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Fire Department Switch Dispatch Services

Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department will now have its emergency communication and dispatch services from the Alameda County Regional Communications Center at the Livermore lab.

Here's information provided by the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department:

On July 31, 2012, the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department (LPFD) moved its emergency communications and dispatch services from the to the Alameda County Regional Communications Center ACRECC) located at the .

When the cities of Livermore and Pleasanton combined their fire services in 1996, the Livermore Police Department became the dispatch center for the LPFD. Since then, the LPFD has enjoyed excellent service levels from that dispatch center.

Increasing call volume, build out of the cities towards their borders, and an increased use of interagency resources to provide the most effective response possible has caused the LPFD and Alameda County Fire Departments to frequently operate across jurisdictional boundaries.

At the same time, the Alameda County ambulance provider to the Livermore-Pleasanton region, Paramedics Plus, is now being dispatched by ACRECC. Between the inter-agency responses, and the ambulance dispatches, over 75 percent of the LPFD’s calls are already passing through ACRECC dispatch, though the LPFD and ACRECC agencies are often left on different radio channels interacting with separate communications centers to maintain contact with the centers that monitor their status and provide information to them.

Moving the LPFD to a common dispatch center with Alameda County Fire, Paramedics Plus and other partner agencies will allow first responders to be on the same radio channel with a common dispatch center throughout an emergency response. Monitoring the status and location of the regional fire resources in one dispatch center will allow agencies the ability to send the closest, most appropriate resource to emergency calls.

ACRECC is a multi-agency fire and EMS specific communications center located in Livermore, at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. ACRECC dispatches, and thus has common communications and direct resource status knowledge of the following agencies: Alameda City Fire Department, Alameda County Fire Department (covering Berkeley National Laboratory, Castro Valley, Dublin, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Newark, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, Union City, and unincorporated Alameda County), Camp Parks Fire Department, Fremont Fire Department, and Paramedics Plus. ACRECC is an Accredited Center of Excellence by the National Academies of Emergency Dispatch and is National Fire Protection Agency 1221 compliant.

In case of an emergency, dialing 911 will continue to work as it always has. 911 should continue to be used as it has in the past. The call will ring first at the appropriate law enforcement dispatch center to determine the call type, then will be transferred to ACRECC for fire department and/or ambulance
services. Members of the public wishing to reach the LPFD Dispatch Center for non-emergency calls should dial 925-447-4257.

On Monday, June 11, 2012, the Livermore City Council voted to authorize the City Manager to enter into a contract with ACRECC to provide dispatch services for the LPFD by a 5-0 vote. On Tuesday, June 19, a similar resolution was passed by the Pleasanton City Council. With that direction from the City Councils, the LPFD and ACRECC made this move at 8:30 a.m. on July 31, 2012. The transition went smoothly and without service disruption.

Cin August 02, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Seems like if there is a lag time between the transfer of calls, someone could be in trouble.
damandamyth August 02, 2012 at 07:16 PM
it will not create lag time because 911 is answered by a chp call center and routed to the appropriate agency.
Yrngtmr August 02, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Actually, that's not true any more. Cellular 911 calls are now routed to the nearest public safety answering point, based on cell tower location. Sometimes it will be CHP, but more likely, you will get your local agency.
Roger V. Tranfaglia August 03, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Now we need an emergency hospital located here in the Tri-Valley!
CitizenX August 03, 2012 at 04:20 PM
The city's next step should be to consolidate with the county fire department all together and save us tax payers some money by eliminating the redundant positions that Lpfd has. Like the article says 911 will continue to work like it always has. "big red fire truck showing up if I have an emergency" I don't care what the name on the door is.
Local August 03, 2012 at 04:33 PM
We have one, Valley Care in Pleasanton!
Switch August 03, 2012 at 04:47 PM
This in incorrect. In our valley all cellular calls are routed to CHP in Vallejo first. You can see for your self by dialing 911 from your cell phone and tell Vallejo CHP you just wanted to know how the system works. They are very polite and they deal with this type of thing all the time.
Betsy August 03, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Actually Switch the previous post is indeed correct. For several years now Pleasanton and many other local agencies have taken on their own 911 calls. We still work closely with CHP for those freeway accidents, drunk drivers and reckless drivers exiting into local cities but with all the cellular phones out there it was far too big a burden for CHP alone. In fact with all the cell misdials its quite a burden for the cities as well! I know- I answer many a call per shift. The public will not notice a change, and if they do it will be for the better! Good luck ACCREC.
Switch August 03, 2012 at 05:49 PM
How would you qualify "redundant"? Their operational model is a skeleton in comparison to any regional agency. Why would you want to contract with an agency that has the bulk of its resources so far away from you they are pointless. Use some deductive reasoning. Do you think most of your money will be spent on you if you if you do that? NO it will go to fund the service of people who are using the system and not paying for it If Livermore contracts with ALCO it is a very different relationship. Alameda County does not care if your city is in financial ruin, "So sorry...PAY ME". There is no " We Need Some Back " clause. "We would like more service in our city, we would like to build another fire station here," No, your needs are being met" "Here's a good one, Administrative fees." If you contract with ALCO fire they charge fees (big ones) for people that already exist for the obligation of doing business of doing business. If their HQ is in San Leandro do not think for a second they will care if you have an issue with about the way YOUR fire service is provided. They will not even know where you are calling from. Right now you can call YOUR fire chief or your elected official and tell them you want a service call, a station tour, a sit down meeting and you will get it! In the end just because you do not know the quality and value of the service being provided to you doesn't mean it is not there. It is so much more then the name on the door.
JoAnne August 03, 2012 at 06:08 PM
While a 911 operator is answering a phone system question, what happens to the caller who needs help? Perhaps there is a better way to retrieve information about the phone system! As someone who was put on hold when dialing 911, it is distressing to hear that the operators are taking time out to politely answer calls about the phone system. Switch, please consider directing readers to another resource for phone information.
CitizenX August 03, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Wow switch you got your facts wrong ? Last time I checked alameda county provides service for 5 of the 14 cities in alameda County about 1/3 , and it provides service for the Livermore Lab ( the single largest employer in the city). Wow all those cities must be dumb, we're smarter here in Livermore
Switch August 04, 2012 at 07:59 PM
By your tone it sounds like you need an apology I’m sorry, I was wrong. It happens all the time. The 5 ALCO stations in the Valley, 4 in Dublin, 1 in Livermore, and one in LLNL all run 2758 in 2012. 2758/5= 551.6 LPFD 10782/10 emergency responses in 2009, 10782/10= 1078.2 The 10 stations SRV had 7713 in 2009, 7713/10= 771.3 I feel my question remains unanswered what is redundant here? My perspective is not that ALCO is not large, it is. There are five ALCO fire stations here in the Valley. Yet a contracting with ALCO fire means I pay for ALL of their services and like you said most of which are nowhere near our city. I hold no value in services that I pay for and will not receive. How long would I have to wait for units responding from Castro Valley and beyond? The County standard is 5 minutes 90% of the time. ALCO fire cannot bring the vast majority of its resources to bear into the valley and rightfully so. They have other contracts they have to honor. Our fire department has mutual aid contracts with ALCO. As it stands you have your own fire department and if you need a greater set of resources they will be extended to you without cost. The LLNL is also large. But ALCO fire’s contract with the DOE requires that they shall not extend more than one unit off the premises, they retain the right to deny a service request. I am not comfortable with emergency service I MIGHT get. The meta-issue for me is cost vs. value. I don't mind paying for quality/available service.
Switch August 04, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Forgive my ignorance. Perhaps my information is outdated I'll look into it. How does the phone system know where to route a non grounded cell call. My understanding of digital cellular transmission is that it uses multiple cell sights in concert to move data. I was told it is not possible to pinpoint where the call originated. Causally there can only be a single point of reception for any cell call. Good luck in deed if ACCREC fields 35K calls a year and LPFD runs 13K then in this one change they have just increased their workload by 33.3% with no increase in staffing. This should be interesting.
Jake August 06, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Have you noticed the Station on College is closed. They closed it and moved staffing to retain the service contract for the LLNL and try to keep hold of what areas they have left outside the city. That rig is now responding out of the LAB. REMEMBER that, they respond to the areas outside the City, thats why they are called A County Fire Department. Livermore and Pleasanton need to keep control of the Fire Departments local. The LPFD does not have a response time problem here. Remember they gave up a FF on Engines to reopen the Airport Firehouse.
CitizenX August 06, 2012 at 07:31 PM
“You pay for all of their services" what does that mean? Doesn’t each city determine its own level of service? Therefore how much it’s willing to pay (its contract) LPFD’s budget is over 28 million. “Most of their resources are nowhere near our city "?  Why than would we enter into an agreement for dispatching services, the cities own web site states the following "Jurisdictional lines are de-emphasized in favor of faster responses when there is a fire engine from either agency in a better position to handle a call quickly. If services were contracted wouldn’t that mean all fire engines  from castro valley , dublin ,lab, livermore pleasanton all would  be part of the county and be under the same communications center therefore increasing the efficiency and distribution of fire engine’s when peak times arise, would they not send fire engines if they were needed to the valley ? Quality vs. availability. City of Livermore press release: Move will allow more efficient responses with other fire departments. I’ve read that consolidating services can save a city 10% from its operating budget, just saying it’s something to look at? No?  
Joseph Robiillard August 07, 2012 at 03:28 PM
Do not listen to the user "switch". Calling 911 to ask how the system works, will not be received well by dispatchers, and could actually lead to criminal charges.
Switch August 09, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Part 2: “City of Livermore press release: Move will allow more efficient responses with other fire departments. “ Laughable!! They did not say that Livermore will be the beneficiary. In January ACCREC will switch to “AVL” dispatching. This means that GPS locator on all LPFD/ALCO vehicles and dispatch will assign calls to whoever is closer. Sounds great until you realize that they people you are in collaboration with are already understaffed. If it has not dawned on you yet that ALCO is not motivated by quality but funding it should. ALCO bring little to the table and require the LPFD to do what is morally correct. …increasing the efficiency and distribution of fire engines when peak times arise, would they not send fire engines if they were needed to the valley? 2 things here: 1 the LPFD makes their response time annually. ALCO cannot. They have responsibilities from the VA hospital to N Flynn Rd and out to Club Moto. They play games with their response times like running one vehicle, a wildland unit out the car crash just to call “on scene”. 2: this already happens. If there is major catastrophe the LPFD has mutual aid contracts to ensure this is a possibility. The 10% you speak of is a sales pitch. Do you believe you really get 10% off when a plumber or contractor puts out an add? No they hide it in their overages or they diminish the value of the services delivered.
Switch August 09, 2012 at 09:23 PM
Part 1: What that means is the contracting city pays for ALL the services they provide not just the ones you will use. (Like paying for 100+ TV channels but only a select few are ones are in a language you can speak.) The department HAS to move to a digital communication platform the likes of which cannot be performed by LPD dispatch. The pinnacle of emergency service delivery is arrival time and quality of service. Units in Castro Valley and San Leandro will not serve you but you will pay for them in line-items like "administrative fees". The eye opener for me was reading the contract that ALCO fire has with Dublin. Dublin has (correction from earlier) 3 stations 16, 17, and 18 (10 personnel per day) which is not enough to safely fight a structure fire. Minimum number of personnel is 15. They also are required by contract to be at an emergency call within 5 min. 90% of the time. This is absolutely impossible. They are marginalizing the safety of the residents for profit. They hide it in the way they account for their resources. They stop the response clock, (the 5min/90% of the time) when the first resources arrives, not the last. Their cost for such “quality” service… nearly half of the LPFD budget. Where is that money going, (hint) It’s not the landscaping. It goes to supplement the staffing for the jurisdictions within ALCO that use more of their resources. So they are paying for services they cannot reasonably expect to receive. Dublin is being robbed.
BayAreaGem August 09, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Actually switch, your numbers are not correct as far as the increase to the ACRECC call volume increase. The number of calls ACRECC answers a year INCLUDE all of the EMS calls that the LPFD runs. All EMS calls the LPFD runs have been transferred to ACRECC for pre-arrival instructions so there is a very minimal increase in call volume. LPFD, as with any FD, has over 90% of their call volume as EMS calls. So the only increase in calls would be service calls, good intent, fires, or haz mat. So the 33.3% increase is far far less. Maybe a 1-2 % increase in call volume! And that is being generous.
CitizenX August 11, 2012 at 04:12 PM
Ok switch let me see if I understand. The Alameda County Fire Department (which runs Acrecc) Is a dishonest deceptive organization with low morals and is motivated by money. ( “Alameda county requires the LPFD to do what is morally correct”) You no your facts?, you sound like an insider. Are you a firefighter let me guess you don’t like the county ok. So if they are such a deceptive dishonest organization why than would the city councils vote 5-0 to work with these people. Why would 1/3 of the incorporated cities of Alameda County use their services. Why would 5 of the 6 unincorporated communities in Alameda County use their services? As for the digital platform I read somewhere that all of the emergencies services in Alameda county and Contra Costa county are going to this. You being an insider surely must know that. No I think you are to emotionally attached. If it could save money for both cities I say look into. Switch I think you will still keep your job you don’t need to worry
Otto August 14, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Jake, you are right the Fire Station on College Ave is closed, as required by the City of Livermore before they would signed on to ACRECC. Seems somebody did not want to see a fire engine respond to City Hall or City Council meetings with a County sign on their door. The agreement also now dispatches the closest fire station to an emergency call regardless of whose name is on the door. Your facts are askew in regards to Lab staffing. The Lab has an engine dedicated to the lab. They have a second engine at the Lab that will work incidents inside the lab and incidents in close proximity outside the lab. The engine from the aforemention closed station on College is also now stationed at the Lab and responds as required to the calls that the College Ave station responded to. Placing the engine from the College Station at the Lab did NOT have anything to do with keeping the contract at the Lab. That new contract was already in place. Lastly as a firefighter yourself you should know better than anyone that the firefighters at ALCO and LPFD are members of the International Association of Fire Fighters Union. That means you are both equal in status and both are highly trained, knowledgable and professional firefighters. There is NO DIFFERENCE in services being provided. No one is worried about "response times" that's your issue. This new agreement will only ensure that "response times" will be better and that the people will get assistance from the CLOSEST fire station
LivermoreNative August 14, 2012 at 06:10 AM
Well said CitizenX and Otto, at least someone has the correct facts.
Otto August 14, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Switch are you and Jake on the same shift? Your rants seem to be based on fear and not facts. Consolidation with ALCO should be looked into by our elected officials. The public has a right to know if they can reduce costs and at the same time keep a high level of service we are accustom too. Isn't that why Livermore & Pleasantion consolidated in the first place? Maybe it is time to see if further costs can be reduced. The consolidation between Livermore and Pleasanton did NOT go well. In the end the Pleasantion fire fighters ended up pretty much back at the Pleasanton Stations and Livermore to theirs. Again your facts are wrong when you state that response times are based on last unit on scene It is based on first unit arrival. Who does LPFD call when they need assistance Yep the next units are ALCO units. Who by the way have the ability to backfill their stations as they are assisting LPFD. Not leaving unmanned stations as LPFD does at times. Are you afraid of ALCO or is it the senority listing that scares the hell out of you? The people only ask for one thing continued great service at a cost we can afford, without a care to who's name is on the door. Citizens of castro Valley, San Leandro, San Loranzo, Newark, Union City, Fremont, City of Alameda, Lawerance Livermore & Berkeley Labs and Emeryville can't be as dumb as you want us to believe! Consolidating communication dispatch has and will continue to save lives by getting the closest unit to the scene.
Juan Valdez August 15, 2012 at 05:30 AM
I rarely comment on debates of this type, but as a retired Fire Capt with 31 years on the job I found that when I began in 1973 we had to be out of the barn within a minute and if we took longer, the Officer had to write a letter explaining why. I retired in 03 and was finding some companies taking more than a minute to respond to Code 3 calls. I know this may not make sense, but you'd be surprised how quickly a fire can grow and if it's you're family there responding to, it would be nice if the Fire personnel responded as if it were one of their family members. El Ruby
Switch August 15, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Otto, firefighter?... enjoyable, perhaps in another life. Though I appreciate that your comments center around a "service delivery" point of view your elected officials and those who make decisions with the ability to close a fire station do not. I'm trying to offer that there are financial motives, morally sad ones, that inspire creating municipal contracts. These contracts have implications that impact the city at a large scale level. LIKE playing with staffing or reducing budgets, or hiding money in line items. You can do the aforementioned in a city department and cannot in a contract. You are aware of this at some level. " Seems somebody did not want to see a fire engine respond to City Hall or City Council meetings with a County sign on their door." (not a service delivery oriented motive) The employees who work, boots-on-the-ground level, firefighters are not the ones responsible for the decisions being made. The people that play games like kids in a sandbox are at a whole different level.
Switch August 15, 2012 at 06:29 PM
IRONY: Thank God someone does. What would this site be like if we had a bunch of people discussing incomplete facts? That rule that requires everyone here to be in full command of the topic on which they speak is in deed pesky. LivermoreNative, lighten up.
Switch August 15, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Otto I'm sorry I can't provide you something here.There is too much you offer that is inconsistent with what I know to be true. Just as a point of reference your assumptions about consolidation are off. It happened about 16 years ago. How may of those people do think are still in a fire department if the average career of an employee is 20 years? The vast majority of employees have to be LPFD hires not just one or the other. Meaning their alligence can't be to one or the other because they were not hired by an individual city. I'll tell you what, just so you know that what you said mattered I'll do what research I can to prove you right and see what I come up with. I'm not going to chase you down with it. It will be a personal thing. Thanks for the chat

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