Friday, August 31, 2007

Santa Cruz County Fire (County Service Area 48)
FACT SHEET – Fire and Emergency Medical Response Ballot Measure

Santa Cruz County Fire protects the communities of Bonny Doon, Davenport, Summit/Loma Prieta, South Skyline and Corralitos. Currently, during high fire danger season (June through October), California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL-FIRE) is responsible for staffing seven fire stations in these communities. Outside of high fire season, three stations are closed and Santa Cruz County Fire keeps four stations open.

• Increased funding from a ballot measure is required to keep these four paid stations open and fully staffed with professional career firefighters year-round.

• If nothing is done, we face cutbacks in trained emergency responders and/or closure of some local fire stations from November through May.

• Local volunteer firefighters also rely heavily on Santa Cruz County Fire for training, tools and equipment, and also face funding cuts if nothing is done.

• The ballot measure is required to maintain efficient, effective rapid response in a fire or medical emergency year-round.

• The County is considering a ballot measure that would assess homeowners $8.99/month more per single-family residential property for Santa Cruz County Fire. All funds raised by the measure would remain in local communities and could only be used to ensure and directly support fire protection and emergency medical response.

Potential impacts of budget cuts if there is no increase in funding for Santa Cruz County Fire:

• If fire stations close due to personnel cuts, response times in a fire or medical emergency could increase by anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on your location.

• The first minutes are most important in an emergency. Cutting back firefighters and emergency medical responders, or closing some stations that serve our area, will affect life and death situations.

• Homeowner insurance premiums may also increase significantly.

• Without additional funding, aging fire engines and equipment will not be upgraded to ensure our firefighters have safe and operational equipment they can trust in an emergency.

• Without a ballot measure, volunteers face cuts in funding for equipment, lifesaving tools, training, emergency communications and fire truck maintenance and operation