East Bay fire district tests pilot program for emergencies

September 6, 2013 12:56:42 PM PDT
The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District is launching a new pilot program to try to keep more firefighters available for emergencies.

Starting Friday, a two-person medical squad will be created to handle lower priority medical calls. They'll be based out of Station 1 in downtown Walnut Creek.

This will free up fire engines to handle higher priority calls like fires and rescues. The 90-day pilot program is designed to help maintain staffing in the wake of countywide budget cuts.

"We have areas around Walnut Creek and Lafayette that don't have fire coverage like they used to have," said Vito Impastato with the International Association of Fire Fighters There's still an engine that's going to show up. The fire department is still going to show up to those calls but they're coming from farther away now."

Fire Station 1 was chosen because it's centrally located.

Five fire stations have closed in the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District in the last two years.


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