East County fire district ­facing stretched services

There is a golden hour between life and death. If you are critically injured, you have less than 60 minutes to survive.

East Contra Costa Fire Protection District’s (ECCFPD) jurisdiction has includes no hospitals, which is why so many patients are transported via helicopter for advanced medical treatment.

When every second matters and time and distance are both your enemy and friend, ECCFPD firefighters answer the call.

Our challenges are both small and large. In 2018, we responded to 7,782 emergency 911 calls. We operate out of three fire stations, each staffed by three firefighters, for a total of nine firefighters on shift at any given time. We cover more than 250 square miles and a community population of nearly 128,000 people.

We are not adequately staffed or equipped to serve our community’s needs. For a community our size, we should have six fire stations and 18 firefighters on duty 24/7.

New Battalion Chief Gill Guerrero

East County fire district ­facing stretched services
Gill Guerrero is a new battalion chief with the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.

One of our newly promoted battalion chiefs is Chief Gill Guerrero, standing ready to respond. Guerrero graduated from Sonoma State with a BA in management/accounting but quickly realized the business world did not satisfy his servant mentality.

“I went back to school to study fire science and become an EMT,” he recalls. “I was hired as a paid on-call firefighter by Contra Costa Fire and later hired as a career firefighter by East Diablo Fire, which later became East Contra Costa Fire.”

Raised in Pinole, Guerrero and his wife Stephanie live in Vacaville with their two Rottweilers. Guerrero has three grown children.

Promoting through the ranks, he spent the last 13½ years as a captain. He had the privilege of serving as a vice president and executive board member of the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County, Local 1230, since 2007.

“I anticipate missing the day-to-day adventures of the engine company life, but I’m looking forward to the new challenges and serving our firefighters and community from a different perspective,” says Guerrero, who became a battalion chief on March 15.

Looking to the future, Guerrero sees his fire district standing at a crossroads.

‘We operate as one system’

“Fire station closures have put a strain on our three remaining open fire stations as more fires and emergencies occur in our growing community. It’s important for residents to take notice,” he says. “People’s lives and property are at risk. We operate as one system. We respond to calls based on resources available across our system.

Additional firefighters and fire stations will improve district-wide service levels.”

Please join this conversation. The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District is your fire district. Your opinions matter. We are listening.

For more information, please visit www.eccfpd.org.