••• Janice Kosel’s Statement •••



Director of the Kensington Fire Protection District since 1994. During this time the District has:

Been fiscally responsible:

            Contracted with El Cerrito to provide services, thereby becoming one of the lowest cost fire departments in the Bay Area

            Fully funded its pension and health insurance obligations to retirees

            Funded by yearly set-asides replacement of outdated fire equipment with state-of-the-art fire fighting apparatus, maintaining our insurance fire safety rating

Initiated projects to improve community safety:

            Added 33 new hydrants and 8000+ feet of new pipe, which also improved our insurance fire safety rating

            Bought a drone that can monitor fire and other emergency incidents

            Purchased from dedicated funds at $592,100 a new engine, suitable for navigating our streets and wildland interface

            Established CERT emergency response training and funded emergency supply sheds throughout the community

            Established an automatic aid agreement with Berkeley Fire

            Cooperated with other local agencies, such as East Bay Regional Park District and the Diablo Fire Safe Council

            Initiated the first engine-based paramedic program in West County and staffs at least one trained paramedic on each shift

            Mails bi-annual newsletters which include safety information

            Established grants to homeowners who remove hazardous vegetation and replant fire-safe gardens

            Developing a fire-safe-yet-attractive demonstration garden in Kensington Park

Established additional community services:

            The popular semi-annual community shredding event and pharmaceutical drop-off

         Installed infant car seats in automobiles and smoke alarms in the homes of seniors

            Regularly conducts CERT, first aid and CPR training for residents



Fiction:  The District entered into a bad contract with the City of El Cerrito.

Fact:  In 1995 the District entered into a contract with the City of El Cerrito to staff its fire station.  The District continues to own the Public Safety Building and supply all necessary equipment such as engines.  Under the agreement, the District pays the City 27.75 per cent of personnel costs although it has one-third of station personnel.  The District operates one of the lowest cost fire stations in the bay area.  See https://www.kensingtonfire.org/revenue-and-expenditures-2016-17


Fiction:  The District has an unreasonably slow response time.

Fact:  The District’s response time in the last 12 months is an average of 5.03 minutes.  Its median response time is 4.50 minutes.  The District’s response time is one of the fastest in Contra Costa County.  The national standard is a response time of six minutes or less.

Fiction:  The District has no emergency plan.

Fact:  The District has a comprehensive emergency plan developed in conjunction with the City of El Cerrito.  The plan was adopted in 2001, subsequently updated in 2007 and 2009 and is scheduled for a review and update in 2019.

The District has sent out many mailers to Kensington residents including a copy of Ready, Set, Go! an emergency preparedness pamphlet, a Kensington community evacuation planning tool, and many safety tips and opportunities for training to every household in Kensington.

In the event of an emergency, residents will be notified by both the County and the District.  To sign up for notifications by mobile or landline phone, text or email go to http://www.cococws.us/

Fiction:  The District is completely unprepared for a wildland fire coming out of Tilden Park.

Fact:  The District made significant water system improvements to provide enough water for our engines to fight a major fire.  It has purchased engines specifically designed for the wildland interface.  The District works cooperatively with the East Bay Regional Park District to reduce their fuel load.  It also coordinates with residents to provide a fire break on the ridge.

All of Kensington is designated a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.  The District has a robust vegetation management program and the community is inspected annually to ensure compliance with vegetation management standards.  The District is developing a demonstration garden in Kensington Park to educate community members about fire-resistant plants.  It has a program of grants to encourage fire-resistant landscaping.

If you want to learn more about the KFPD, go to www.kensingtonfire.org