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

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Luckily it wasn’t a police matter or the dispatching through GBPD might not have even been that expeditious. Especially, if they know a party involved in the complaint.

It is long past time to have both the Five Cities Fire Authority and Cal Fire to submit proposals for residents of Oceano to consider in the future.

Was the fire started by a meth lab? If so, I am fairly amused by this. If not, bummer.

Since the merging and creation of the five cities fire authority, I believe this is the first time for this kind of problem.

I am very thankful no one was hurt, that would have made a bad situation worse.

How many emergencies do they respond to and do it with speed and within the perimeters people feel are acceptable?

This is terrible some one lost their home and all the memories within. Now let’s look at how to make this system better. If this happened 5% of the time, that would be terrible. Things went wrong and let’s hope this is a one time event.

That is one reason new houses are required to have sprinkler systems in them. If this was a newer house, the fire might not have been able to destroy the house.

These guys do a damn good job 99.9% of the time I feel. Crap happens in life but these guys train so much to be able to protect our homes and our families, we also need to do things to help them with fire prevention. I am not at all saying this family didn’t, but over all this might be a good time to just look around your house. See what you might be able to do to keep a fire from occurring, spreading and possibly aid in putting it out.

I have 2 fire extinguishers in my house, I don’t keep gas cans in my garage or shed, they stay out away from my house.I do things in case I do have a fire to get my animals and my self out safety. Mostly with this drought going on and on, i fear fire more than an earthquake, and I take prevention seriously at my house.

This “article” brought to you by the Dispatchers Local Union of So SLO Co.

For many years, all 911 calls from cell phones have been routed to CHP first and this process worked okay even though it required more steps and therefore more time. Now that virtually everyone has a cell phone, it’s probably time for state and local responders to re-evaluate this protocol. Secondly, the Five Cities Fire Authority has steadfastly chosen to have their own fire dispatch system operated by Grover Beach police dispatch. It may also be a good opportunity to re-evaluate this position through discussions with the only 24-hour fire dispatch system in the county at CalFire.

Agreed…nobody has land lines anymore. CHP should NOT be handling initial 911 calls for this very reason.

It could be worse. I am lucky enough to live 1/2 mile outside Atascadero fire services. I get to pay EXTRA assessments to get slow, bads service from CalFire.

I’m curious what you mean when you say “bad service” from Cal Fire? Was there some incident that occurred at your place that they didn’t meet your expectations on? I grew up in an area where the sheriff was a minimum of an hour away (that was a code 3 response time) and the fire service was usually about 30-45 minutes away.

If you’d like a faster response time, I’d suggest you move into town.

So, is this what Morro Bay has to look forward to, now that Mayor Irons and his council have decided to eliminate their local dispatch operation?

If so, MB residents might want to go out and stock up on fire extinguishers just to be safe. Oh, and keep your receipts and send them to Irons for reimbursement.

I find it sad you have to take any opportunity to show your dis-like of the current Morro Bay government, even to the point of people whose house caught fire, not even in Morro Bay. So we clearly see you don’t like Mr. Irons but please just be happy that it appears no one was hurt in this fire in Oceano. I for one am more concerned about the time it took for a response, not by Morro Bay Fire Department, but by the Five Cities Fire District.

Yes, agreed- it’s a good thing that no one was hurt. The point here is that this is precisely the sort of thing that needs to be seriously considered prior to making critical changes to public safety-related policies, procedures and practices.

I don’t “dislike” Irons- I don’t know him and never met him, or any of the Morro Bay council members. What I dislike is inadequate attention to public services by the officials charged with the responsibility of assuring that the citizens and taxpayers are their first and foremost priority.

Good response, Pan. Kayak was uncharacteristically improper, and off base in challenging you. Your point was right on topic, and very timely in view of Irons getting rid of local dispatch. + 1, Panflash.

Now if you’d worked in mention of hammering Irons on multi-million dollar stupidity on moving the sewer plant, as I attempt to work it in often, Kayak might have been in line with customary insightful comments.

Sounds good to me?

If we give them millions more by raising our taxes will it save seconds or minutes?