Mariposa County Supervisors to Receive Information from MCFD All Hands Meeting Where the CALFIRE Command and Control Option Was Discussed Between County Fire Volunteers and CALFIRE Representatives
The following information is from the supervisors packet:
MEETING: March 21, 2017
TO: The Board of Supervisors
FROM: Doug Binnewies, Sheriff-Coroner-Public Administrator
RE: Receive Presentation and Overview of the Information Presented at the Fire Department Meeting
RECOMMENDATION AND JUSTIFICATION:
Receive presentation and overview of the information shared at the January 10th, 2017 Mariposa County Fire Department Special All Hands Meeting where the CALFIRE Command and Control option was discussed between County Fire Volunteers and CALFIRE representatives. This meeting comprised of County Fire Department Command staff and volunteer members, as well as the Board of Supervisors Fire Department Liaisons Supervisor Kevin Cann and Supervisor Merlin Jones, and also CALFIRE MMU Fire Chief Nancy Koerperich, command staff and representatives.
The intent of the meeting was to provide a platform for a Q & A between both fire departments staff and members to discuss the potential of Mariposa County contracting CALFIRE for local Command and Control assistance to the County Fire Department. This meeting started at approximately 6:04 pm and concluded about two hours later.
Several members of the County Fire Department assisted in the creation of the attached document to memorialize what was discussed. This is from participant recollections, to staff's knowledge no recording devices were utilized at the meeting. BACKGROUND AND HISTORY OF BOARD ACTIONS: The Board of Supervisors has received similar presentations.
ALTERNATIVES AND CONSEQUENCES OF NEGATIVE ACTION:
Not hear presentation and as consequence the shared items would not be public information
Recollections of Questions & Answers from 1/10/17 Special All Hands Meeting:
What happens to our older people and out of shape people that don’t match up to State standards?
Need to meet MCFD training/NFPA standards.
There was also a question regarding meeting Cal Fire standards with discussion about the County Wellness Program that Dr. Ryder had initiated, but did not get finalize (this is still in process and Sheriff is now working with the County Health Officer). There was also comment that a Cal Fire contract would have no bearing because MCFD already has NFPA standards in their training requirements.
What happens to our Captains & Lieutenants who don’t qualify to State standards – haven’t finished task books.
Calfire staff and identified trainers would work with those that were interested in completing the task books and whatever additional requirements and sops are needed.
What role will our Battalion Chiefs have in our department?
They should have a similar role, with little or no change because they are needed. Their rank/title may need to be changed to reduce confusion in department structure and organization.
Who is in charge on scene? Noting volunteers already have problems with Cal Fire taking charge over volunteers.
Follows ICS. Doesn’t matter which rank is in charge. The incident will dictate who is in charge. There shouldn’t be any change.
Will Cal Fire Chief have an open-door policy for complaints or problems, as MCFD had with their Chiefs in the past?
Chief Koerperich said the open door policy is important, but, it items do need to go through Chain of Command. Noted that a lot of times she has been approached by her people with a problem and even though she knew she could probably help, it still needed to go through the chain to be resolved or if not, then to the Chief’s level.
How will Cal Fire handle recruitment?
There was some discussion & Chief Koerperich talked about Madera Fire recruiting. Chief Koerperich also added that the opportunity to work and train with Cal Fire along with the exposure that would create might attract potential volunteers who are looking to work for Cal Fire as a firefighter. When and if Calfire learns the organization more, they could assist in recruiting, but needs to learn the terrain first.
Will the Cal Fire personnel under contract be full time to MCFD or will they have shared duties with Cal Fire Mariposa unit or elsewhere?
The contracted employees will be responsible & loyal to the County and MCFD Policies & Procedures, although there is a potential for them to go out of county on occasion, with the plan being to back-fill the position in their absence.
Kevin Cann’s understanding is that the Cal Fire personnel will be working in a County funded position.
Impacts to the working relationship between MCFD & Cal Fire firefighters in the field and day to day direction of volunteers.
Discussions brought up that day-to-day direction of the volunteers will remain the same with minimal change. There would be no changes. It will enhance the working relationship with following ICS.
Question addressing MCFD/County responsibility of structure fires staying the same.
Noted that everyone goes now, and won’t change. Chief Koerperich said Cal Fire is not pigeon holed to just wildfires and they would respond also. They do respond to everything. Cal Fire is an All Hazards agency.
Will MCFD Training Captains still do the training?
They will still be needed and utilized to help with training. Cal Fire does not want to displace any capable and qualified trainer. They hope to enhance the current structure, not replace it. And in fact Cal Fire can’t replace it. They hope to work in partnership with the volunteers.
Did County ever place an Ad for a Fire Chief for MCFD?
There was discussion about many problems that occurred with previous chiefs. It was mentioned that a Fire Chief, Cal Fire and other options are being considered.
Cost comparison of stand-alone Chief vs a Cal Fire contract.
Supervisor Cann said they cannot compare until they have a contract with actual cost from Cal Fire. Noted need for discussion of what the County would get & what they would give up to Cal Fire. Supervisor Jones mentioned we need to have the proposal include some State Fire Marshall duties for the County.
Can MCFD volunteers be involved in the contract development?
Volunteer thought it would be a good idea because they have history that could help with fillingin the “loop-holes”.
Supervisor Jones encouraged all to participate by showing up to Board Meeting & speaking ideas and concerns.
Another suggestion brought up, by a volunteer, was that there should be a meeting with County Board Meeting & Volunteers (excluding Cal Fire). He feels the meetings are slanted towards the Cal Fire proposal. Supervisor Cann said this should happen at a regular board meeting, in writing.
Will the monthly Association & Captains meeting continue if Cal Fire is in charge?
Chief Koerperich said she believes that they have to. She fully supports it in order to address and resolve issues at that level. Mentioned that Merced & Madera also have Associations.
It was also brought up that this is not a Schedule A Agreement to staff MCFD stations and that Cal Fire would not be taking over MCFD stations and equipment. MCFD stations, equipment and volunteers remain the same. The Command and Control Agreement would enhance fire protection in the county.