News

Palo Alto, Menlo fire district forge new agreement

New contract enhances automatic-aid arrangement between agencies

The Palo Alto Fire Department has forged a new partnership with the Menlo Park Fire Protection District -- an agreement that officials say strengthens the mutual-aid arrangement between the two agencies.

The agreement, which the City Council unanimously passed Monday, is scheduled to go to the fire district's board of directors later this month and is expected to be fully implemented by the end of the year, according to Palo Alto Fire Deputy Chief Roger Bloom. The previous agreement took effect in 1999 and officials from both agencies felt it was due for an update.

The new agreement adds a truck company and a battalion chief from each agency to the automatic-aid arrangement. It also expands Palo Alto's boundary for coverage to Bay Road in East Palo Alto and the fire district's coverage into West Bayshore, the Palo Alto Airport and the Baylands, according to a report by Bloom.

Leaders of both agencies this week praised the new arrangement for further boosting the region's fire-protection services. At the Monday council meeting, Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman from the Menlo Park Fire Protection District praised the new agreement for supporting a regional approach to fire protection.

"At the end of the day, I don't think the people care what the fire truck says," Schapelhouman said. "They care that we're here on time, they care that we do a good job."

Bloom agreed and said the new automatic-aid agreement "seeks to improve fire and emergency services to both communities by effectively using automatic aid as part of a regional solution for immediate assistance regardless of the jurisdiction and not affected by County lines."

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District serves Menlo Park, Atherton and East Palo Alto. Under the new agreement, which will be in effect for five years, the district would also provide water-rescue response for incidents around San Francisquito Creek and the Baylands near Palo Alto Airport.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Michael
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Another reason our union-backed minimum staffing requirements is a ridiculous waste of money. Let's outsource the whole department and save millions.


Like this comment
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2011 at 9:21 pm

I actually think this is an example of good government. It's neighborly and means they have each others' backs for the good of the population.

I've always felt like the two cities are sisters just across the creek from each other. Palo Alto has always felt to me as though it belongs in San Mateo County.

Nice to see lines desolve for the common good.


Like this comment
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 5, 2011 at 7:26 am

Michael - did you even bother to read the story before you copied and pasted you typical negative comment.

Mr. Carpenter has mentioned the idea of MP and PA consolidation. A real hurdle to that is the fact that the two departments are in different counties and as a result have different EMS protocols. A step toward more unification would be to standardize the county procedures.

I am not proposing consolidation is the right step because I do not know what MP would bring to the table - it seems like the PA program is more efficient than MP so I do not know what PA would gain from such a union.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 5, 2011 at 8:09 am

The efficiencies from consolidation come not because one of the existing components is more or less efficient than the other(s) but from the economies of scale when two or more components are consolidated. One chief rather than two or more, three battalion chiefs rather than six or more etc.


Like this comment
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 5, 2011 at 8:46 am

I understand that, but PA is already down a Chief and I think they are also down 2-3 battalion chiefs. How do you propose standardizing the EMS procedures between the two counties?


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 5, 2011 at 9:04 am

"How do you propose standardizing the EMS procedures between the two counties?"

Pick the one who best serves the citizens and use that as the standard.

The alternative is to let the bureaucrats control everything by petty regulations that have little logical basis.


Like this comment
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 5, 2011 at 9:36 am

"Pick the one who best serves the citizens and use that as the standard. "

You are a member of the Fire Board - so you must understand you last comment is just too simplistic - this about what drugs may be used and what medical procedures may be used. Please think about you answer and then respond.


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Aug 5, 2011 at 10:21 am

Opponents use the pros and cons of different protocols as a useful delaying tactic. Any large EMS agency uses ONE set of procedures, not a conglomeration of multiple procedures.

So simple answers are often the best - "Pick the one who best serves the citizens and use that as THE standard. "


Like this comment
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Aug 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

But is there a process to get the two counties to agree a single standard? I do not think they can just pick one without some agreement with the County medical people. Is this an issue or not. It would seem logical to me to have PA, LAH, MP and Woodside all come together but I keep hearing about this EMS issue. I am assuming MP has Paramedics - right?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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