This Countywide Fire Service Review is part of LAFCO’s third round of service reviews. LAFCO has previously conducted two Countywide Fire Service Reviews, one in 2004 and another in 2010. In May 2021, LAFCO began its current Countywide Fire Service Review. However, LAFCO paused this project in January 2022 to retain a new consultant to conduct the study. In June 2022, LAFCO retained AP Triton, LLC to resume and complete the service review under a revised timeline.
Santa Clara LAFCO’s Countywide Fire Service Review involves a comprehensive review of fire service and emergency medical service (EMS) provision in Santa Clara County.
Agencies To Be Studied
- Los Altos Hills County Fire District
- Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District (CCFD)
- Saratoga Fire Protection District
- South Santa Clara County Fire Protection District
City Fire Departments
- City of Gilroy Fire Department
- City of Milpitas Fire Department
- City of Mountain View Fire Department
- City of Palo Alto Fire Department
- City of Santa Clara Fire Department
- City of San Jose Fire Department
- City of Sunnyvale Fire Department
Cities That Contract For Fire Services
- City of Campbell (contracts with CCFD)
- City of Los Altos (contracts with CCFD)
- City of Morgan Hill (contracts with CAL FIRE)
- CA Dept. of Forestry & Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)
- County of Santa Clara (EMS, Office of Emergency Services, Communications)
- NASA Ames Fire Department
- Casa Loma Volunteer Fire Association
- Spring Valley Volunteer Fire Department
- Stevens Creek Volunteer Fire Company
- Uvas Volunteer Fire Department
- Santa Clara County FireSafe Council
Scope Of Service Review
Lafco’s Service Review Responsibilities
The Countywide Fire Service Review will provide an overview of all the agencies that provide fire service and/or emergency medical services in the County, evaluate the provision of these services, and recommend actions to promote efficient service delivery. State law mandates that LAFCO’s service review include an analysis and written statement of determinations regarding:
- Growth and population projections for the affected area
- Location and characteristics of any disadvantaged unincorporated communities within or contiguous to the sphere of influence
- Present and planned capacity of public facilities, adequacy of public services, and infrastructure needs or deficiencies including infrastructure needs or deficiencies related to structural fire protection in any disadvantaged unincorporated communities within or contiguous to the sphere of influence
- Financial ability of agencies to provide services
- Status of, and opportunities for, shared facilities
- Accountability for community service needs, including governmental structure and operational efficiencies
The service review will include recommendations for any changes to fire district spheres of influence, as necessary.
Service Review Focus Issues
The study will review and/or provide an analysis of options for addressing the following current and emerging issues identified by LAFCO:
- Options for funding and providing fire service and emergency medical services to the underserved areas of the County
- Regional models for more efficiently providing fire service and EMS countywide
- Frequency of use, benefits/burdens of mutual aid and automatic aid on individual agencies and the countywide fire service and EMS system
- Climate change and the increased risk of wildfires
- Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) in Santa Clara County and agencies’ plans/programs to prevent or reduce fire risks in the WUI and strengthen their community’s resilience to withstand and recover from wildfires
- Interagency communication and coordination for fire prevention planning and suppression along shared borders, and on private/public lands and rights of way
- Best practices for roles and oversight of volunteer fire companies
- Extent to which private fire protection service is used in the county and whether it conflicts with public providers
- New provision in state law that requires LAFCO to consider fire risks and the location of very high fire hazard zones when reviewing proposals [GC §56668(q)]
- Applicability of new law requiring LAFCO to review certain fire service contracts: GC §56134 requires LAFCO approval of a fire protection contract that provides new or extended fire protection services outside a public agency’s jurisdictional boundaries and meets either of the following thresholds: (1) transfers responsibility for providing services in more than 25 percent of the area within the jurisdictional boundaries of any public agency affected by the contract; or (2) changes the employment status of more than 25 percent of the employees of any public agency affected by the contract.
Intended Use Of The Service Review Report
The Service Review Report will serve as an information resource for LAFCO, local agencies, and the public on fire service and EMS in Santa Clara County. Service providers may use the Report to pursue service delivery changes or to further assess the options identified in the Report for providing more efficient services. LAFCO may use the information in the Report, when reviewing future proposals for jurisdictional boundary changes. LAFCO, local agencies or the public may use the Report, together with additional analysis where necessary, to pursue changes in governance, and/or changes in jurisdictional boundaries or spheres of influence.
Technical Advisory Committee
A TAC has been established to serve as a liaison between LAFCO and the affected agencies during the fire service review process. The TAC meets periodically to receive updates and provide expertise and advice on the project. TAC membership includes:
Appointed By Lafco
|Yoriko Kishimoto, LAFCO Commissioner|
|Jim Beall, LAFCO Commissioner|
Appointed By County Fire Chiefs Association
|Chief Suwanna Kerdkaew, SCC Central Fire Protection District|
|Chief Ruben Torres, City of Santa Clara|
|Chief Jim Wyatt, City of Gilroy|
Appointed By County/Cities Managers’ Association
|James Lindsay, Saratoga City Manager|
|Christina Turner, Morgan Hill City Manager|
|Ed Shikada, Palo Alto City Manager|
Key Steps & Timeline
|LAFCO resumes service review with
|Consultant collects data from service providers||August - November|
|Service providers validate agency profiles
compiled by consultant
|January - February 2023|
|Consultant prepares findings, and Draft
Service Review Report
|February - Early May|
|LAFCO releases Draft Report for public
review and comment
|Community workshops on Draft Report||Late May - June|
|LAFCO public hearing on Draft Report||Early August|
|LAFCO releases Revised Draft Report for
public review/ comment
|LAFCO public hearing to adopt Final Report||Early October|
|Publication of Adopted Final Report||October|
Service Review Links
This Countywide Fire Service Review is part of LAFCO’s third round of service reviews. LAFCO has previously conducted two Countywide Fire Service Reviews, one in 2004 and another in 2010.
How To Get Involved
This page is your one stop source of information on LAFCO’s Countywide Fire Service Review. If you have additional questions please contact LAFCO staff at LAFCO@ceo.sccgov.org
In August 2021, an online community survey on fire service was released on the LAFCO website. The purpose of the survey was to evaluate fire services and determine the community’s level of wildfire preparedness. The survey, which is now closed, was provided in both English and Spanish to engage a broad section of the community.
Also, in August 2021, three virtual Community Meetings were held by LAFCO in partnership with other local fire service providers. Each meeting included similar content but was targeted to communities in a different part of the county (i.e. communities in south Santa Clara County, central and east Santa Clara County, and north and west Santa Clara County). The meetings were an opportunity for the public and local agencies to learn more about the Countywide Fire Service Review, provide input on fire service and emergency medical service in their community, and hear from local fire service providers about fire safety and wildfire preparedness.
A summary of the survey results and the input received at the three community meetings will be included in the service review report. LAFCO’s new consultant will take this information into consideration as they prepare the service review.
Throughout this Service Review process there will be many other opportunities (community meetings, TAC meetings and LAFCO public hearings) for the public to engage and provide input on the study. Stay tuned for meeting information!
We encourage you to sign-up here to receive email updates and notices from LAFCO on this Service Review.