On this episode, I chat with Vince Wells who is the President of the United Professional Fire Fighters of Contra Costa County IAFF Local 1230. We get into a variety of topics regarding fire services in Contra Costa County and the lack of resources, possible consolidation ideas, revenue enhancement concepts, we talk about the Bethel Island Fire, aid & mutual aid services. Fire response times and much more.

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Wells did this interview as the union president and not a fire captain for Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

  • 00:53 – What is going on in Contra Costa County in terms of fire service.
  • 02:00 – With 11 fire districts in Contra Costa County, why can’t we create one giant fire district through consolidation?
  • 04:56 – Just defining the number of fire districts in the county, its confusing, is that a problem?
  • 06:58 – Property tax allocation and difference in funding levels between East Contra Costa vs. the rest of Contra Costa County. Its funded at half-the-level as the rest of the county. East Contra Costa Fire would need 6-stations to even begin discussing consolidation. What would happen if East Contra Costa Fire dissolves?
  • 16:00 – Wear and Tear of East Contra Costa Fire and Contra Costa Fire Stations in Antioch firefighters due to high number of calls. East Contra Costa Fire has 3-stations covering 250-square miles and 110,000 people and Antioch alone has 4-stations for 30-square miles and 116,000 people.
  • 20:22 – Bethel Island 2-alarm fire response as an example for aid response.
  • 27:48 – East Contra Costa Fire retention, poaching by other Districts + upcoming retirements.
  • 29:23 – How do we solve the issue of getting more fire stations in East Contra Costa Fire. Is it a parcel tax? Benefit Assessment? What about some of these other ideas? Contra Costa Fire still needs 4-5 more stations.
  • 33:52 – Wells discusses how things that “sound good” and people sound credible, but its not always correct information on social media.
  • 35:00 – Why aren’t state legislators trying to fix fire service in California?
  • 40:57 – Another idea is freezing tax allocation and giving future funding to the fire district. Another unattainable solution that is not realistic.
  • 45:30 – Volunteer firefighters and why it would not work in todays world In Contra Costa County.
  • 49:35 – Response times in East Contra Costa – Wells argues what is left out in the average response times.
  • 53:03 – Volunteer fire department and would response times be even higher? Wells highlights firefighters had to shadow volunteers to ensure a response.
  • 56:47 – Transparency in the East Contra Costa Fire & Contra Costa Fire, people still are not happy.
  • 57:30 – Why do fire engines respond to medical calls and the AMR-CONFIRE alliance and that benefit.
  • 1:05:45 – Did Wells ever imagine wearing bullet proof vests as firefighters?
  • 1:07:54 – Wells on Lewis Broschard III being appointed Contra Costa County Fire Chief
  • 1:09:40 – Where do we go from here with Fire Service in Contra Costa County and prepping for summer. Wells highlights how they are understaffed and been fighting for years for more services. Potential consolidation ideas and concepts.
  • 1:18:27 – Explanation how East County Today started by covering firefighters in Contra Costa County.

For more information on the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa, Local 1230, Visit them online at: www.contracostafirefighters.org


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