Fire Commission - October 27, 2021


    SAN FRANCISCO San Francisco Fire Deprtment Official Seal FIRE COMMISSION

    Fire Commission Regular Meeting

    October 27, 2021, 5:00 p.m.






    Remote Meeting via video and teleconferencing (see below links and phone numbers)


    This meeting is being held by WebEx pursuant to the Governor’s Executive Orders Mayoral Proclamations Declaring the Existence of a Local Emergency.


    During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) emergency, the Fire Commission’s regular meeting room at City Hall is closed, and meetings of the Fire Commission will convene remotely.


    Watch live at


    Participating During Public Comment: By Phone


    Public Comment Call in number is: 



    Access Code:  2480 793 2045


    Members of the public will have opportunities to participate during public comment. The public is asked to wait for the particular agenda item before making a comment on that item. Comments will be addressed in the order they are received. When the moderator announces that the Commission is taking public comment, members of the public can:

    1. Raise hand” by pressing * 3 and you will be queued.
    2. Callers will hear silence when waiting for your turn to speak. Operator will unmute you.
    3. When prompted, callers will have the standard three minutes to provide comment.
    • Ensure you are in a quiet location.
    • Speak clearly.
    • Turn off any TVs or radios around you.



    Item No.
    1.         ROLL CALL



    Katherine Feinstein

    Vice President

    Stephen A. Nakajo


    Francee Covington


    Ken Cleaveland


    Armie Morgan



    Chief of Department

    Jeanine Nicholson

    Ramaytush Ohlone Land Acknowledgement


    The San Francisco Fire Commission acknowledges that we are on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone who are the original inhabitants of the San Francisco Peninsula.  As the indigenous stewards of this land, and in accordance with their traditions, the Ramaytush Ohlone have never ceded, lost, nor forgotten their responsibilities as the caretakers of this place, as well as for all peoples who reside in their traditional territory.  As guests, we recognize that we benefit from living and working on their traditional homeland.  We wish to pay our respects by acknowledging the Ancestors, Elders, and Relatives of the Ramaytush Ohlone community and by affirming their sovereign rights as First Peoples.



    Members of the public may address the Commission for up to three minutes on any matter within the Commission’s jurisdiction that does not appear on the agenda.  Speakers shall address their remarks to the Commission as a whole and not to individual Commissioners or Department personnel.  Commissioners are not to enter into debate or discussion with a speaker.  The lack of a response by the Commissioners or Department personnel does not necessarily constitute agreement with or support of statements made during public comment.


    3.         APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES [Discussion and possible action]

    Discussion and possible action to approve meeting minutes.


    • Minutes from Regular Meeting on September 22, 2021.
    • Minutes from Regular Meeting on October 13, 2021.


    4.         CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT’S REPORT [Discussion]


    Report on current issues, activities, and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting on October 13, 2021, including budget, academies, special events, communications, and outreach to other government agencies and the public and introduction of Rescue Captain Beth Goudreau for whom the Fire Commission will present a certificate of appreciation for her heroic efforts on August 16, 2021.



    Report on the Administrative Divisions, Fleet and Facility status and updates, Finance, Support Services, and Training within the Department.


    5.         COMMISSION REPORT [Discussion]

    Report on Commission activities since last meeting of October 13, 2021.


    Discussion regarding agenda for next and future Fire Commission meetings.


    7.         ADJOURNMENT      

    San Francisco Fire Commission





    Commission Meeting Schedule and Location


    The Fire Commission will meet regularly on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month at San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102. The second Wednesday in Room 416 at 9:00 a.m. and the fourth Wednesday in Room 400 at 5:00 p.m.


    Commission Office


    The Fire Commission Office is located at 698 Second Street, Room 220, San Francisco, CA 94107. The Fire Commission telephone number is (415) 558-3451; the fax number is (415) 558-3413. The web address is  Office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.


    Language Access


    Per the Language Access Ordinance (Chapter 91 of the San Francisco Administrative Code), Chinese, Spanish and or Filipino (Tagalog) interpreters will be available upon requests. Meeting Minutes may be translated, if requested, after they have been adopted by the Commission.  Assistance in additional languages may be honored whenever possible. To request assistance with these services please contact the Commission Secretary at (415) 558-3451, or at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing.  Late requests will be honored if possible.


    Information on Disability Access


    The hearing rooms in City Hall are wheelchair accessible.  The closest accessible BART station is the Civic Center Station at United Nations Plaza and Market Street. Accessible MUNI lines serving this location are: #42 Downtown Loop, and #71 Haight/Noriega and the F Line to Market and Van Ness and the Metro Stations at Van Ness and Market and at Civic Center. For information about MUNI accessible services call (415) 923-6142. There is accessible curbside parking adjacent to City Hall on Grove Street and Van Ness Avenue and in the vicinity of the Veterans Building at 401 Van Ness Avenue adjacent to Davies Hall and the War Memorial Complex.  For more information about MUNI accessible services, call (415) 701-4485.


    To obtain a disability-related modification or accommodation, including auxiliary aids or services, to participate in the meeting, please contact the Commission Secretary at least two business days before the meeting at (415) 558-3451 to make arrangements.  Late requests will be honored, if possible.


    To assist the City’s efforts to accommodate persons with severe allergies, environmental illnesses, multiple chemical sensitivity or related disabilities, attendees at public meetings are reminded that other attendees may be sensitive to various chemical based products. Please help the City to accommodate these individuals.


    Policy on use of Cell Phones, Pagers and Similar Sound-Producing Electronic Devices at and During Public Meetings


    The ringing and use of cell phones, pagers and similar sound-producing electronic devices are prohibited at Fire Commission meetings. Please be advised that the Chair may order the removal from the meeting room of any person(s) responsible for the ringing or use of a cell phone, pager, or other similar sound-producing electronic device.


    Documents for Public Inspection


    Documents referred to in this agenda, if not otherwise exempt from disclosure, are available for public inspection and copying at the Fire Commission Office.  If any materials related to an item on this agenda are distributed to the Fire Commission after distribution of the agenda packet, those materials, if not otherwise exempt from disclosure, are also available for public inspection at the Fire Commission Office, 698 Second Street, room 220, San Francisco, during normal office hours.


    Know Your Rights under the Sunshine Ordinance

    (Chapter 67 of the San Francisco Administrative Code)


    Government's duty is to serve the public, reaching its decisions in full view of the public. Commissions, boards, councils and other agencies of the City and County exist to conduct the people’s business. This ordinance assures that deliberations are conducted before the people and that City operations are open to the people’s review.  For more information on your rights under the sunshine ordinance or to report a violation of the ordinance, contact the sunshine ordinance task force. You may contact the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force Administrator, as follows: Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, City Hall, Room 244, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102-4689, Phone: (415) 554-7724, Fax: (415) 554-5784, E-mail: Copies of the Sunshine Ordinance can be obtained from the Clerk of the Sunshine Task Force, the San Francisco Public Library and on the City’s Web site at


    San Francisco Lobbyist Ordinance


    Individuals and entities that influence or attempt to influence local policy or administrative action may be required by the San Francisco Lobbyist Ordinance (San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code sections 2.100 – 2.160) to register and report lobbying activity. For more information about the Lobbyist Ordinance, please contact the Ethics Commission at 30 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 3900, San Francisco, CA 94102, telephone (415) 581-2300, fax (415) 581-2317 and Web site:





    Wednesday, October 27, 2021 – 5:00 p.m.

    This meeting was held remotely on WebEx



    The Video can be viewed by clicking this link:


    President Feinstein called the meeting to order at 5:04 p.m.


    Commission President

    Katherine Feinstein


    Vice President

    Stephen Nakajo



    Francee Covington



    Ken Cleaveland



    Armie Morgan





    Chief of Department

    Jeanine Nicholson



    Bryan Rubenstein

    Deputy Chief -- Operations

    Jose Velo

    Deputy Chief --Administration



    Sandy Tong


    David Brown

    Airport Division

    Ken Cofflin

    Bureau of Fire Prevention

    Dawn DeWitt

    Support Services

    Erica Arteseros

    Homeland Security

    Natasha Parks

    Health and Wellness

    Tom O’Connor


    Brice Peoples

    Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

    Simon Pang

    Community Paramedicine




    Mark Corso

    Deputy Director of Finance

    Dr. Jennifer Brokaw

    Department Physician

    Stephanie Phelps

    NP Ph.D. (Occupational Health)



    2.         PUBLIC COMMENT


    There was no public comment.


    3.         APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES [Discussion and possible action]

    Discussion and possible action to approve meeting minutes.


    • Minutes from Regular Meeting on September 22, 2021.


    Commissioner Covington asked that these minutes be held over.


    • Minutes from Regular Meeting on October 13, 2021.



    Commissioner Cleaveland Moved to approve the minutes and President Feinstein Seconded. The motion was unanimous.


    There was no public comment.


    4.         CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT’S REPORT [Discussion]


    Report on current issues, activities, and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting on October 13, 2021, including budget, academies, special events, communications, and outreach to other government agencies and the public and introduction of Rescue Captain Beth Goudreau for whom the Fire Commission will acknowledge their appreciation for her heroic efforts on August 16, 2021.


    Chief Nicholson reported on activities since the last meeting on October 13, 2021.  She mentioned that over the weekend the crews were very busy due to the severe storm and that they had 108 calls for downed trees,131 building alarms, 32 water and flooding issues, 135 electrical hazard calls, 35 wire down calls, 17 full boxes, and approximately 440 EMS calls as well as approximately 15 fire stations that had leaks due to the rain.  She thanked all the members who attended those calls.  She stated that there was good news around COVID 19 as it is continuing to decrease in the city and currently 10 members in the Department are off with COVID and as of today, the Department has approximately 20 people who are not vaccinated and that number does not include people on disability or long-term leave. Chief Nicholson and Chief Arteseros Brown met with the Mira Loma Park Neighborhood group to discuss neighborhood resilience and how they can work together to be better prepared for incidents and events and she looks forward to attending more meetings throughout the city with neighborhood groups.  She touched on Chief O’Connor’s drill this morning at Fort Mason where they demonstrated how the Emergency Firefighting Water Supply System works and what the fireboat can do in terms of supplying hose lines and above-ground hydrants. She thanked Commissioners Cleaveland and Morgan for attending the drill as she thinks it is great that they are educating elected officials so they can understand what the department’s needs are and how things work. She welcomed Captain Ramon Serrano who will be taking over for Assistant Deputy Chief Dawn DeWitt who will be retiring at the end of the year. She added that they will miss Chief Dewitt and thanked her for all her work. She announced that they picked up two therapy dogs from Southern California and they are currently in the bonding stage for the next month before they get additional training. Chief Nicholson introduced Captain Beth Goudreau and thanked her for stepping up on August 16th to help with a woman who had drunk anti-freeze 350 miles off the coast.


    President Feinstein read into the record, the highlights of Captain Goudreau’s rescue of August 16, 2021, which was included in Chief Rubenstein’s report last month which described the rescue as follows:


    This was a highly complex medical evacuation performed at night, off a small sailboat, hundreds of miles offshore that tested the limits of our crews and equipment," said Samp. "The sailor's life was saved by the dedicated teamwork of the San Francisco Fire Department and Coast Guard personnel across eight different units."    

    Captain Goudreau was able to stabilize a complex medical patient in the most challenging of environments. As conditions changed, the USCG personnel described the rescue during ongoing hazard assessments as evolving from a "medium risk, high reward" rescue to a "high risk, high reward" scenario. The USCG crew performed a night mission, far from the coast, requiring two shipboard fuel stops for the aircraft, and deployed a rescue swimmer in turbulent seas. While en route to San Francisco International Airport for deployment Captain Goudreau contacted Poison Control for a consult and provided an update to Command Staff. Upon arrival with her Advanced Life Support (ALS) equipment, Captain Goudreau briefed the Coast Guard personnel and determined what equipment would be necessary or possible to manage a patient in an unknown status. Captain Goudreau prepared for every potential patient presentation, including cardiac arrest, altered mental status, hypothermia, and more.


    After a turbulent flight lasting several hours and one refueling stop aboard a Coast Guard Cutter, the rescue crew had a limited time based on fuel to affect a high-risk rescue. Captain Goudreau prepared her equipment in limited space to receive her patient with very low ambient light conditions. After the heroic work of the Coast Guard team to rescue the patient, Captain Goudreau received the patient and immediately initiated care for which included removing wet clothing and treating for hypothermia, obtaining a baseline set of vital signs, and completing a full assessment. The patient was found to be severely obtunded and in critical condition.  Rescue Captain Goudreau secured an airway, initiated positive pressure ventilation, obtained interosseous access, EKG monitoring, performed shock management with fluid bolus and vasopressor drip, and stabilized the patient under sedation. This complex patient would be a challenge under normal circumstances will an entire team; however, with one EMT to assist in a dark helicopter, with little space, flying in turbulence (and with possibly a little motion sickness), this would challenge any experienced paramedic.


    The USCG helicopter required one more shipboard refueling stop to return. Once the aircraft landed at SFO, Captain Goudreau assisted in the ground transport to San Francisco General Hospital until the transfer of care approximately 9 hours after the DEC received the call. After some time in the ICU, the patient was released and recovering further at home.


    Captain Goudreau thanked everyone for the acknowledgment. She acknowledged the Coast Guard for making the amazing rescue and added they were all consummate professionals and very good at what they did as it was far outside their normal operations, and she was honored to be part of their team. She also acknowledged San Francisco General Hospital for bringing the young sailor to a full recovery and she is grateful that she was able to go home.


    President Feinstein thanked her for taking her time to be here at the meeting and acknowledged how proud they all are of her.  Commissioner Covington stated that Captain Goudreau deserved a round of applause and thought the description of the rescue speaks for itself and stated that she appreciates her diligent work to help a person who was in dire straits.  Vice President Nakajo stated he appreciated being able to see Captain Goudreau, even though virtually and it makes him proud in terms of being associated with members of the Department and she is a fine example of that. He thanked her for her service.  Commissioner Cleaveland echoed the comments of his colleagues and let Captain Goudreau know that she makes the Fire Department very proud and thanked her for her service.


    Shon Buford, President of San Francisco Firefighters Local 798, congratulated Captain Serrano for his new appointment, Beth Goudreau for her honor, and Chief of Department for the process with interviews. He added that Local 798 still supports members remain on administrative leave as they pursue their legal and mandate ability to seek a reasonable accommodation.


    Ramon Serrano apologized and stated he was having major technical difficulties with his computer and had to call in on his cell phone.  He thanked the commission and stated that he is looking forward to working with everybody and he wants to continue all of Chief Dewitt’s hard work.


    Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Nicholson for her report and commented how impressed he was to get the San Francisco Fire Department workgroups and community guidelines in his packet which shows the different committees’ structure, chair, co-chair, and members from within the Department.



    Report on the Administrative Divisions, Fleet and Facility status and updates, Finance, Support Services, and Training within the Department.


    Chief Velo presented his September 2021 report. Chief Velo gave a mutual aid update by stating that their last deployment was on September 24th when Engine 361 went to the Fawn Fire and that the north part of the state is out of fires, but now other dangers and hazards come such as mudslides. He touched on the Division of Training, adding that the 128-academy class is in session with 36 recruits remaining out of 42 that started. He mentioned that DOT has also been involved in hazmat drills and multi-agency drills at the airport. He reported that Chief Peoples has been busy preparing for the 129th class interviews and he participated in the Autumn Moon Festival. He announced that Lt. Hashim Anderson is the new Captain of Recruitment, Outreach, and Development and they are happy to have him on board. He mentioned that NERT has been quite busy now that things have opened a bit and they can do drills. He stated that Chief Parks from Health, Safety, and Wellness has been busy as well as Tony Boone where they are working on updating manuals and documents. He also mentioned the two new therapy dogs, Marley and Sady who are being trained with Lt. Alba and Lt. Gibbs. He touched on the Physician’s office where they are introducing a new program campaign called 30 in, 30 out, focusing on staying healthy through your career and beyond and part of the campaign is knowing your numbers program. He announced that this past week Barbara Morino, a longtime assistant at the doctor's office retired with 41 years of service. He mentioned that Captain Jose Zalba conducted 50 random alcohol and drug tests, and all were negative. He stated that Chief Dewitt is always busy and that Station 35 is awaiting electrical connections and PG&E installed the switchgear and they are waiting for the PUC to connect that. He provided other facility and fleet updates including the recall of 11 engines because of transmission problems. He mentioned that Chief O’Connor continues to do drills and has preliminary interim design criteria for the portable Emergency Firefighting Water system in final review and on November 18, 2021, the Board of Supervisors is going to have a scheduled hearing to review the EFWS seawater Supply report and the Fire Following Earthquake report.  He announced that 21 new fire reservists graduated. He talked about fleet week events and noted that this month is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, where Christine Ichim raised funds and donated them to the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation.


    Public Comment:  Shon Buford thanked Chief Velo for his comprehensive report and congratulated Barbara Morino for a great career with the Department as she has been a true asset to the members over the years. He acknowledged and thanked Chief O’Connor for his work in going around showing the supervisors and community the importance of the AWSS system and how it works.


    Commissioner Cleaveland thanked Chief Velo for a great report and echoed Shon Buford’s comments regarding Tom O’Connor as he thinks he’s doing a fantastic job in bringing the needs of the Department to the supervisors in a very visible way. He also commended the Chief for putting a new recruitment manager on board with the appointment of Captain Hashim Anderson and suggested that we invite him to a future meeting to talk about how he sees his responsibilities as the recruitment manager for the Department. He also suggested regarding the replacement of Station 7, doing outreach, and getting input from the firefighters at that Station. Chief Velo responded that they plan on involving members of station 7 in the rebuild.


    Commissioner Covington thanked Barbara Morino and stated she was a shining light and always has such a huge smile for everyone that she encounters. Commissioner Covington confirmed that 11 engines are involved in the recall and hopefully they will be deployed in about two months. She asked how much money is leftover from the build-out of Station 49. Chief Dewitt responded that at the last financial meeting they had with the project manager, the reserves were about 1.7 million dollars, and they had several hundred thousand dollars left from portions of the budget that had not been expended, so probably close to two million dollars and there is still some work to complete.  She also suggested that the commission get an update on the newest fence design for Station 49.  She confirmed that that the new person in charge of recruitment will be working with a cadre of folks that are now working together in coordination with Captain Anderson, including Chief Peoples and Firefighter Christina Hunter. Commissioner Covington stated that she is glad to know that there is going to be a more robust presence because she thinks in the past, there has been some concern about it being a one-person responsibility.


    Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief DeWitt for her service and dedication. He also congratulated Captain Serrano, soon to be assistant deputy chief. He thanked Chief Velo for his comprehensive report and asked what the ratio of retirements versus classes coming in and what does the Department looks like going forward as well as information on upcoming classes. Chief Nicholson responded that over the past two years they have had close to 140 to 150 retirements and then COVID hit, and they were only able to hire a class of 25 last year and now they have a class of 35 in session and will be graduating on December 23, 2021, and a class of 50 starting in January and 50 in August of 2022. She added that they are currently in conversations with the mayor’s budget office to add an additional class of H-2’s for next year as well as they are short on personnel. She added that they should also have a class of 40 for ambulance personnel starting next month. He asked Chief Kaialoa if a class of 50 is challenging for the Department of Training. Chief Kialoa responded that they have done academies of up to 56 recruits and the Division of Training is well aware of the staffing challenges in the Fire Department and they are working collaboratively together to develop plans and models to support that logistically and staffing wise and he is confident they can to it and support any plan that comes forward to bridge the gap in the staffing. Vice President Nakajo confirmed with Chief Brown at the Airport that numbers have not increased that much overall, and they are still at about half of what they were before COVID, with about 50,0000 passengers.  He confirmed through Chief Peoples that he and his office are part of the interview process for the recruits for the 129-academy class.  He acknowledged how impressed he was with Dr. Janet Ryan of the Physician’s Office who participated in the over age 50 category of the triathlon, and he acknowledged Barbara Marino for her 41 years in the Physician’s Office.  Regarding Support Services, he announced that he diligently reads the newsletters from DPW about Station 35 and acknowledged Chief Dewitt’s notation which is self-explanatory in the sense of another delay and the justification is there. He thanked Chief O’Connor for the drill that Commissioners Cleaveland and Morgan were able to attend.


    President Feinstein confirmed that the reason folks fail out of the academy is because of too many deficiencies, which is the negative points that when you fail an evolution, a skill, you get a negative point.  He added that the recruits get 18 deficiencies through the 20-week academy, 10 weeks of testing to be able to pass. He also stated that the training staff is doing everything they can to support the recruits. There was a brief discussion on accidents that occur with apparatus.


    6.         COMMISSION REPORT [Discussion]

    Report on Commission activities since last meeting of September 8, 2021.


    Commissioner Cleavland stated he had a long conversation with James Lee, President of Guardians of the City and they have put together a three-year strategic plan and he is hoping in the near future they can present at a commission meeting for approval.



    Discussion regarding agenda for next and future Fire Commission meetings.

    There was no public comment.


    • Update on Station 19
    • Guardians of the City Presentation
    • Report from the Fire Marshall


    There was no public comment.


    8.         ADJOURNMENT

    President Feinstein adjourned the meeting at 6:51 p.m.