Oceano home burns amid dispatch phone tag

August 29, 2014

five cities fire1While emergency calls went from agency to agency, a fire in an outdoor shed spread to a home in Oceano on Aug. 21. [KSBY]

Neighbors of the Beach Street home began calling 911 at 12:09 p.m. to report the shed fire. It was more than eight minutes before the first fire truck arrived. By that time, the fire had spread to the home.

The National Fire Protection Association’s standard for answering, transferring and processing an alarm call is one minute and 45 seconds.

In this case, it took dispatchers almost five minutes to notify the Five Cities Fire Authority it needed to dispatch a truck. The 911 call went first to the California Highway Patrol, which took almost a minute to send information to Cal Fire, which contacted Grover Beach, which then informed the Five Cities Fire Authority it needed to dispatch a truck.

Dispatch timeline from KSBY:

12:09:11 CHP received first 911 cell phone call
12:09:55 Cal Fire receives transfer of cell phone call from CHP
12:11:11 Cal Fire transfers info from 911 call to Grover Beach dispatch via CAD system
12:11:22 Cal Fire dispatched first mutual aid engine
12:11:27 Grover Beach dispatch receives information
12:12:12 Cal Fire transfers info from 911 call to Grover Beach via phone
12:13:16 Grover Beach dispatch sends tones to Five Cities Fire
12:17:52 Five Cities Fire first engine arrives on scene
12:18:33 Cal Fire mutual aid engine arrives on scene


22 Comments

  1. falconbh says:

    It is time to consider a CalFire contract for the community of Oceano.

    Very simply , let the voters decide which agency that would like after they both submit written proposals.

    What are our elected officals afraid of on this issue ?

    We really need Tax/Rate Relief. They have no problem with “Automatic Water Rate Increases, without a Democratic Vote of The People. They supported a New Fire Tax, wasted taxpayers funds on this Defeated New Tax. The budget is in the ” Red” and they hire a General Manager with funds we do not have to support at this salary level. After the election, ” Automatic Sanitation Rate Increase” without another Democratic Vote OF The People !

    It is time to give the people a Democratic Vote On Some of these Important New Tax/Rate Increases.

    The problem with the “Automatic New Rate Increase Process” is they have no incentive to control costs and act more responsible with our Tax/Rate Funds. It becomes an Open Checkbook. We need to bring checks and balances to a flawed system that is rigged against taxpayers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  2. Mr. Holly says:

    This is an example of why consideration should be given for a centrally location for one dispatch center. Morro Bay just made that move. Especially in the Five Cities area where all of the cities blend together. Although it would probably be very difficult for government to create efficiency especially if there was an opportunity to save money. Dismantling all of the little kingdoms would be difficult.
    One of the reasons for these numerous dispatch centers is so the individual cities can claim first responder status and then get a kick back from the ambulance company of several hundred dollars per call.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 8

    • surfdawg says:

      They probably wish it was several hundred bucks per call, but unfortunately not the case. I think it is time for municipal fire agencies to centralize dispatch as the centers are typically controlled by a Police Chief (with a law enforcement bias). Unfortunately, our “County Fire Department” is a contract State Agency (CAL FIRE) with a sometimes conflicting vision / mission.

      We need a “local” consolidated fire/EMS dispatch center.

      And, we need to figure out the technology required to get wireless calls routed in a more direct fashion.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

      • Mr. Holly says:

        It is several hundred dollars. One city in the north county gets $465 per call and more than $100,000 a year. There had been an attempt in the past to increase that kickback to over $700 per call bit that failed.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

      • outcider says:

        Unfortunately it is misinformation like these statements about County Fire (Cal Fire) vision and mission be in conflict. Leaving statements so false without any factual backing only contributes to standardized misinformation tactics. Please provide the conflicting vision/mission you speak of so an open honest debate my be had.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    • mikeGB says:

      While I don’t disagree with the merits of having a central dispatch, there is a much simpler and quicker fix for this problem. Procedure change.

      If the CHP called GB dispatch or Five Cities Fire first, the response time would have been much quicker. If they had concurrent notification (like a conference call), the response would have been quicker.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • analyticone says:

        CHP are supposed to connect direct to Grover Beach. In this case they made a mistake and connected to Cal Fire first.

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