January 24, 2020
Local 3631 Members:
Last night the Orange County Fire Authority JPA Board of Directors held their monthly meeting and one of the items on the Agenda was an update on the transition in the City of Placentia from the OCFA to the creation of their own Placentia Fire Department that is scheduled to take place on July 1, 2020.
We want to thank all of our Orange County Firefighters who took the time to attend this critical meeting and discussion. At least 40 of our members joined our entire Local 3631 Executive Board at the meeting and it made a big impact on the OCFA Board of Directors.
Local 3631 President Tim Steging gave public comments on the Placentia agenda item raising serious concerns regarding the safety of not only of the residents of Placentia with the establishment of a new, inexperienced, and poorly trained fire department, but also the public safety impact that this transition will have on the professional Firefighters from the OCFA and other cities surrounding Placentia including the Fullerton and Anaheim Firefighters.
President Steging’s concerns were echoed in a letter that was just released earlier this week written by the President of the California Fire Chiefs Association (full copy of the letter is attached) which states in part:
“On behalf of CalChiefs members, I write to express our grave concerns for community and firefighter safety as a result of what we understand to be the City of Placentia’s proposed deployment model in the new fire department.”
“With resource and staffing level reductions, Placentia will not be able to ensure firefighter safety and adequate response with its new department to serve its citizens.”
“These decisions and plans put firefighters and the citizens they serve in greater danger, a risk burden that will be borne by neighboring departments who are being asked to deliver mutual aid support to Placentia.”
CPF President also addresses this issue in their monthly newsletter found here: https://www.cpfnewspaper.org/presidents-perspective-2020-1
Over the next couple of months, the Orange County Professional Firefighters will be ramping up our public information campaign in the City of Placentia – whose residents will be punished and their public safety will be put at risk due to no fault of their own.
Local 3631 will continue this fight to do everything possible to highlight the serious problems with this transition. Thankfully, at last night’s OCFA Board Meeting, every single Board Member who spoke up on the issue raised similar concerns about the negative impact that Placentia’s actions will have on public safety throughout Orange County. These Board Members – who represent the other cities that receive service from the OCFA – expressed the value of the service that their constituents receive from our professional firefighters and they understand the dangerous consequences that this reckless decision that was made by THREE Placentia City Councilmembers will have on public safety throughout Orange County.
We will keep you posted as things move forward and, most importantly, we want to once again express our sincere gratitude to all of our members who took time away from their families to join us last night at this critical meeting. Your presence made a difference.
Orange County Professional Firefighters
IAFF Local 3631