City/UCSC Fire Agreement:
Coordinating for a Safer Community
Recently, you may have noticed something new on the streets of Santa Cruz. Why are University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) fire crews responding to emergency calls in the City, you ask? Addressing the need to do more with less in these tough economic times, the City and UCSC Fire Departments have joined forces to provide coordinated emergency response services to the community in a two-year pilot agreement. As a combined fire service consisting of 72 full-time firefighters, supervisors and managers and 50 summer lifeguards, the City and UCSC are providing greater public safety resources at a lower cost to the tax-payer.
The relationship between the two agencies has strengthened over the past few years as firefighters from the City and UCSC trained together and responded to calls for service in each other’s jurisdiction. The retirement of City Fire Chief Ron Oliver in 2011 provided a perfect opportunity to explore a joint venture. Following months of close deliberations, the two sides agreed that a joint fire service serves the best interest of the two agencies and the public.
As joint Fire Chief Jeff Trapp notes, “it’s exciting to explore how the two departments can work together more effectively and provide a high level of service to our community in the challenging financial climate that we work in. This is a good example of the type of actions our community expects of government.”
The City and UCSC will continue to work together over the next 12 months to explore further consolidation of fire services. With the early successes of the fire agreement, the City and UCSC are energized to seek other opportunities to work together to best serve our community.