As Contra Costa fire season arrives, underfunding forces ECCFPD to reduce services

Due to severe underfunding, the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD) is taking urgent measures to maintain its extremely limited operations and keep firefighters safe.

As of July 1, the fire district is only sending firefighters inside a burning building if human life is at risk. Due to the lack of resources, ECCFPD must now focus on containing the fire to the structure involved.

Unfortunately, this defensive operation strategy raises the safety risk factors for families, businesses and property within our communities just as the 2020 fire season is getting underway.

All public outreach events and station visits also will be eliminated indefinitely for the district, which serves Marsh Creek, Morgan Territory, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Bethel Island, Knightsen and Byron.

The safety risk of being underfunded and short three fire stations is real and growing.

In fire emergencies, every second counts. When a fire or emergency strikes, people need help quickly. Response times matter. Delayed response times can allow a fire to double in size every 30 seconds.

But our reality is that these East Contra Costa communities, homes, businesses and families will, on average, face slower responses than national standards recommend, when calling 911.

Due to severe underfunding, our firefighters are continually overrun responding to calls, maintaining required training and trying to be active in public education. We must take necessary steps to save lives and provide the safest environment for our workforce, so firefighters are ready and able to answer the call when it comes.

These are not steps we want to take – and, candidly, they may not be the last. We may have to consider even more drastic measures.

The reality is we have to live within our means and keep our firefighters safe. We are working tirelessly to address our severe funding shortfall, including correcting past oversights and renegotiating developer fees and other fees that should have been put into place decades ago.

We are also practicing full transparency, asking our community for input and continuously listening in every direction. Our goal is to find common ground that helps shape a local ballot measure that our community can support, authorizing a new, stable and reliable (i.e. guaranteed, sustainable and sufficient) local funding source that secures adequate ECCFPD fire protection in the future and that doesn’t take resources away from our public service partners.

For more information, please visit the Fire Prevention link at