The meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Committee on Monday night was chock-full of community information. Reporter Dan Stork broke his report into two parts. Today: a report on fire staffing levels…
Dave Benfield, the San Bernardino County Fire Division Chief for Zone 5, which includes the Morongo Basin, told the audience at the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council the four county fire stations fields about 7,000 calls for service per year. The great bulk of these are for medical help. He said that the staffing model for the area will change in September, so that each of stations in Yucca Valley, Yucca Mesa-Aberdeen, and Joshua Tree will have one paramedic engine with three personnel and one paramedic ambulance with two personnel, and Wonder Valley will have one paramedic brush patrol with two personnel. The total of 17 personnel on duty at all times represents a gain of two over current staffing. Benfield said that the Morongo Basin, with its huge size, is resource-thin compared to many urban areas, leading to complications in dispatching paramedics and firefighters. Benfield’s presentation was broken up by lively Q&A from the interested audience, touching upon the cost and funding of fire protection, use of volunteers, helicopters, tall buildings, and more. See this story at Z1077fm.com for some of the information imparted.
· There is at least one paramedic on every fire engine.
· The rule that two firefighters must be available outside a structure fire in order for two others to go inside is waived when there are rescues to be made.
· It costs about $1.5 million per year to support a fire station with full-time coverage with a 3-person paramedic engine crew and a 2-person ambulance crew.
· Volunteer firefighter organizations are relatively rare in the western United States; they are largely an eastern phenomenon.
· Funding of fire services lags behind the economic cycle, because it depends largely on property tax collections rather than, say, sales taxes.
· County fire shares one helicopter with the Sheriff’s Department, which is largely devoted to wildland fire service, and is unlikely to be used in residential areas.
· A new ladder truck will come into service locally, in time for protection of the 3-story public housing project in Yucca Valley.
· In the recent fire on I-15, inadequate fire safety procedures were in place.
· Any structure fire that would draw 10-15 firefighting personnel would strain the ability of emergency services in the Morongo Basin to respond to concurrent incidents.
The Yucca Valley Planning Commission will focus on home occupations permits tonight. Managing Editor Tami Roleff checks the agenda…
At tonight’s meeting of the Yucca Valley Planning Commission, the commissioners will hold a public hearing to discuss regulations for home occupations or home-based businesses. The Planning Commission will discuss a number of policy issues related to home based businesses including exemptions from obtaining a permit, hours of operation, prohibited businesses, outdoor storage, approval authority, conducting business activities in the primary structure, accessory structures and in screened outdoor locations, in addition to other standards. The Planning Commission will also hold a public hearing on a request for a variance from set-back requirements for a property at on the north side of Montecello Lane, west of Montecello Road, and is identified as Assessor Parcel Number 596-361-03. In addition, the Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Article 3, General Development Standards, as well as a public hearing on Article 2, Zoning Districts and Development Standards. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the Yucca Room of the Community Center.
April had three scheduled litter clean-ups for the Joshua Tree Clean Team. There were an average of fifteen members for each of the trash cleaning days. Spokesperson Michelle Given said a hearty thank you goes out to Cythnia Heaton, Den Winberry, Steve McCourt, Bob and Mary Stechmann, Frieda Burdette, Ken Schaefer, Clarissa Mitchell, Sylvia White, John Stang, Loretta Simonet, Renee Riley, Bruce Mauhar, Ellen Holden, Gary & Michele Given, Mark Barnes, Adam Gilman, Al Murdy, Cheryl Wolfe, Priscilla McCourt, Glenn Suekiel, Howard Snowden, Ravi Bagga, Brian Scott, Sylvia White and first timer Becky Ronish. Starting in May and continuing in the hot months, the team will be gathering to pick up trash at the new time, from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Tomorrow, the workers will start at Hwy. 62 and the Farmers Market grounds. There will be trash bags, grabber sticks and gloves for all participants. For more information call 760-366-8415.