thursday that the department will only send firefighters into burning structures if lives are at stake, starting on July 1.
“There are many realities and many forces that are driving the decision I am making,” Helmick said of the defensive strategy. “We really don’t have any choice, being underfunded and underresourced.”
The chief, in an earlier news release, said the district’s three-station model — instead of the six needed to cover 250 square miles — is “pushing firefighters to their limits as they respond to twice as many calls for help.”
In addition, only three of the department’s five fire engines will be sent to a working structure fire, Helmick said, noting East Contra Costa Fire is the only agency in the county to impose such a limit.