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March 10, 2005










Regular Meeting – Thursday – March 10, 2005 6:00 p.m.

698 Second Street, Room 102


Item No.


ON ROLL CALL, the following were noted present:






President Paul A. Conroy



Vice President Stephen A. Nakajo



Commissioner Rosemarie Fernandez-Pifer



Commissioner Clem Clarke



Commissioner Douglas E. Goldman, M.D.






Joanne M. Hayes-White

Chief of Department


Fred J. Sanchez

Deputy Chief, Operations


Gary P. Massetani

Deputy Chief, Administration





Assistant Deputy Chiefs – Staff:






Patrick J. Casserly

Division of Airports


Glenn E. Ortiz-Schuldt

Division of Emergency Medical Services


Paul H. Chin

Division of Fire Prevention and Investigation


Thomas A. Siragusa

Division of Training


Alfred P. Quartaroli

Division of Homeland Security





Chief Officers – Firefighting Services:






Alson Lee

Division 2 (Acting)


Frank T. Cardinale

Division 3





EMS Officers:






James M. Fazackerley

Section Chief, Operations











Regular Meeting of February 10, 2005 (amended), and Special Meetings of November 4, 2004, February 10, 2005 (4:30 p.m.), and February 17, 2005 (4:00 p.m.)






Commissioner Goldman moved and Commissioner Nakajo seconded. There were no questions or discussion and the minutes of the Regular Meeting of February 10, 2005, were approved as amended.






Commissioner Nakajo moved and Commissioner Clarke seconded.






The Minutes of the November 4, 2004 Special Meeting were approved as amended by Commissioner Goldman’s following statement:







The responses of John Brown, M.D. Emergency Medical Director, EMSEOS, to questions presented by Commissioner Goldman regarding the role of private providers in other communities and in conjunction with all the providers, as well as the quality of private providers locally, was not as fully covered in the Minutes as its importance merited.








The extensive discussion with Chief Ortiz-Schuldt trying to define some remarks of Dr. Brown’s regarding the status of the new group of hires and, in particular, what their status would be and whether there would be an avenue of advancement and employment in the Department was not fully captured.








Commissioner Goldman had suggested that an independent consultant be hired to present three proposals, mentioned in the minutes, but had also recommended that to avoid any possible conflict of interest a different independent consultant should review the financial projections for the three different proposals before presenting them to the Commission.







Commissioner Nakajo moved and Commissioner Goldman seconded. There were no questions or discussion and the minutes of the Special Meeting of February 10, 2005 (4:30 p.m.) were approved as presented.






Commissioner Goldman moved and Commissioner Nakajo seconded. There were no questions or discussion and the minutes of the Special Meeting of February 17, 2005 (4:00 p.m.) were approved as presented.












All matters listed hereunder (Items A through C) constitute a Consent Calendar, were considered to be routine by the Fire Commission, and were acted upon by a single roll-call vote of the Commission.






Monthly Reports on Personnel Matters   [Discussion]






Division of Training



Submitting monthly report from Division of Training concerning activities performed for February 2005.






Physician’s Report



Submitting biweekly report of Fire Department Physician concerning disability injuries, January 29 through February 11, 2005.









Reporting the following PERMANENT appointment effective FEBRUARY 16, 2005:





7205 Chief Stationary Engineer







Hernan E. Miras







Reporting the following PROBATIONARY appointment effective FEBRUARY 16, 2005:





1270 Departmental Personnel Officer







Jesusa S. Bushong (vice: Annual Salary Ordinance Authorized Position)







Reporting the following PROBATIONARY appointment effective FEBRUARY 28, 2005:





1820 Junior Administrative Analyst







Tania N. Fokin (vice: Robert Monroe, separated)







Reporting the following TEMPORARY EXEMPT appointment effective FEBRUARY 24, 2005:





7334 Stationary Engineer







William J. Kirkpatrick (vice: David Perez, resigned)










Communications received from Retirement Board indicating the following members have retired:









Retirement Date



Almirol, Stanford E.

H20 Lieutenant


Jan. 29, 2005



Heffernan, Jerry F.

H2    Firefighter


Feb. 07, 2005






(Retirement Certificates will be presented at Fire Commission Meeting of April 28, 2005)






Accidents   [Discussion]






Submitting reports and recommendations of the Accident Review Committee regarding the following accidents:





                              Accident No.    Accident Date      Serial No.    Category         Recommendation

BOE                                     04-5-111             1/13/2005           972            A                        File

      Cause:        While backing BOE van into fire station, driver struck bollard on vehicle

                        bay door

EMS                                     04-5-112             1/21/2005             37            B                        File

      Cause:        While legally parked, EMS vehicle was struck by a civilian vehicle that left


Medic 38                               04-5-113             1/26/2005           744            A                        File

      Cause:        Driver inattention to responsibilities - Driver of Medic 38, assuming the

                        apparatus do was open, backed into it; no spotters were posted

Engine 24                              04-5-114             1/27/2005           588            A                        File

      Cause:        Misjudged clearance - While responding to a medical incident, Eng 24 made

                        mirror-to-mirror contact, breaking the mirror of a garbage truck

EMS RC 4                             04-5-115             1/31/2005           378            A                      File

      Cause:        Driver inattention to possible hazards - While responding in heavy fog, RC

                        4 pulled to side of road and struck a tree branch

Medic  3                                04-5-116             1/31/2005           750            B                        Bill

      Cause:        While travelling on Van Ness, Medic 3 was struck by a vehicle which pulled

                        out from an adjoining lane

Rescue 2                              04-5-117               2/3/2005           862            A                        File

      Cause:        Misjudged clearance - While making a left turn into a parking lot, Res 2

                        struck a parked civilian vehicle

Engine 19                              04-5-118               2/4/2005           501            A                        File

      Cause:        Driving skill deficiency - While making a right turn, Eng 19 struck a parked

                        civilian vehicle

Engine  6                              04-5-119               2/5/2005           530            A                        File

      Cause:        Misjudged clearance - While backing up to make room for another

                        apparatus at a fire, Eng 6 struck an illegally parked civilian vehicle;

                        spotters were posted

BFP                                      04-5-120               2/8/2005             47            C                        File

      Cause:        Driver inattention - While pulling out from a parking spot, BFP driver failed

                        to yield right-of-way

Medic 8                                 04-5-121               2/8/2005           740            B                        Bill

      Cause:        While stopped in traffic, Medic 8's mirror was struck by a passing van





Category A – An accident which has occurred because of inattention to vehicle operator’s and/or officer’s responsibilities or because of misjudgment of clearance in operating apparatus near stationary objects.






Category B – An accident in which fire department personnel exercised reasonable judgment and precautions, exhibited good apparatus operator’s and officer’s skills and observed all state, local and fire department statutes, ordinances and rules.






Category C – An accident which has occurred because of apparatus operator’s misjudgment of clearance, deficiency in defensive driving techniques, or failure to anticipate other vehicle’s movements.






Communications Received by Commission   [Discussion]






The following communications have been received by the Commission from February 17, 2005, through March 3, 2005:







From John Hanley, President, San Francisco Firefighters Local 798, regarding the detailing of Suppression members to the ECD on a daily basis and, therefore, augmenting the ECD’s budget while depleting the Fire Department’s. Copy: Commissioners, Chief of Department and Deputy Chief, Administration.







Commissioner Nakajo moved and Commissioner Goldman seconded. There were no questions or discussion and Items A through C on the Consent Calendar were approved or ordered filed as appropriate.












Chief of Department’s Report   [Discussion]






Report from Chief of Department Joanne Hayes-White on current issues, including discussion of the FY 2004-05 budget, upcoming events, meetings and drills in the Department.






Joanne Hayes-White, Chief of Department, provided an update on the status of the current FY 2004-05 Budget. She stated that the Department was on target to achieve the $3.5 million reduction in this fiscal year. She provided some highlights of her SFStat presentation on March 7th to the Mayor who was pleased with the significant reduction in overtime for the reporting period (January). In addition, temporary modified duty was down to 21 individuals, lowest count ever, attributable to follow-up and a more streamlined process. Disability is also at an all-time low in the mid-50s at this time. Retirements stand at 49 to date and are projected at 60 at the end of this fiscal year. For FY 2005-06, the Department is projecting upwards of 90 to a 100 retirements.






Chief Hayes-White, referring to response times, declared that she is pleased with response times in North Beach, Chinatown and the Marina District, even with brown-outs in effect there. The Chief stated that of greater concern were the outlying areas, namely, Battalion 8 – Sunset, Battalion 9 – Ingleside, and Battalion 10 – Bayview Hunters Point, were responses were longer. She stated that over the past six months, the Department was slightly over the NFPA standard city-wide, which she attributed to brown-outs. In regard to EMS incidents, there are three standards: (1) first defibrillator on the scene, with the standard set at four and a half minutes, has been difficult to meet; (2) first ALS unit on the scene, with standard set at seven minutes, has been consistently met throughout the city; and (3) the first medic unit (transport) on the scene, with a standard of ten minutes, has not been met in Battalions 8, 9, and 10, due to geographic distances. Chief Hayes-White believed that with a dynamic deployment model response times should improve significantly.






Chief Hayes-White, referring to training, announced that a Rescue Systems I course had been developed with Homeland Security funding, and had commenced at Treasure Island, with 29 members attending. It is a specialized curriculum dealing with ropes, high angle rescue and ladder configurations and the Department’s goal is to train all members who are permanently assigned to a Truck company as well as those members who have expressed interest in receiving further specialized training.






Chief Hayes-White announced that there will be a St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 13th. She encouraged those present to join in. The Fire Department contingent will be assembling at on Second Street between Mission and Market Streets.






In closing, Chief Hayes-White acknowledged the presence of a colleague, namely John Brown, M.D., who has agreed to periodically attend Fire Commission meetings to answer questions that relate to the pre-hospital delivery of medical care which the Fire Department provides and Emergency Medical Services Agency oversees.






Commissioner Goldman inquired about the status of the Commission’s request to update the Rules and Regulations and, in particular, to rapidly update the Mandatory WDO (Work on Days Off) Procedure. Chief Hayes-White responded that the revision of the Rules and Regulations and the Procedure Guide is a Herculean effort that has been in process for the last four to five years. The Mandatory WDO procedure has not been finalized but a draft is under review. Commissioner Goldman asked for an estimated time when both documents would be completed. Chief Hayes-White responded that the Mandatory WDO procedure would be ready by April 1st and the Rules and Regulations process would require at least 18 months. Commissioner Goldman suggested that material should be presented quarterly to the Commission in sections for review in order to speed the process, with the most important first, that is, those Rules that were broken most frequently.






Commissioner Goldman, in referring to response times in the SFStat, suggested that explanations for discrepancies should in some way be appended to the report, possibly through footnotes. He referred specifically to the remarkable variations in response times in Battalion 3 and wondered about the reason. Chief Hayes-White responded that the brownouts are always a contributing factor but in Battalion 3’s case, the units must respond and support the units at Treasure Island, which is a far greater distance to travel, especially during rush hour on the Bay Bridge. Commissioner Goldman stated that at some point in time, the Department must get a better understanding of why the standard is not being met and what should be implemented to meet the standard. Chief Hayes-White responded that she looks forward to a model in which the Department would have dynamically deployed units, which she believed would have a positive impact on achieving the standard. Furthermore, the Chief suggested that Commissioners submit a list to the Secretary, in advance of Commission Meetings, that would include information beyond what is presented to the Mayor through SFStat.






Commissioner Goldman identified some further statistical changes where explanations would be most helpful. He also understood the Chief’s desire for dynamic deployment to resolve some response issues. He reiterated that he wished information to be able to understand where the Department’s system is at this point in time and where resources are being used.






In closing, Chief Hayes-White reiterated that she wished to have direction from the Secretary as regards what specifically the Commission wished to see in future SFStat reports since it was more than was being presented to the Mayor.









Fred Sanchez, Deputy Chief, Operations, informed the Commission that he had added more information to his report, including CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) data. He started with the Greater Alarm Report, noting that there had been (1)$1.5 million property damage; (2) $152,000 content damage; and (3) zero exposure damage, indicating that the greater alarms were contained to the building of origin. There were civilian injuries from a natural gas explosion, minor firefighter injuries, and 66 civilians were displaced due to the fires being in high occupancy residences.






In regards to brown-outs, Chief Sanchez stated that he had asked Division Chiefs to report on all fires, so that the impact of the brown-outs could be better measured. He discussed individual fires, such as the Larkin Street third-alarm fire, which was a high occupancy residence. Engine 2, located at Broadway and Polk, was browned-out, which caused some delay in getting water to the first engine company. Units responding from some distance away caused an obvious ripple effect in that part of the city. Fortunately, the Larkin Street fire was contained to the floor of origin. Another aspect that assisted in the containment of the fire is the Department’s use of three safety officers, including Assistant Deputy Chief Siragusa, Director of Training.






Chief Sanchez provided a further example of the possible impact of brown-outs, when at the 778 Lakeview fire, due to first and second responding engines being on a medical call and returning from a call, respectively, Truck 15 was the next responding unit but no engine came to the scene for seven minutes and seven seconds. The Larkin and Lakeview fires occurred within a short period of each other and delays were created because of the amount of units needed to cover a third alarm, going to a modified assignment status, and the number of browned-out units.






Chief Hayes-White added that she would be interested to ask for an analysis whether the first and second responding engines were on medical calls or out of the area due to the third alarm and/or the brown-outs.






In closing, Chief Sanchez informed the Commission that the Department has been emphasizing vehicle operation rules, that is, slowing the speed of apparatus responding to calls. To this end, the Department’s accident rate has declined and significant savings have been realized in the amount paid out for claims since Chief Hayes-White assumed office. The amount in claims for calendar year 2003 was $1.49 million, including $750,000 for an incident occurring in 1998, and for 2004 it dropped to $340,000.






Furthermore, Chief Sanchez noted that the significant changes have taken place in the Department related to safety of members on the fire ground. He wished to emphasize the Chief’s, his and the Administration’s appreciation for members being in full compliance regarding full turnouts. He added that it had been implemented in the past but full adherence only came with Chief Hayes-White’s insistence. The other aspect that has brought about the change has been the diligence of Chief Siragusa in ensuring that drills take place and his efforts to make the drills innovative.






Discussion ensued with Commissioners asking questions and Chief Sanchez responding. Commissioner Conroy asked about the deployment of firefighters at the fire scene with one and two engines arriving.






Furthermore, Commissioner Conroy referred to a decision of the Commission at the February 24th meeting to transmit to the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor objective reports regarding the impact of brown-outs and asked Chief Sanchez to provide the summaries. Chief Sanchez confirmed that he would provide the reports with an executive summary.






Commissioner Nakajo expressed his appreciation for the level and quality of the reports being provided by Chief Hayes-White, Chief Sanchez and the rest of the command staff since he and the other Commissioners were greatly concerned by the effects of the brown-outs. Of greater concern to him were the number of projected retirements for this fiscal year and even the greater number for next year. Commissioner Nakajo was aware that the Department was already 30 to 35 members short and was concerned about backfilling and overtime. He was, also, aware that the new EMS configuration will need new members but he believed that there was also a need for more H2 Firefighters.






Commissioner Goldman asked about CAD dispatch sheet and the use of various terms, namely, which one indicates arrival on scene. Chief Sanchez explained the terminology on the sheet.









Glenn Ortiz-Schuldt, Assistant Deputy Chief, EMS, reported that during the month of February there was an average of 23 ALS engines deployed each day. This number is lower due to the switch-over to 31-day tour which caused disparities in the number of paramedics available each day. Regarding response time, he noted that there had been a significant improvement in all response times in Battalion 10.






Furthermore, ten IMS (Incident Management System) reports, formerly known as UOs (Unusual Occurrences), were open in February, with five being relatively minor incidents. Two were recognized as sentinel events, that is, they impacted patient care and they are under investigation; the other two were generated internally through staff audits. Eleven cases were closed in January.






In closing, Chief Ortiz-Schuldt stated that during January, the Division of Training conducted CPR and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) training required for every paramedic. The amount of training hours was 4,402 - impressive by any standard.






Chief Ortiz-Schuldt acknowledged John Brown, M.D., Director, EMSA, and thanked him for agreeing to periodically attend Commission meetings at the invitation of the Department. President Conroy inquired if Dr. Brown wished to address the Commission.






Dr. Brown wished to address and provide some background on response intervals, which were earlier under discussion. In 2000, the EMS Directors Association of California provided a recommendation for EMS intervals for EMS service throughout the state: (1) five minutes total time to patient’s side for a defibrillator, including dispatch time and response interval; (2) 10 minutes to patient’s side of a paramedic or ALS unit; and 12 minutes to patient’s side with a transportation unit. In San Francisco, due to separate dispatch and response agencies, all Code 3 calls have a two minute requirement for dispatch and four and a half minutes for responding agency for first defibrillator, seven minutes for first ALS unit and 10 minutes for transport unit. He pointed out that these times are for the 90th percentile measurements, that is, not averages nor a 100 %.






Dr. Brown pointed out that the above-mentioned response intervals are only for one component of the EMS response, that is, for life threatening emergencies, such as cardiac arrest or respiratory failure, and comprise only one to two percent of all calls. He believed that dynamic deployment will help lower response intervals in some areas, especially during peak periods.






Dr. Brown suggested that lowering response interval should be a multi-pronged approach. Work is underway to place defibrillators in the Unified School District and in mass gatherings to be used by trained people.






Commissioner Conroy wanted to know when the response interval actually starts. Dr. Brown responded that it begins with the first telephone ring at the dispatch center after the 911 call is placed and ends when the defibrillator is at the patient’s side. Chief Hayes-White wished to know if the San Francisco standard was the most stringent in the state. Dr. Brown responded that it was and San Francisco, as compared to other urban areas, was doing very well.






Commissioner Fernandez-Pifer wished to know if the budget that she had requested numerous times was yet fully developed and, if so, when a copy would be available. Chief Massetani responded that the initial budget figures had been reviewed and approved by the Controller. The preliminary budget is being finalized and should be completed in a week from this meeting. Commissioner Conroy intervened and requested that the budget be transmitted to the Commission for their review as soon as possible, as well as any other written material pertinent to the adoption of the EMS Reconfiguration.






Furthermore, Commissioner Fernandez-Pifer wished to know if the budget for the EMS Reconfiguration had been included as part of the submittal of the Department’s budget. Chief Massetani responded that it had not been included because the new classifications had not been identified. He declared that should the Commission approve the Reconfiguration, the Department has estimated that there will be savings of approximately $2 to $3 million and hopes that these can be used for the target reductions. Chief Hayes-White reminded the Commission that even with the initial budget submitted on schedule for the first time in a number of years, negotiations will commence between now and June 1st when the Mayor’s Budget must be submitted to the Board of Supervisors.






Commissioner Goldman asked Dr. Brown that he is still lacking information prior to the March 24th meeting that answer the questions he asked a number of times, namely: (1) what information does the Commission actually have to determine the necessary resources in the community; and (2) where do the resources get placed by the Department. Furthermore, he asked Dr. Brown if the other communities that are using different standards and time intervals, are including dispatch time. Dr. Brown responded in the affirmative noting that other agencies break it down differently according to the dispatch system they use. Further discussion ensued between Dr. Brown and Commissioner Goldman on establishing and measuring response times.






Commissioner Goldman, in referring to the lowered response times in Battalion 10, asked Chief Hayes-White if this was due to the concern expressed by the Commission. Chief Hayes-White responded that that had been a factor but that she had been concerned about this for a considerable time and it had come up at SFStat and the Mayor’s Office had requested a review. The Department assigned the H1 ambulance units into that area; they had previously been downtown and had also covered Station 33’s area when it was closed.





President Conroy thanked Dr. Brown for his attendance at the meeting and for his informative discussion.






President Conroy directed that the report be accepted and incorporated in the minutes of today’s meeting.






Fire Commission Resolution 05-3   [Action]






Submitted for adoption Resolution No. 05-3 accepting donation of $15,000 from Air Rescue Systems, Inc., to install and train San Francisco firefighters on a self-contained breathing replenishment system.






Commissioner Goldman moved and Commissioner Clarke seconded. There were no questions or discussion and Resolution No. 05-3 was adopted.












Shon Buford, introduced himself to the Commission as a new member of the Board of Directors, San Francisco Firefighters Local 798. He thanked the Commission for their hard work and looked forward to working with the Commission in the future.












There being no further business to come before the Commission, the meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m.















Tania Bauer








Last updated: 1/29/2014 1:57:03 PM