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.