Measure FF: Emergency Response and Preparedness Parcel Tax
Measure FF provides funding for fire services, emergency response, 9-1-1 communication, hazard mitigation, and wildfire prevention.
About Measure FF
Measure FF provides $8.5 million in funding annually from parcel taxes to pay for fire services, emergency response, 9-1-1 communication, hazard mitigation and wildfire prevention. Berkeley voters passed Measure FF in November 2020 with 74.2% approval. The original ballot question read:
Shall an ordinance enacting a tax at a rate of $0.1047 per square foot of improvements, which is estimated to generate $8.5 million annually for firefighting, emergency medical response, 9-1-1 communications services, hazard mitigation, and wildfire prevention and preparedness, until repealed by the voters, be adopted?
In the 2022 financial year, the City of Berkeley spent $3 million on 11 projects in the areas of disaster preparedness, department operations, emergency medical services, and employee development and training.
Projects June 2021–June 2022
In FY 2022, Berkeley invested $1.5 million to better prepare our community for disasters through three key projects:
- Established a Wildland Urban Interface Division within the Fire Department to focus on improving the City’s preparedness for and resilience to wildfire. This team inspected 8,500 properties (83% more than the previous year) to ensure that they meet City’s requirements for ‘defensible space,’ a buffer between buildings and any combustible materials (such as vegetation).
- Initiated public outreach for the development of a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. This plan will lay out the risks that Berkeley faces from wildfires, and goals and projects to help manage these risks.
- Purchased a city-wide outdoor warning system to assist with emergency notifications. Staff have started the process of identifying 15 locations to install the outdoor speakers.
In FY 2022, $500,000 supported initiatives to help improve department operations:
- Evaluated the Berkeley Emergency Communications Center to understand what improvements are needed to meet the community’s growing needs.
- Analyzed the department’s resources to determine if they are sufficient to meet national standards for call processing and response times.
- Assessed the City’s seven fire stations to provide recommendations for safety improvements.
- Increased the number of personnel trained to respond as Hazardous Materials Specialists and added capacity detect synthetic opiates, including Fentanyl.
- Searched and located a new facility for Fire Department headquarters that is large enough to accommodate the expanding needs of the organization.
Emergency medical services
Berkeley spent $800,000 to improve the quality and efficiency of its emergency medical services:
- Redesigned staffing model to staff ambulances with EMTs and paramedics instead of firefighter paramedics.
- Restructured the emergency medical services division to provide better training, oversight, and administrative support for staff fielding medical emergency calls.
- Initiated recruitment for a new position to manage the Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program.
Employee development and training
An investment of $100,000 went towards improving training to ensure that staff are prepared to respond to emergencies:
- Split off training as a stand-alone division with its own Assistant Fire Chief and additional staff.
- Began the process of search, acquisition, and development of a fire training center.
Management and oversight
The Fire Department manages the emergency response and preparedness projects funded by Measure FF.