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Elk Grove Citizen

CSD Fire Shows Strategic Plan, Goals

Apr 04, 2024 10:11AM ● By Matthew Malone

Sacramento Junior Tennis Fund representatives present a $1,500 grant to the Cosumnes Community Services District directors. Photo by Matthew Malone

ELK GROVE, CA (MPG) - Cosumnes Community Services District staff updated the board of directors on the Cosumnes Fire Department strategic plan, as well as its community risk assessment and standards of cover (CRA/SOC). Both documents are major parts of the department’s efforts to gain an international accreditation.
Adminstrative Manager Carolyn Baptista said that only 21 fire agencies in California are accredited through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI).
“Accredited fire agencies are often described as being community oriented, data driven and outcome focused. They are well organized and properly equipped, staffed and trained,” Baptista said.
To better track progress on the strategic plan, the district switched from using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to a dedicated software that can track a goal’s status from “not started” to “achieved,” as well as varying degrees of setbacks.
Baptista described the five-year strategic plan as a “living document,” in which a project may go through multiple status levels over the course of a year. The board adopted the plan in 2022.
Out of the six major strategies laid out in the strategic plan, the one with the highest proportion of completed elements is community risk reduction and preparedness, at 38%. In the strategy of fostering an effective emergency response, 86% of items were “on track,” the highest percentage for that status level; 7% of the emergency-response items had been achieved. Overall, 70% of objectives are on track or achieved.
Baptista said staff are encouraged to use the “off track” and “at risk” status labels, indicating difficulties like delays or funding shortages, as a way of highlighting which projects need additional resources.
“Noting that 30% of the objectives are either off track or not started, we plan to conduct a mid-strategic plan update as we come upon that halfway point in this five-year plan,” Baptista said. “This will include reviewing each objective and seeing if any need to be expanded or condensed to meet the needs of the community.”
Presenting the community risk assessment and standards of cover (CRA/SOC), Management Analyst Lizy Silva said the document “the characteristics, hazards and risks of the community; the agency’s resources and response quality; and the plan to maintain or improve capabilities.”
Staff have been working on the initial recommendations of the community risk assessment and standards of cover, Silva said, and she focused on the development of performance benchmarks that the department should aim for when responding to calls.
The benchmarks specify that the response to a 9-1-1 call should take no more than a certain amount of time to complete in 90% of cases. 
In total, the time from a dispatcher answering a call to fire department personnel arriving at the emergency scene should generally be no more than six minutes and 30 seconds in urban areas, and no more than 12 minutes and 30 seconds in rural areas.
Silva noted that Cosumnes Fire does not directly control the first step of the process, during which a dispatcher answers a call and contacts the appropriate services. Dispatch is handled by a regional group but it is still factored into the overall performance measurement.
Silva then gave the department’s actual performance. In 90% of calls in urban areas, the response time was nine minutes and 32 seconds or shorter, which is three minutes longer than the benchmark. The same statistic in rural areas was 15 minutes and 11 seconds or shorter, about two minutes and 40 seconds above the benchmark.
To bring down response times, the community risk assessment and standards of cover recommended adding three “squads” of medical staff and a new battalion chief. Silva said the department is using funding from the Measure E sales tax to begin training two medical squads and add the battalion chief.
The fire department is also using the funds to upgrade its 9-1-1 alert systems and communication between emergency vehicles and traffic signals. Silva also noted improvements at the regional dispatch center.
The strategic plan and the community risk assessment and standards of cover are two of three “core documents” that the fire department needs to apply for accreditation with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International.
The department plans to complete all three documents by February 2025 and the final step in the process could take place in fall that year.
“We will get out of this process what we put into it, and thus far the time and effort that has been put in by department personnel, other district team members and our external partners has been tremendous,” Silva said.
In other business, the board approved the name for a park in the planned Elliott Springs development northwest of Waterman and Bond roads in Elk Grove. The naming committee, which includes directors Peter Sakaris and Angela Spease recommended calling it Cattails Creek Park, based on a cattail feature in the park’s play area and the park’s proximity to tributaries of Whitehouse Creek. The board adopted the name by a 4-0 vote. Director Orlando Fuentes was absent.
Sacramento Junior Tennis Fund presented the district with a $1,500 grant to benefit the district’s youth tennis program in Elk Grove.
“This is a chance for us to give back a little bit to these kids and make sure that they have an opportunity to play tennis,” tennis fund President Carol Rose said.