Fire Commission - May 10, 2017 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
May 10, 2017 - 9:00am

PDF iconMay 10, 2017 Final meeting Minutes.pdf


Wednesday, May 10, 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 9:01 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
Assistant Chiefs
Brook Baker Division 2
William Storti Division 3
Mark Corso CFO
Olivia Scanlon Communication and Outreach Coordinator
Clement Yeh Medical Director
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 April 26, 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.
Assistant Deputy Chief Anthony Rivera and Samuel Chui and Kathleen O'Day of DPW to present on the progress being made with the construction of the new ambulance deployment facility.
Deputy Chief Anthony Ribera introduced Kathleen O’Day and Samuel Chui from DPW.  He stated that they have been working very closely together on the Ambulance Deployment Project and Mr. Chui provided the following PowerPoint presentation:
Mr. Chui stated that the premise of the project is to relocate the current Station 49 from its existing location at 1415 Evans Avenue to the new location at 2245 Jerrold Avenue which is right behind Fire Station 9.  He described the redesign of the building, which included a major change in the location and geometry of the building by pulling back away from the southwestern edge of the property line which provides a more effective work flow.  He added that the ambulances will be able to pull up and restock simultaneously, and the four story structure will include administrative offices for EMS, a classroom, a conference room, and exercise room with close proximity to lockers and showers, a kitchen and a dining area, a day room area and functions that are most pertinent to ambulance deployment, including biomedical equipment, storage and repair shop and restocking and supply warehouse and space for logistics on the first floor.  He continued describing the slides in the attached presentation.  He concluded by stating they are anticipating to start construction in June or July of 2018 with a target substantial completion date in June of 2020 and a move in day later in the year.
Commissioner Covington thanked them for their presentation and was glad to hear that they are moving right along.  She confirmed that they are still in the design phase and Chief Zanoff explained that they have been working with DPW to fit everything that they need into the footprint of the building walls, as well as parking for the employees and allowing room for growth in the future.  Commissioner Covington also inquired as to solar panels in the new building.  Mr. Chiu answered that because of budget constraints, they will add solar panels to the design development, and will be called out as the additive alternate and at bid time, if the project budget can pick up those alternates, the design will br part of the construction.   Commissioner Covington stated that she is particularly interested in the ability to have an alternate power source.  She also suggested that it might be a good idea to get the word out about the June 6th community meeting by getting in touch with the successor agent of the Redevelopment Agency and get their robust list of people that can be notified, as it’s important that the Department does as much outreach as possible.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked them for their presentation and stated it looks like they’ve designed a wonderful project.  He confirmed that there will be a classroom on the administrative floor.  He stated that he was happy for Chief Rivera and Chief Zanoff that they were part of the design and he hopes the community accepts this wonderful building.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Rivera, Mr. Chui and Kathleen O’Day for their report and he confirmed that the project is expected to start construction in June or July of 2018.  He announced that the new Ambulance Deployment Facility will be the first state of the art facility in the City and County of San Francisco for EMS and that he greatly appreciates it.  He acknowledged the efforts of the commission, particularly President Cleaveland, and the administration for advocating in getting the badly needed facility.  He confirmed that the old Station 49 will be used as the future Bureau of Equipment, which is presently on 25th and Vermont.
Commissioner Veronese thanked them for their presentation and touched on the tour of Station 49 he attended and asked if the location of the facility affects ambulance response times.  Chief Zanoff explained that there are many moving parts that affect response times, including where the ambulances are posted, where the ambulances happen to be at the time the call comes in, freeway access, street access and traffic.  He mentioned that how quickly the crews get in and out of the building relative to the shift start time also effects response times. He added that the new building will certainly facilitate that.  The ambulance will be able to pull right up to the building and they’ll be able to restock four at a time and fuel the ambulances two or three at a time as well as the building design will work very well for the purposes of getting the crews out into the field quickly.  Commissioner Veronese noted that the new facility will reduce the toxin exposure as the ambulances will now be outside and he confirmed that the fuel pumps will not be near the building and that there is room for expansion inside the building.
President Cleaveland stated it’s an exciting project and how pleased he is that it’s moving along as quickly as it is, but he’d like to see the three years between now and inauguration of the facility reduced in some way if possible.  He concluded by thanking the Mayor on his leadership on this project as well as the Health Department for adding this facility to the bond measure that was passed by the voters.
There was no public comment.
Report on current issues, activities and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting of April 24, 2017, including budget, academies, special events, communications and outreach to other government agencies and the public.
Chief Gonzales reported in the absence of Chief Hayes-White, who was summoned to jury duty.  Chief Gonzales reported on events since the last meeting on April 24 2017.  He stated that they are on track for revenue and expenditures in this fiscal year and they presented before the Budget and Finance Committee on April 27, 2017.  He thanked Vice President Nakajo for attending that hearing.  He added that at a minimum, they are advocating to maintain the current funding but reconvening the Budget Committee on May 21, 2017 to discuss budget priorities and possible enhancements.  He announced that the new CFO, Elaine Walters will be starting on May 15, 2017.
Chief Gonzales stated that the 122nd H-2 academy class started on April 24, 2017 with 42 members who were joined by 12 members from Station 49 on May 8, 2017.  The selection process for the 123rd academy will begin in June.  He touched on the Battalion Chief academy, put together by Chief Columbini that is scheduled to start on May 15, 2107.  He mentioned that Chief Hayes-White attended the Board of Supervisors Committee meeting regarding the Department’s response to the April 21, 2017 power outage, and that she participated in the Women in Leadership Conference.  He added that on May 15, 2017 the Mayor issued an executive directive regarding 9-1-1- staffing and response times and the participants will be a representation from the Mayor’s office, the Controller’s Office, DHR, DEM, SFPD, and SFFD to discuss the answering of calls and basic challenges they face.  He touched on other events Chief Hayes-White attended during the reporting period.
Commissioner Covington thanked him for the report and asked if there were any figures put together regarding how the power outage impacted the Department.  Chief Gonzales responded that they don’t they think they will send a bill but he thinks the run volume increased around 16 percent during the outage.
Commissioner Veronese asked if there was a way to figure out how much money the outage cost the Department.  Deputy Director Corso answered that there was no additional staff brought in and because it was mainly just an increase to all volume using already existing equipment with already on duty recourses, there was no additional cost to the Department for the responses.  There was further discussion about the day of the power outage.
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 April, 2017.  His report is attached:   He stated that they had three greater alarms during the reporting period, a second alarm on April 3, 2017 at 1810 Page Street, which Assistant Chief Burk was the Incident Commander.  He described the incident and stated that the units on scene did a great job.  The second was a third alarm on April 7, 2017 at 451A, -23rd Avenue, also under the command of Chief Burke.  He stated that two adults and one cat were rescued, 30 people were displaced and one firefighter suffered laceration to the hand and was released in good condition.  This fire was determined to be accidental.  The third greater alarm was a second alarm on April 11, 2017 at 633 Clay Street, in the basement of Alfred’s Steakhouse also under the command of Chief Burke.
With regards to community outreach, he stated that they continue to acknowledge the importance of surf safety, cliff safety, and fire prevention.   He commended PIO Baxter, Fire Prevention, Suppression Units and the Recruitment Division.  He read some of the feedback they received on social media.  He also described other notable incidents that occurred during the reporting period.
Chief Gonzales touched on the EMS Division and mentioned the three police officers that were transported Code 3 after two squad cars collided.  He announced the hiring of CQI (Continuous Quality Improvement) officer Ada Wong, who will be replacing Acting Caption Chris Bonn.  He touched on the defibrillator program review, the new county protocol for EMS and the use of nasal Narcan and Epi pens, automatic CPR devises and the that EMS Division and SFFD made donations of medical supplies and equipment  to Los Bomberos for their South America projects.  Chief Gonzales touched on response times and the outstanding job the members are doing in achieving the 90th percentile.  He gave an overview of the Division of Fire Prevention Investigation, Accelerated Code Enforcement, Plan Section and TASC.
Commissioner Hardeman commented that in all the years he’s been a commissioner, he has never seen such a detailed report like the one presented by Chief Gonzales and just about every single question that the commission could possibly ask is covered in his report.   He mentioned that he thought it was a great idea that Muni was called to the second alarm at 663 Clay Street to shelter the 60 residents that were temporally displaced while they put out the fire.  He was also glad that Local 798 along with the Chief and her staff took the stand against the transportation commission on their vote to put parking protected bike lanes on Market Street and although the department has no control how another commission votes, we made our safety concerns known.
Commissioner Veronese thanked Chief Gonzales for his report and mentioned that Chief Hayes-White was not at the meeting because she is at jury duty.  He stated that last week, he and Vice President Nakajo were at the Surf Rescue Drill and he learned they were going to be getting two additional Surf and Rescue Vehicles.  Chief Gonzales confirmed that they already have them.  Chief Postel added that the two new cliff rescue units will be at Station 14 and 19 and the two brand new surf rescue units have been ordered through OCA under a term contract and they are waiting for those to arrive and will be housed at Station 18 and Station 34.   Commissioner Veronese stated that with the increase of surf and cliff rescues, he wants to make sure that we have the technology and are utilizing all the technology that is out there to save lives and reduce the amount of risk to the members of the Department and he thinks the department needs to expedite looking into what those technologies are, whether it’s drone technology or something else.  Chief Gonzales agreed that technologically, it would be a great enhancement at some of the incidents, as well as the necessity that the surf rescues have members up on the aerials, as more eyes are better.  There was discussion concerning the testing of department ladders and overhead powerline testing and the parking protected bike lanes and the potential hazards the members may incur and that the commission should get those responsible on notice that it’s a life-safety issue.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Gonzales for both reports and also commented on his improved and enhanced report.  Chief Gonzales acknowledged his new assistant Kathy Aquinas, Malinda Talmage, Sylvia Grace and Kelly Alves for assisting him in preparing his report.  Vice President Nakajo also acknowledged Lt. Baxter for providing his portion to the report.  He went through the report page by page and commented on points of interest.  He also commented on the references of MTA and the troubling situation on upper Market Street where they approved the installation of parking protected bike lanes and how it concerns him.  He also mentioned that in his packet he received a letter written by one of the members to the Civil Service Commission protesting the requirements for taking the H-20 Lieutenants test and the issue that they changed the policy from three to five years in terms of being able to take the exam.  He added that he’s for five years’ experience but he also thinks that there should be some incentive for men and women in the department to be able to have the desire to serve this department as an officer.  He concluded by acknowledging the paramedic retirement dinner he attended on April 28, 2017 and how he enjoyed seeing the camaraderie and socialization at the function and that he is excited about the new Station 49 and that he and Commissioner Veronese attended the Surf Rescue drill at Baker’s Beach.
Commissioner Covington echoed the sentiments of her fellow commissioners on the new format of the operations reports.  She stated that she thought it was good to do recruiting at events such as the Hire a Hero event.  She asked if there was a breakdown on the percentage of members of the Department who are veterans.  Firefighter Andrew Murtagh, Treasurer of the SFFD Veterans Association, stated that currently they have 60 members in the association, but that does not necessarily include all of the veterans in the Department.  There was brief discussion about the inter-facility process which is moving a patient by ambulance from one care facility to another and working on a policy to make the system work as efficiently as possible.  There was also discussion on the defibrillator program review and the technical issues that go on that could make the units easier to use at calls.  Commissioner Covington asked for confirmation that the Department has a member on the TASC and recommended that there be two members representing the department on TASC because it’s very important, first of all because Captain Balmy has a tremendous amount of knowledge and tenure on that committee, but she also thinks another person would be beneficial so they can reinforce each other and fill in any gaps.  Commissioner Covington acknowledged the Department on the very good response times.  She mentioned that response times have been a continuing concern and with regards to TASC issues, there are so many things that can be suggested by one group that are very good on the surface, but they serve as an impediment for members of the Department to do the necessary work.  She added that we need to be very clear and very persistent in getting the message out as to what those things are so that people will understand that life safety is the number one priority.   She also was concerned with the report of the two cardiac arrests of a one month old and a two year old that resulted in fatalities, and suggested more outreach would be helpful to have information available to everyone so that people will understand among other things, that if a baby is turning a little blue, that is not its natural coloring and you need to do something right away particularly for first time parents.  Dr. Yeh agreed that one of the big missions that they have is about enforcing and improving the health of the community and education about recognizing significant issues.
President Cleaveland thanked Chief Gonzales for his great report and will continue to look forward to receiving it in the future.  He also praised the people involved in doing the outreach, specifically Fire Marshal DeCossio, PIO Baxter and Chief Zanoff.  He also mentioned that he agrees with Commissioner Veronese and his fellow commissioners on the Surf Rescue Program needing to be enhanced.  There was a brief update on the status of the H-23 classification.  He also stated his concern with the MTA approving the parking protected bike lanes in upper Market Street and that some sort of compromise should be made.  He added that the commission is united in supporting the Departments’ position that the Fire Department must prevail when it comes to an issue of life safety and protecting people and property, as well as having bike lanes up and down Market Street that are protected.
There was no Public Comment.
Discussion regarding agenda for the May 24, 2017 regular meeting.
• TASC update
• Update on Drone Policy
• Stress Unit presentation
• H-23 update
Meeting adjourned at 11:04 a.m.