Fire Commission - September 13, 2017 - Minutes

Meeting Date: 
September 13, 2017 - 9:00am

PDF iconSeptember 13, 2017, final Minutes.pdf

Wednesday, September 13, 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 9:00 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 Present
Mark Gonzales Deputy Chief – Operations
Raemona Williams Deputy Chief – Administration
Dan DeCossio Bureau of Fire Prevention
Tony Rivera Support Services
Andy Zanoff EMS
Jeff Columbini Division of Training
Assistant Chiefs
Kevin Burke Division 2
Nicol Juratovac Division 3
Mark Corso Deputy Director of Finance
Olivia Scanlon Communications and Outreach
Dr. 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 August 23, 2017.
Commissioner Hardeman Moved to approve the above meeting Minutes.  Commissioner Covington Seconded.  Motion to approve above Minutes was unanimous.
There was no public comment.
Public Information Officer Lt. Jonathan Baxter to present an overview of the Department’s community outreach and education efforts.
Lt. Baxter explained the Department’s Battalion Safety Fairs, which was initiated back in 2016 and stated that it’s an effort to engage the community with information to make them safer, including information on fire suppression, EMS, fire prevention and education and other aspects of the department.  He explained the attached PowerPoint Presentation in detail.
Lt. Baxter stated that they reach out to neighborhood groups, businesses, and schools asking how the Fire Department could be more helpful educating the community on fire safety and prevention, and it was decided that the Department would go out to communities as well as have the communities come to them. He explained how the program works, who is involved and how often they have safety fairs.  He gave examples on recent fire safety fairs where they handed out smoke detectors and had lessons on how to properly use fire extinguishers and hands-on CPR.  He had the folks in the audience who have helped support this program stand for recognition, which included City College Fire Science students and the Fire Auxiliary reserves.  He announced that people should follow the Fire Department on his Twitter account @SFFDPIO.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Lt. Baxter and stated he was impressed with his energy and enthusiasm and has noticed the enhancement of the program over the years since Lt. Baxter’s participation and liked his concept of engaging the community with the members of the Department and he noted that it’s through this kind of outreach that the community can come by the various stations and where members of the Department can become ambassadors of good will.  He encouraged Lt. Baxter not to forget about the seniors in the community, as they are the ones that built this city.
Commissioner Hardeman was glad that they are giving out free smoke alarms.  He mentioned that he thinks adding the recruitment component to the safety fairs is a good idea.
Commissioner Covington thanked Lt. Baxter for his presentation and was happy to see that he’s reaching out to the young people using electronic apps and she encouraged him not to overlook the elderly, and consider using more traditional means of communication such as public service announcements on the broadcast channels.  She was glad to see that he is touching bases with the safety fairs, fire recruitment, EMS, and NERT.  She acknowledged Assistant Chief Juratovac and stated she appreciates all of her efforts and enthusiasm with the City College Fire Science students.  She asked Lt. Baxter how many languages his distribution materials come in.  Lt. Baxter answered that they come in six languages, English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.  Commissioner Covington recommended that he look into using the historical truck that was revamped for the 150th Anniversary events, as it was repurposed for community service events.
President Cleaveland thanked Lt. Baxter for doing a fantastic job and mentioned that the program has been exponentially expanded and much better than it has ever been and getting the message out about how to prevent fires is very important to everyone in the city.
There was no public comment.
Deputy Director Mark Corso described the resolution and read it into the record.  It is attached hereto:
Commissioner Covington Moved to approve Resolution 2017-03.  Commissioner Hardeman Seconded.  The motion was unanimously approved.
There was no public comment.
Report on current issues, activities and events within the Department since the Fire Commission meeting on August 23, 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 August 23, 2017.  She thanked the Commission for all their support through the positive things that have occurred in the last three weeks, as well of the very difficult things.  She touched on the heat wave over Labor Day weekend as well as the very well-coordinated effort with the many city agencies, including the Police Department under the umbrella of the Department of Emergency Management to make sure the City was protected during protests that occurred on August 26, 2017. She spoke on the Budget, the FEMA grant in the sum of $215,380 that was recently awarded and will go towards resources to support the Juvenile Fire Setters program.  She mentioned that in regards to the Academies, 43 members of the 122nd academy graduated on September 8 and the 123rd academy is scheduled to start on September 25, 2017. She acknowledged the great work by the Division of Training under the leadership of Chief Columbini.  She mentioned that they deployed another strike team to the Helena fire in Trinity County, and four K-9 members and handlers to assist with hurricane Irma in Florida.  She acknowledged Chief Kevin Burke who has done a phenomenal job assisting in the funeral for Firefighter Perry Choy as well as the Police/Fire Mass.  Chief Hayes-White touched on recent activities including a comprehensive pre-briefing for the upcoming scheduled protests, a 9-1-1- task force meeting, a meeting with Mr. Bernard Osher, to properly acknowledge and thank him for the two ambulances he donated to the Department, and on August 30th, she met with Jeff Kositsky, Director of the Department of Homelessness and Amy Farah Weiss to discuss the unsafe wooden structures for some of the homeless population.  On August 31, 2017, she attended the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation fundraiser relay and acknowledged the Black Firefighters Association who step up every year and provide dinner for those that participate in the relay.  She also attended a heat wave data meeting and acknowledged Chief Zanoff who stepped up in a huge way that weekend, as well as other members of the department and the outside partners.  She touched on the September 6, 2017 promotional ceremony at Riordan High School, the California Metro Chiefs Conference and the September 8, 2017 graduation of the 122nd Academy class.  She acknowledged Commissioner Alioto Veronese for his support and organization of the stair climb, which raised approximately $150,000.00 for the Stress Unit.  She stated that Chief Williams also participated in the stair climb.  She acknowledged Vice President Nakajo, who participated in the presentation of a 9/11 memorial framed photo from the Consul General of Israel as well as the Jewish Foundation.  Also present were a number of high school students.
Chief Hayes-White asked President Cleaveland to consider adjourning the meeting in honor and memory of Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel, who died in the line of duty on September 20, 2017.
Commissioner Covington asked what the FEMA grant is earmarked for.  Chief Hayes-White stated that it will cover funding for one position and materials and supplies related to the Juvenile Fire Setters program.  Commissioner Covington commended Chief Columbini for putting on an excellent graduation on Treasure Island and stated that people were really excited to see the drill the graduates performed.  She thanked Chief Burke for all he has done through trying times.  She also commended Commissioner Veronese for his participation in the wonderful stair climb event.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked Chief Hayes-White for her lengthy and thorough report.  He noted how busy she has been and agreed that one of the real highlights was seeing all the smiles at the promotion ceremony.  He mentioned how miserable he was during the Labor Day heat wave.  He acknowledged receiving the 2016 book published by Local 798 which contained staggering news on the increase in call volume since 2009.  He mentioned that he attended the 9/11 ceremonies at Station 39 on Portola Street.  He stated that he enjoyed the 122nd graduation.
Commissioner Veronese thanked Chief Hayes-White for attending the stair climb, for Chief Williams for actually climbing the 1,192 steps and Firefighter Greg Collaco who was the mastermind behind the event.  He said their goal was to raise $100,000.00 and they raised about $140,000.00 and he has already started establishing their own foundation and doubling that amount next year.  He mentioned that they had 306 climbers and the folks at 555 California donated $5,000.00 to the event.  He gave special thanks to Local 798, the members of the Department that chipped in and the fantastic people from the Stress Unit, John Christy and Dan Griffin.  He touched on the wonderful graduation ceremony and how he regrets not bringing his son to that event.
President Cleaveland thanked Chief Columbini for the terrific graduation and exercise that was performed after the graduation.  He thanked Commissioner Veronese for his involvement in the stair climb.  He asked Chief Hayes-White how many people are on the current H-2 list.  Chief Hayes-White responded about 3,500 and encouraged anyone who scored under rank 8 to retake the test.  He asked Chief Hayes-White if there was a way to make the small wooden structures being built for the homeless in the city if they could be treated with fire-resistant materials or unburnable materials.  Chief Hayes-White answered that she doesn’t believe so but they have agreed to continue dialogue with Ms. Farah Weiss and look at pilot programs they have in Seattle.  He asked for an update on the H-23 classification and Chief Hayes-White stated that interviews were conducted and they have selected two people for those positions.
There was no public comment.
Report on overall field operations, including greater alarm fires, Bureau of Fire Prevention & Investigation, Airport and Emergency Medical Services, including Labor Day weekend responses.
Chief Gonzales reported on events from the month of August.  He stated that during the month of August, they had 15 working fires, one of which was a greater alarm at 1328 12th Avenue and Irving.  There were no injuries and the Red Cross was called for one adult who needed assistance.  The Incident Commander was Chief Velo.  He described other working fires during the reporting period.  He commended Chief Zanoff, Battalion Chief Hayes, Chief Francisco, Chief Molloy, and Rescue Captain Chris Bonn for the work they did in planning for the protest.  Chief Gonzales read some responses received on social media, mentioned the comprehensive outreach section of his report and stated that he is convinced that it’s helping with recruitment and prevention and thanked all the outreach partners and everyone that works within the Fire Department for their outreach efforts, including President Cleaveland.  He described an incident that happened during a basketball event at Kezar Pavilion and the great job the first responders did in saving a 66-year-old male who experienced cardiac arrest.  He mentioned the need for the EMS-6 program and what a great job they are doing.
Chief Andy Zanoff gave an overview of how the Department handled the heat wave over the Labor Day weekend.  He stated that they responded to over 2,400 calls for emergency assistance, which is more than double their normal call volume.  He mentioned that despite the increase in call volume they maintained nearly normal response times.  He stated that the EMS system needs to be expandable and scalable, which means that it can expand quickly to meet the needs of the public and can return just as quickly to normal operations and that’s exactly what the system did.  He stated that Dr. Brown, EMS Medical Director, asked for mutual aid EMS resources from outside San Francisco on Friday and Saturday and units from as close as San Mateo and as far away as Yolo County responded to San Francisco and deployed immediately into the 9-1-1- system.  He complimented everyone who worked during the unprecedented call volume of Labor Day weekend including the ambulance crews, fire suppression crews, dispatchers, DPH, EMS personnel, 9-1-1- and 3-1-1 call takers, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, Health and Human Services personnel, the Red Cross and NERT volunteers.
Chief Gonzales touched on Prevention, TASC, events at the Port, and Bureau of Fire Investigation.  He announced his heartfelt condolences to both the Smerdel family and the Choy family and thanked the Chief for her leadership throughout the last two weeks.  He also acknowledged Father Green and the Stress Unit, including Captain Dan Griffin, and Firefighter/Paramedic John Christy, members of Local 798, and President O’Connor for stepping up during these difficult times.
Commissioner Veronese stated that in his opinion, the work that EMS-6 does is extraordinary and he thinks it should be expanded.  He also mentioned that the only reason there is an EMS-6 unit is because of the failures outside of the Department’s control in addressing homelessness and the needs of those particular people.
Vice President Nakajo thanked Chief Gonzales and Chief Zanoff for their comprehensive reports.  He appreciated the heat wave update which showed that the Department handled the call volume and took care of business.  There was discussion on a pilot program where the San Francisco Emergency Medical Service Authority has approved resource allocation change to certain medical calls.
Commissioner Hardeman thanked them for their report.  He asked about the high death rate with cardiac arrest.  Dr. Yeh responded that it is correct and cardiac arrest is the condition that they think of when they say seconds count in EMS.  He added that they designed a system so that they could have immediate EMS response, rapid CPR provided by professional responders, and early defibrillation.  He stated that one of the biggest things they struggle with is recognition by the community that cardiac arrest has occurred, and second, bystander CPR.
President Cleaveland thanked them for their reports.  He stated that he thinks the Department responded admirably during the heat eave and thanked all for their efforts.  He confirmed that the traffic calming issue on upper Market has not been resolved and it is a work in progress.  He announced his support of the EMS-6 program.
There was no public comment.
Discussion regarding agenda for the August 23, 2017 regular meeting.
• Report on Upper Market traffic calming
• Update on storing antique apparatus
• Done policy update
• Report on notable incidents/Surf Rescue
There was no public comment.
Report on Commission activities since last meeting of August 23, 2017.
Commissioner Veronese stated that regarding the antique apparatus, he has reached out to some resources, including Park and Rec Department to see if they can get some cover as soon as possible.  He recommended that the Commission send a letter to city agencies asking for long-term storage space for the antique apparatus.  He asked Chief Hayes-White if the Department checks the carbon monoxide testers in the Broadway tunnel.  Chief Hayes-White stated she would have Chief Gonzales check on that.
Commissioner Covington suggested looking at the space that Central Shops is currently occupying to see if perhaps it’s a possibility for the antique apparatus. 
There was no public comment.
Public comment on all matters pertaining to Item 10 below, including public comment on whether to hold Items 10 (b) and (c) in closed session. 
President Cleaveland called for public comment.  No member of the public came forward and President Cleaveland closed public comment.  A short recess was taken to clear the room.
The Commission may hear Item 10(b) regarding existing litigation in closed session if it votes to invoke the attorney-client privilege (Government Code § 54956.9; Administrative Code § 67.10(d)).  The Commission may hear Items 10(c) regarding personnel matters in closed session pursuant to Government Code Section 54957(b) and Administrative Code Section 67.10(b).
Commissioner Covington made a motion to conduct existing litigation and personnel matters in Closed Session.  Commissioner Veronese seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved.  (5-0; Cleaveland, Nakajo, Hardeman, Covington, Veronese)
The Commission went into closed session at 11:36 a.m.
b. CONFERENCE WITH LEGAL COUNSEL – EXISTING LITIGATION. Conference with legal counsel to discuss existing litigation pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.9(a), (c), (d), and Administrative Code Section 67.10(d)(1) and possible recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for settlement approval or to take other action.  [Action item]
Existing Litigation:
Blatman v. City and County of San Francisco 
San Francisco Superior Court No. CGC-14-541248
Commissioner Covington moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors for Settlement of existing Litigation in the Blatman v. City and County of San Francisco matter.  Commissioner Veronese seconded.  The motion was unanimously approved.  (5-0; Cleaveland, Nakajo, Hardeman, Covington, Veronese)
c. EMPLOYEE DISCIPLINE CASE NO. 2017-07. Commission to consider and possibly take action on proposed stipulated settlement agreement concerning member’s suspension appeal filed on June 27, 2017 appealing a 2-day suspension for the following alleged rule violations:
Section 3921- Inattention to Duty
Section 3939 – Loss of Damage of Tools and/or Equipment
CD2 Memo 00-05 – Locking of Ambulances
This matter may be heard in closed session pursuant to Government Code Section 54957(b) and Administrative Code Section 67.10(b). 
Commissioner Veronese Moved to continue item 7(c) to a future date.  Commissioner Covington Seconded.  The motion was unanimously approved.  (5-0; Cleaveland, Nakajo, Hardeman, Covington, Veronese)
11. REPORT ON ANY ACTION TAKEN IN CLOSED SESSION [Discussion] as specified in California Government Code Section 54957.1(a) and San Francisco Administrative Code section 67.12(b).
12. VOTE TO ELECT WHETHER TO DISCLOSE ANY OR ALL DISCUSSIONS HELD IN CLOSED SESSION, as specified in San Francisco Administrative Code Section 67.12(a).   [Action]
Commissioner Veronese Moved to not disclose discussions held in closed session.  Vice President Nakajo Seconded.  The motion was unanimously approved.  (5-0; Cleaveland, Nakajo, Hardeman, Covington, Veronese)
Meeting adjourned in the memory of Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel at 12:11 p.m.