by Sheryl Hamlin
Chief Monday presented the Q2 VCFPD operational report at the July 15, 2020 Santa Paula City Council meeting. The second quarter represents April 1 through June 30, 2020.
Incidents Down But Fires Up
The first chart below shows the calls for Q2 at 552 versus 575 for Q1 representing a slight decrease. However the second chart shows that the number of fire related incidents increased from 19.3% in Q2 2019 to 38.7% in Q2 2020. Medical remains the modal category.
Because of the virus, the dispatchers must ask for additional information which is shown on the first of the next two slides. After determining if there are symptoms, then PPE is required for the firefighters responding to the call. The percent of PPE calls is shown in the second of the two next slides.
Homeless Related Fire Incidents
Chief Monday provided a video and slides of the fire in the Steckel flood channel. It was tricky due to the huge amount of personal effects in the channel where people had been living.
Fire calls are coming in almost every other day for the 12th Street area where the homeless population lives under the bridge. The Arundo burns hot and quick, as do the tarps. There was no reason why the fires were started.
There is a new monitoring program chaired by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) whose members talk to the homeless. Council Member Juarez stated that a few years ago TNC was the lead agency for this project. The challenge, according to Council Member Juarez, is evicting from public places. Where do they go? Council Member Crosswhite added that moving people during Covid is more difficult.
Council Member Sobel asked about the peak fire season. Chief Monday said there has been almost one fire per day in the last five days, so this will be an active early season. The VCFPD has a Blackhawk helicopter carrying a 660 gallon bucket of water for drops. VCFPD also participates in mutual aid calls such as the one now at Highway 101 and 65.
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