Resolution 2007-06

Resolution 2007-06


WHEREAS, the San Francisco Fire Department ("Department") is charged with protecting the lives and property of San Francisco residents and visitors from fires, natural disasters, and hazardous materials incidents; and saving lives by providing emergency medical services; and

WHEREAS, each day, the approximately 1,650 uniformed personnel of the Department protect an estimated 775,000 City residents and approximately an equal number of visitors to the City; and

WHEREAS, to support its mission to protect lives and property, the Department has 42 active fire stations located throughout the City, as well as 2 pump stations and 13 other miscellaneous properties, all housing personnel assigned to Triple Combination Pumper/Engines, Aerial Ladder Trucks, Ambulances, Chief Officer vehicles, or specialty apparatus and equipment; and

WHEREAS, the Department's fire stations and other properties are strategically located throughout the roughly 49 square miles of the City in order to provide the most timely and efficient response to emergencies anywhere in the City; and

WHEREAS some of the Department's stations and other facilities were built before 1915, the majority of those properties were constructed before 1950, and many have not had routine maintenance or needed replacement, renewal, renovation, or upgrade over the years; and

WHEREAS, in order to provide continuous protection and service to the City, its residents and visitors, the Department's uniformed personnel staff the firehouses and other facilities 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and

WHEREAS, in order to staff the firehouses on a continuous basis, when not on emergency calls or other duties outside the firehouse, personnel live at the firehouse, conducting station meetings and training exercises and performing other work responsibilities, and also cooking, eating and sleeping; and

WHEREAS, following exposure to fire, smoke and other potentially hazardous substances during emergency calls, Department personnel often shower at the firehouse to remove any potentially dangerous contaminants; and

WHEREAS, it is essential that the City take all reasonable steps available to protect the health, safety and welfare of its employees; and

WHEREAS, the City must maintain and operate the firehouses to meet the minimum requirements of habitability established by the California Civil Code; and

WHEREAS, apparatus floors in the fire stations were designed to hold Engines weighing 16,000 pounds and Trucks weighing 25,000 pounds, and now must support Engines weighing 33,000 pounds and Trucks weighing 56,000 pounds; and

WHEREAS, in addition, apparatus floors designed for single or at most double companies today often also bear the added 22,000 pound weight of an ambulance; and

WHEREAS, due to under funding over the years, many of the Department's firehouses and other facilities are in serious need of repair, with the result that there currently exist: numerous roof, window and internal water leaks; the presence of peeling paint and falling debris in kitchen, dormitory and bath facilities; structural deficiencies; plumbing deficiencies, and failing heating systems; and

WHEREAS, effective and routine maintenance protects capital investment, ensures the health and safety of personnel, enhances employee productivity, and supports the Department's emergency response and services; and

WHEREAS, effective facilities maintenance extends the life of older facilities and maximizes the useful life of newer facilities; and

WHEREAS, inventories of the physical conditions of the Department's firehouses and other facilities have resulted in an estimate that to immediately bring those facilities up to good condition would require the expenditure of thirty million dollars ($30,000,000) for capital improvements and maintenance; and

WHEREAS, the Fire Commission and Department have requested that the City fund capital improvements to the existing fire stations and other facilities in the amount of eight million dollars ($8,000,000) for the 2007-2008 fiscal year; and

WHEREAS, the Department has estimated that two million five hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000) of emergency repairs are required during the 2007-2008 fiscal year to address the most serious health and safety issues caused by conditions at the firehouses; and

WHEREAS, based on the Department's inventories, estimates and recommendations, the Fire Commission has requested that the City fund routine annual maintenance and repairs in the amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000) in the 2007-2008 operating budget; and

WHEREAS, the City and County of San Francisco Voter Information Guide for the November 2005 election stated, in regards to "Proposition F", that "If you vote "yes," you want to require the City to maintain and operate all 42 firehouses and specific emergency and rescue vehicles and equipment at the same levels that were used on January 1, 2004"; and

WHEREAS, on November 8, 2005 the voters of the City and County of San Francisco enacted Proposition "F", known as the "Neighborhood Firehouse Protection Act"; and

WHEREAS, the Neighborhood Firehouse Protection Act states that "Fire safety, emergency assistance, and ambulances are essential services that should not be cut" and further states that the "initiative requires that all existing neighborhood firehouses remain open"; and

WHEREAS, the Neighborhood Firehouse Protection Act added the following to the San Francisco Administrative Code Section 2A.97, entitled "FIRE PROTECTION AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES": "Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Fire Department shall maintain and operate neighborhood firehouses and emergency apparatus at the same location and to the same extent as existed on January 1, 2004"; and

WHEREAS, maintaining and operating the Department's firehouses consistent with the intent of the voters of San Francisco requires that those firehouses be free from water leaks, hazardous substances and structural decay, and that they be kept in habitable condition; and

WHEREAS, to provide emergency response and services without interruption, and to ensure the health and safety of its personnel who live at Department facilities, the Department must maintain and operate its facilities in good, safe and habitable condition; and

WHEREAS, adherence to a comprehensive and balanced facilities maintenance and capital improvement plan not only ensures that the Department's facilities are maintained and operated in safe and habitable condition, but also avoids the high cost of temporary or emergency maintenance and repairs; and

WHEREAS, given the substantial costs required in maintaining and operating the Department's facilities in good and safe condition, capital improvements to those facilities should be undertaken as part of a carefully planned process that is conducted at regular intervals, to ensure that the facilities are continually maintained without imposing an undue financial burden during any single fiscal year; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, that in order to meet the immediate emergency repair and maintenance needs of the Department's most seriously affected firehouses and to thereby ensure the health, safety and effectiveness of Department personnel, the Commission hereby requests and urges the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to provide for funding, at a minimum, in the amount of two million five hundred thousand dollars ($2,500,000) for capital repairs and improvements to firehouses in the 2007-2008 fiscal year capital improvements budget, and to provide an additional one million dollars ($1,000,000) for repairs and maintenance in the 2007-2008 fiscal year operating budget; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that in order to begin addressing long-deferred maintenance at firehouses throughout the City, the Commission also requests funding of the remaining five and a half million dollars requested by the Fire Commission and Department from the 2007-2008 capital improvement budget; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department, in conjunction with other City departments, should continue to plan for the regular and long term maintenance and capital improvement of the Department's facilities, including all of its 42 firehouses; and be it

FURTHER RESOLVED, that as a part of that planning process, the Department shall provide a semiannual report to the Commission with an inventory and cost estimate of all conditions and deficiencies of the Department facilities requiring repair, maintenance or improvement.

Adopted at the Regular Meeting of the San Francisco Fire Commission on May 24, 2007

Ayes: Conroy, Lau, Nakajo, Clarke


Tania Bauer, Secretary