Operations / Communications Division

Matt Nichols, Operations / Communications Division

The Operations Division is comprised of emergency response personnel and equipment. The daily emergency response staffing for the entire fire district is 20 personnel. This staffing includes one Battalion Chief, four 3-Person Engine Companies, one 3-Person Truck Company and four Paramedic Ambulances.

The District is an “All-Risk” agency, providing a full range of emergency responses services including but not limited to: structural fire suppression, wildland fire suppression, response to hazardous materials incidents, Urban Search and Rescue, water rescue, vehicle disentanglement, mine-tunnel rescue, technical and trench rescue, incident management, and basic and advanced life support emergency medical services.  All properties within the municipal boundaries or the City of Orinda and the Town of Moraga have a rating of “3”.   A rating of “9” is given for the rural areas of Bollinger Canyon and the community of Canyon.

All Moraga-Orinda Fire District emergency response personnel are either Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) or Paramedics. EMT's provide Basic Life Support (BLS). EMT’s interpret signs and symptoms of injury and disease, and determine the appropriate course of treatment. EMT’s are trained to provide Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation, administer oxygen, control bleeding, perform spinal immobilization, splint fractures, as well as any rescue functions needed to free a trapped victim. Paramedics provide Advance Life Support (ALS). A Paramedic is an advanced level of EMT certification. Paramedics must complete an extensive training program to enable them to perform specialized skills and procedures. These skills include advanced airway management, intubations, intravenous therapy, pharmacology and drug administration, cardiac monitoring and defibrillation.

The Truck and Engine companies are staffed with at least one Paramedic, and therefore have the ability to immediately administer ALS pre-hospital emergency medical care upon their arrival. The two ambulances are staffed with two paramedics each and respond along with an engine company to all medical emergencies.

When a medical emergency is reported, the closest engine company is dispatched in conjunction with one of the three District ambulances. The intent is to get the closest available resource to the patient as soon as possible so the appropriate medical treatment can be given. The District strives to provide Advanced Life Support care within 6 minutes of notification, 90% of the time. In addition to our ambulances, the District utilizes the services of private air ambulances (helicopters) to transport severely injured or burned patients to the appropriate Bay-Area hospital.

The Operations Division often provides non-emergency customer service when there is no other public agency or private firm willing or available to assist. The Operations Division also assists the Fire Loss Management Division with public education and information programs designed to prepare the citizens of the District for disasters and other emergency incidents. The Operations Division also conducts routine fire inspections on apartment buildings in the District.

The Special Operations Division is presently administered by the Operations Chief and is responsible for providing highly specialized emergency response services in support of the Districts mission and is comprised of five particular response teams that handle a wide variety of both high-risk and low-frequency type events. The Swift/Still-Water Rescue Team responds to water rescue emergencies. The Trench Rescue Team responds to subterranean collapse or cave-in catastrophes.  These teams are both staffed by personnel within the District.   The Urban Search and Rescue, East Bay Incident Management and Mine-Tunnel Rescue Teams are multi-agency and participate in countywide, statewide and Federal emergency responses.

Presently, the District has a variety of dedicated equipment that the specialized teams utilize. The District’s specialized teams continually drill and train for these types of events ensuring that the Moraga-Orinda Fire District remains a leader within our community, state and across the country.  These specialty teams are not intended as a replacement for first-line Engine and Ladder companies, but rather to complement them.

Moraga-Orinda Fire District will be part of a new East Bay Regional Communications System (EBRCS).  The EBRCS is the 800 MHz, 700 MHz system being designed and developed through a partnership of public safety entities throughout Contra Costa And Alameda Counties.  The purpose of the EBRCS is to assure that public safety agencies can communicate seamlessly with other jurisdictions under emergency conditions as well as every day operations.  Events such as the Oakland Hills Fire and Columbine High School clearly display the problems that arise, and the tragedies that result, when disparate radio systems are the norm.

MOFD Staffing Q & A's