Item Coversheet
Agenda Item







The City Council is asked to provide direction to staff to negotiate with Alameda County Fire Department to amend the Fire Service Contract and prepare a Closure Plan for Fire Station 30.


The City Council’s Fiscal Stability Committee recommended a fire service technical consultant be hired to evaluate the delivery of fire services in Union City.  The City Manager authorized entering into a contract with the Center for Public Safety Management (CPSM) to evaluate the delivery of fire services in Union City.  The City Council was informed through a staff report delivered at the October 9, 2018 meeting that CPSM was under contract to conduct an evaluation of fire services in Union City.


Public outreach on the potential of closing Fire Station 30 began with a public survey in April 2019.  A copy of the survey questions is attached to the staff report.  The potential of closing Fire Station 30 was discussed throughout the City budget process.


The purpose of this City Manager Report is to transmit the finding and recommendations of CPSM.  CPSM is the exclusive provider of public safety technical assistance for the International City/County Management Association.  CPSM has conducted 315 public safety technical studies in 42 states and serves 220 communities.  


The data utilized by CPSM is based on Alameda County Fire Department calls for service through the four contracted fire stations in Union City, October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018, as recorded in the Alameda County Regional Dispatch Center’s computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system and the Alameda County Fire Department’s Nation Fire Incident Reporting System (NIFRS).


Attached to the staff report is the CPSM Fire Services Analysis Report, Union City, California.  The report includes a “Recommendations and Considerations Summary Report” followed by a detailed technical report.


Alameda County Fire Department commissioned CityGate Associates, LLC to perform a Standards of Coverage Review of all fire stations operated or under contract by the department.  The study was published September 1, 2017 and is attached to this staff report: Volume 1 summarizes the findings and recommendations; Volume 2 is the Technical Report; and Volume 3 is the Map Atlas. 


The CityGate Study states in the introduction: “As County leadership and Fire Department executive management understand, there are no mandatory federal or state regulations directing the level of fire service response times and outcomes delivered by the Department. The level of service and resultant costs are a local community choice in the United States.”


CPSM reviewed the CityGate Associates, LLC, 2017 Stands of Coverage Analysis.


Alameda County Fire Department commissioned CityGate to update Union City data in its 2017 Standards of Coverage Analysis and to work with the County Fire Department on a July 16, 2019 presentation.


CPSM provides a detailed analysis on why keeping Fire Station 30 open is not an efficient use of public resources.  Fire Station 30 could close and the remaining three stations would provide acceptable levels of service to the residents of Union City.


  • The urbanized area of Union City is approximately 9 square miles. Excluding hillsides and wetlands, the average service area for each of the existing four fire stations is approximately 2.25 square miles.  


  • With the closure of Fire Station 30 the average service area per station would be 3.0 square miles.


  • The Insurance Services Office (ISO) recommends a fire station be located where the first responding fire company can travel within a 1.5 mile travel distance. The service area needed to accommodate a 1.5 mile travel distance would be 4.5 square miles in size.  Union City meets the ISO objective with the closure of Fire Station 30.   The majority of the Fire Station 30 service area is located within 1.5 miles from Fire Station 32 with only a small area being 1.9 miles away.


  • A FY 2011 International City/County Management Association (ICMA) Data Report, ICMA tabulated survey information from 34 municipalities with populations greater than 100,000 people. In this grouping the average fire station service area was 13.1 square miles. The median service area for this grouping was 7.17 square miles per fire station.  The service area for Union City’s fire stations is much small than the ICMA comparison cities.


  • The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends fire stations be placed in a location to meet a 4 minute travel time from a fire station to the incident.  With the closure of Station 30, only 238 calls for service would be outside that travel time from Station 32, and 237 calls would still be under 6 minutes.  One call would be six to eight minutes.


  • For a cost of $68,000 the City could upgrade its Opticon traffic light readers to the new generation traffic control devices which could reduce response times by as much as 25%.


  • Many cities are equipping police patrol cars with Automatic Electronic Defibrillators (AED’s) to provide police officers additional tools to respond to cardiac arrest. For a cost of roughly $46,000 the City could outfit its Union City Police Department patrol cars with AED’s to provide police officers. Union City Police Department provides first aid/AED training every two years for its police officers.  Police cars are on patrol and depending on the location of the medical emergency, respond to a call faster than the Fire Department. Patrol cars can maneuver through traffic at a greater efficiency than fire trucks. 


  • Station 30 is poorly located for Union City, 22% of its calls for service are to Newark. 


  • Station 30 handles 1.7 runs per day with a total deployed time of 33.2 minutes per day. 


  • Stations 31, 32, and 33 runs range from 4.7 to 5.4 runs per day with a total deployed time of 96.7 to 102.1 minutes a day.


  • Closing Station 30 would increase Station 32’s calls for service to 6.5 calls per day.


  • Station 30 is located near the boundary of the Fremont city limits.  Most of the land surrounding Station 30 within Union City are in the flood plain, owned by public agencies, and are undevelopable. There is minimal opportunity for new urban growth in the Station 30 service area, whereas the other three fire stations will experience significant urban growth in the future.


  • There were 6,558 service runs dispatched from the four Union City fire stations during the one year survey period, 636 runs were dispatched from Fire Station 30, less than 10 percent of the Union City calls for service. 


  • Closing Station 30 would save approximately $3.2 million dollars annually.


Staff estimates that closure of Fire Station 30 will reduce expenditures from the General Fund by $3.2 million a year.


Staff recommends that the City Council provide direction to staff to negotiate with the Alameda County Fire Department to amend the Fire Contract and prepare a Closure Plan for Fire Station 30.

Prepared by:

Mark Evanoff, Deputy City Manager Mark Carlson, Finance Director

Submitted by:

Mark Evanoff, Deputy City Manager
CPSM Fire Services Analysis Report, Union City, CaliforniaAttachment
Survey Question on Fire ClosurerAttachment
CityGate Standards of Coverage Review Executive SummaryAttachment
CityGate Standards of Coverage Review Techncial ReportAttachment
CityGate Standards of Coverage Review Map AtlasAttachment
CityGate Draft Report w Cover LetterAttachment
Power PointAttachment
Written Public CommentAttachment