Fire Commission - June 14, 2017 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
June 14, 2017 - 9:00am

PDF iconJune 14, 2017 final meeting Minutes.pdf


Wednesday, June 14, 2017 - 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 416, San Francisco, California, 94102
President Cleaveland called the meeting to order at 9:02 AM.  
Commission President Ken Cleaveland Present  
Commission Vice President Stephen Nakajo Present
Commissioner Michael Hardeman Present
Commissioner Francee Covington Present
Commissioner Joe Alioto Veronese Present
Chief of Department Joanne Hayes-White Jury Duty
Mark Gonzales Deputy Chief – Operations
Raemona Williams Deputy Chief – Administration
Dan DeCossio Bureau of Fire Prevention
Tony Rivera Support Services
Andy Zanoff EMS
Shane Francisco Homeland Security
Rudy Castellanos Airport Division
Jeff Columbini Division of Training
Mark Corso CFO
Olivia Scanlon Communication and Outreach Coordinator
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 May 24, 2017.
• Minutes from Special Meeting on May 25, 2017.
Commissioner Hardeman Moved to approve the above meeting Minutes.  Commissioner Veronese Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.
There was no public comment.
Gabriella Judd Cirelli to provide an update on Station 35. 
President Cleaveland welcomed Ms. Gabriella Judd Cirelli.  Ms. Cirelli stated that the last time she presented on this item was in September of 2016 and a lot of progress has been made since then.  She continued providing information on the following PowerPoint Presentation.
Ms. Cirelli stated that the Fire Station 35 project at Pier 22/12, where the fireboats are also located, is estimated at a cost of 39.9 million dollars, which is the largest in the bond portfolios of all their current projects.  She went on to describe in detail the individual slides including the future construction of the floating barge that will adapt to the sea level rise.  She mentioned that since she last presented, they have gone through a very thorough design-build procurement process which included SFFD representation and input from members of Station 35.  She announced that Swinterton Power, Joint Venture was awarded the proposal.  She stated that they anticipate CEQA clearance in place by November of 2018 and a completion date for SFFD occupancy the fourth quarter of 2020.  She added that because the facility will be built on a barge, it cannot be certified as a “LEED certifiable building” but it will be built to LEED gold standards.
Commissioner Hardeman thought it was a wonderful presentation and so easy to understand.  He was happy to hear that the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) was on board with the project.  Ms. Cirelli stated that they had meetings with them to establish the operational requirements for the project and one thing that must go away of necessity is the parking lot, as there is no longer any parking grandfathered in over the bay.  She added that arrangements are being made for parking for fire personnel in designated spots nearby the Embarcadero.
Commissioner Veronese greeted Ms. Cirelli and stated it was good to see a familiar face.  He asked if the original fire house will stay as is.  Ms. Cirelli answered that it would stay as it is on the National Historic Register Eligible and will continue to house engine 35 and one of the key points and key challenges for the design team is going to be designing a building appropriate for the current time and respectful to the historic structure.  Commissioner Veronese confirmed that the fuel storage would not be near the living space.  They discussed the placement of the fireboats and other water craft utilized by the Department.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Ms. Cirelli for her updated report.  He asked about the sea level rise and if the design has addressed that issue.  Ms. Cirelli stated that the Port has adopted a sea level rise plan that projects in the City of San Francisco in vicinity to the water need to adopt or comply with in order to be resilient long term for sea level rise, but many of the facilities that are already built, it's a conundrum about what's going to happen when the water continues to rise.   She added that the Port has authored a really complete study regarding sea level rise that she would like to share with the Commission.  Vice President Nakajo confirmed that the living space will be communal dorm style, as expressed by members of Station 35. 
Commissioner Covington thanked Ms. Cirelli for her presentation and asked for clarification on the part of the project that is not floating.  Ms. Cirelli responded that the historic building, Station 35 is not in the current project.  Commissioner Covington expressed her concern about sea level rise and the Fire Stations that would be affected and asked Chief Hayes-White if there were ESER monies available for looking at and addressing those stations that will be subjected to impact from sea level rise.  Chief Hayes-White answered that she believes that those issues are being looked at but she does not know if studies have been done or not.  Commissioner Covington suggested addressing it sooner rather than later as the challenges are slightly steeper than other entities in the City in that you can't move a firehouse, personnel, truck, and engines, but companies come and go.  She added that she was delighted to see the ESER Bond funding for SFFD projects total $172,000,000 and was happy the money was spent wisely.  She mentioned that the concept for the day room, dining and kitchen look very similar to Station 4 and thinks it is a wonderful rendering as well as the echo of the tile roof on the original structure going through to the new structure.  She highlighted some of the prime LEED gold categories that they are incorporated into the project.  Commissioner Covington confirmed that the project will be built at Pier 1 on Treasure Island using 30 percent local hire and 50 percent for applicable apprentices disciplines.  There was discussion on the breakdown of percentages of locally owned business participation.  Commissioner Covington asked about parking for members that are on duty at Station 35.  Ms. Cirelli stated that there have been a number of proposals presented and they include nearby facilities where cars could be housed inside nearby piers or across the street in commercial parking opportunities and they are in conversation with both Port and MTA.
President Cleaveland thanked Ms. Cirelli and her excellent presentation and acknowledged Deputy Director of Public Works, Charles Figueroa and thanked him for working on the project as well.  He suggested scheduling another update in a year's time.  
There was no public comment.
Captain John Christy to provide overview of the San Francisco Fire Department’s Stress Unit.
President Cleaveland welcomed Firefighter/Paramedic Christy (inadvertently addressed as “Captain” above).  Mr. Christy introduced his partner Lt. Dan Griffin and announced that because there was an active shooter in progress, Lt. Griffin would need to leave the meeting. Firefighter/Paramedic Christy explained that the Stress Unit has been around since the late 1980’s and they work very closely with the Stress Unit for the San Francisco Police Department.  He stated that the Fire Department primarily started the unit to support those that were in need of help with drinking in a 12-step program and the cornerstone is confidentiality. He gave a brief work history of .his employment as a paramedic/firefighter and his story of how he got the support he needed by reaching out to now retired firefighter Ken Jones when he went through tough times and how his journey began and his success story with the Stress Unit.  He added that the reason he is part of the Stress Unit is the love for the members and the work   He explained the horrific events that first responders come across and different types of stress they experience during their shifts and why it’s important to have the Stress Unit to help those members in need of help.  He stated that their current workload is 50 to 70 active cases, they work 24 hours a day, seven days a week and their goal is to expand the unit including a 40 member Critical Incident Response Team.
Commissioner Veronese thanked him for his presentation and mentioned that when he came on the Fire Commission he spoke to the Chief about this being one of his major priorities to assist firefighters that are going through difficult mental health issues, which he referred to as the silent sufferers.  They discussed the percentage of firefighters that suffer from some sort of PTSD and PTSD.  He stated that the Commissions role is to support the firefighters so that they can do their job to be the best responders in the city and he thinks they need to step up that role and advocate for funding to enhance the Stress Unit.  He announced the fundraiser that he is working on with FF/P Christy to raise awareness and funds for the Unit.  FF/P Christy added that the Command Staff has supported the work they do and is one of the reasons the Unit works well because of that solid relationship.  Chief Hayes-White thanked John Christy for his presentation and asked the Commission after an appropriate question and answer period to release FF/P Christy so that he may respond to the active shooter critical incident to assist members in need.  She added that she is a true believer in the Stress Unit and has been actively involved.  She stated that the real beauty of the Stress Unit is the ability for Dan and John and others who will step in, as they have gained trust and credibility to be confidential and supportive and recognize that if they can’t solve the problem, they have resources that they can refer the member to.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked FF/P Christy for his presentation and gave a sample of what he dealt with as head of a union.  He encouraged FF/P Christy to think about himself when he makes his decision to retire and appreciated him sharing his story as well as running the Stress Unit.
Vice President Nakajo thanked John Christy for his presentation and asked how the members of the Department regard him.  FF/P Christy stated the members regard him and Dan Griffin as members of the Department and the Stress Unit, that the whole idea behind peer support in emergency services is that it is an active member of the working field and both he and Dan are active field members, it's just that they have been reassigned out of the positions onto the Stress Unit so they see them as one of them.  Vice President Nakajo asked what it takes for an individual to be a member of the Stress Unit.  FF/P Christy stated that training is involved which includes peer support, one-on-one and group support, suicide prevention and line of duty death and life experience training.  They talked about the grant they received and how those funds will be used which will provide a third mental health benefit to the members with culturally competent mental health professionals, 10 to 12 visits a year for the members and their dependents in a calendar year as well as funding and training a Critical Incident Response Team.
Commissioner Covington thanked FF/P Christy and appreciated his passion and commitment.  She asked if there was a difference between the stresses that one side of the house has that perhaps the other side of the house doesn’t have.  FF/P answered that emergency medicine has its own particular stresses and especially as a paramedic, in that they are making decisions in such a quick time frame, such as what the persons weight is, what are the drug doses, what’s the EKG showing, where is the nearest hospital, can I get the airway cleared and things of that sort.  He added that without the support of a good EMT, paramedics are useless, so emergency medicine as a whole is a pretty stressful situation.  He added that a couple of his significant critical incidents were fire related, including the one in which he was injured.  He confirmed that going forward, he would like to have representation from both suppression and EMS.  Commissioner Covington mentioned that she was happy to hear that there is support for the Stress Unit throughout the administration and throughout the chain of command.  She was also glad to hear him talk about the stigmatism of men showing feelings because it’s important for everyone to be able to express their hurt, frustration, or the panic they’re feeling or have felt, without it being a gender-related issue.
President Cleaveland thanked Mr. Christy and stated he agrees with Commissioner Veronese that a plan is needed and he hopes that all the enhancements in the Stress Unit that are needed will be part of the plan.  He added that he will look for guidance from the Stress Unit in creating a plan for the Department.
There was no public comment.
Update and overview from Deputy Director Mark Corso on the current budget.
Deputy Director Mark Corso gave a brief update on the mayor’s introduced budget for the Fire Department.  He stated that the Mayor introduced his balanced budget on June 1st to the Board of Supervisors.  He presented the following PowerPoint:
Mr. Corso explained the Fire Department’s proposed portion of the Mayor’s budget which included the general fund projects, Airport, Port and a number of other funding sources which in total for the FY 2017-2018 proposed budget is approximately $385,000,000.  He added that one of the Department’s main goals during the budget process was to at the very least maintain the funding initiatives that had been approved.  He added that they were successful in accomplishing that goal.  He highlighted some of the approved initiatives which included the hiring plan, fleet and equipment plan, and outreach education positions.  He added that in addition to maintaining those initiatives, the Department was also funded for a few other allocations that they advocated for including approximately $750,000 to operations as part of the mayor's Harm Reduction Task Force.  He concluded by thanking the budget office for their support over the past few months and he introduced Elaine Walters, the new finance director.
Commissioner Veronese asked if the $750,000 allocated to the Fire Department operations as part of the Mayor’s Harm Reduction Task Force is related to homelessness.  Mr. Corso confirmed that it was.  Chief Hayes-White added that the Department is participating in the Task Force in collaboration with other agencies to address some of the homelessness issues on the streets and all agencies participate in a team approach to make sure the area is clean, safe, sanitary and that needs are being addressed by all the agencies and that it is a pilot program under development.  Commissioner Veronese suggested that the department come up with some sort of pilot program to track or measure certain areas that the department is impacted with homeless issue calls.  Chief Hayes-White added that the training the department provides to members is universal precautions and they treat everyone as they would treat a family members; whether it’s in a high-rise, in a single-family home or on the street.  Mark Corso added that for every incident they respond to, there is a system called NFIRS, which is National Fire Incident Reporting System where reports are generated and they are working with the vendor to have a field or some other type of designation that will enable them to internally track what type of call it is and whether it is related to homeless or some other type of common call that’s not currently one of the standards on the NFIRS.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Mr. Corso for his budget update and was pleased in terms of the initiative category, particularly in terms of the Mayor’s office supporting the hiring plan and equipment and fleet plan.
President Cleaveland asked for clarification on position authority for additional resources to assist with the development agencies as part of city workgroup.    Mr. Corso responded that position authority allocates positions to the departmental budget, but the funding hasn’t been allocated to the department per se, but they have the authority to put people in those roles, and the funding aspect of the particular project will be under the Mayor’s Office of Economic Workforce Development and they will coordinate the revenues and the fees generated.  They touched on the hiring plan, and the planning for the ESER 2020 bond.  President Cleaveland thanked Mr. Corso for his presentation and for his leadership on the Department’s finances.
There was no public comment.
Report on current issues, activities and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting of May 24, 2017, including budget, academies, special events, communications and outreach to other government agencies and the public.
Chief Hayes-White reported on events since the last meeting on May 24, 2017.  She welcomed Elaine Walters, the new finance director and asked her to come up and introduce herself.  Ms. Walters described her background and stated she was very excited to be in the Fire Department and to learn a whole new world.  President Cleaveland also welcomed Ms. Walters.
Chief Hayes-White announced that they have a work order funding for an industrial hygienist that was recently filled by Anthony Boon, who is a DPH employee but is working exclusively for the SFFD.  He comes with great experience to help the department as it relates to keeping the members as safe as possible in the workplace and with compliance issues.  Chief Hayes-White announced that the 122nd Academy Class is in its 8Th week with 50 members remaining in the class.  She added that the 123rd class is anticipated to start in September comprised of 54 members with the same complement, 42 coming off the list and 12 coming from Station 49.   In regards to events, she mentioned participating in the final day of EMS Week, where through the generosity of the Credit Union, they were able to sponsor a lunch for members of Station 49, along with the private partners AMR and King Ambulance.  She also participated in a field test and demonstration on Turk Street where there is a desire to install parking protected bike lanes that would be directly under the Muni wires, which would create operational difficulties for the Department.  She attended the Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade, met with Director Kronenberg and Robert Smuts of DEM to talk about mutual issues that they share related to making sure they have the most effective and efficient dispatches so the members can get on scene in the most expedient manner that they can.  She mentioned other events attended over the reporting period.  She asked President Cleaveland to consider adjourning the meeting in the memory of Firefighter James Mancuso and Lieutenant Raymond Toland.
Commissioner Hardeman was glad to hear there’s ongoing discussion with Mr. Reskin at MTA regarding the problems with the bike lanes.
Commissioner Covington was glad to hear from both Mr. Corso and Chief Hayes-White that things are going well with the academies and mentioned that whenever she sees the mayor, she makes sure to let him know that we need to continue with the number of academies that we have because of the gray tsunami that we know is coming, as members of the department retire  She also added that she was glad they filled the position of the industrial hygienist.
There was no public comment.
Report on overall field operations, including greater alarm fires, Emergency Medical Services, Bureau of Fire Prevention & Investigation, and Airport Division and update on H-23 classification.
Chief Gonzales’ report covered the month of May 2017.  His report is attached:  Chief Gonzales announced that there were no greater alarms.  He touched on notable incidents which included a cliff rescue on May 9, 2017, a working fire on May 17, 2017, at 1206 Fell Street, and May 23, 2017, at 34 Brighton, a high rise fire at 501 Beale on May 27, 2017.  He mentioned the two-day Battalion Chief Academy, the social media mentions; happenings at EMS and fleet and apparatus updates as it relates to ambulances.  He stated that they are conducting interviews for the new H-8 per diem positions and his goal is to have at least 100 H-8’s.  He concluded his report by thanking John Christy and mentioned that as firefighters and emergency personnel, they tend to compartmentalize things and the Stress Unit is there if you need to talk to somebody every now and then for your own mental health and sanity.  He added that they do an excellent job and he will miss John Christy when he retires.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Chief Gonzales for his terrific report.
President Cleaveland asked the Fire Marshal about the 182 code violations for high-rise buildings.  Chief DeCossio stated that the violations can be broken down by category, by type of violations and things of that sort.  He added that there are about 609 high-rises in San Francisco and they inspect each one annually and the main focus of the inspection would be the common areas, fire protection systems and egress systems.   They discussed the open fire investigation cases.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Gonzales for his comprehensive report and announced that there is still going to be a sign-up coming up for the dispatchers from June 12th to July 7th and if individuals are interested in being a 911 dispatcher, they can sign up at WWW.SFDHR.
There was no Public Comment.
Discussion regarding agenda for the June 28, 2017 regular meeting.
• Update on Drone Policy
• Follow-up on Stress Unit/State of the Art Practices
• Presentation on the preservation of antique apparatus/Guardian of the City
7. ADJOURNMENT Meeting adjourned in the memory of Firefighter James Mancuso and Lieutenant Raymond Toland at 11:37 a.m.