Emergency response times in north Orinda rise since sinkhole
By Nick Marnell
Photo Gint Federas
Moraga-Orinda Fire District emergency response times into north Orinda have increased by an average of one minute and 16 seconds since the collapse of a portion of Miner Road on Jan. 11.
Because of the formation of the sinkhole and the road closure, the district adjusted its routing model to effectively handle north Orinda emergency calls in the area primarily north of Miner Road. "And we added an ambulance to Station 43," Fire Chief Stephen Healy said.
The chief responded to a suggestion from a resident for dynamic placement of an ambulance near the road closure while the city repairs the sinkhole. "Most of the Orinda calls are in the downtown area and in the St. Stephens area," Healy said, and the response times would increase for those calls if an ambulance were stationed closer to Miner Road.
According to district records, for the two months prior to the sinkhole, first-responding units arrived at 15 Code 3 north Orinda calls in an average of eight minutes and 33 seconds. For the two months since the sinkhole, first-arriving crews responded to 11 calls in the same area in an average of nine minutes and 49 seconds.
One of the calls in the post-sinkhole time frame included a Feb. 20 response to a car fire in the far western end of north Orinda, on Bobolink Road. Because the first due responding unit from Fire Station 45 was on an emergency medical call, the crew from Station 43 ran the call and took more than 12 minutes to arrive. The car fire turned out to be a false alarm.
Comparing the arrival of first-responding units to the scene of all Orinda emergency calls of February 2016 to February of this year, average response time increased 24 seconds in 2017 to nine minutes and 17 seconds. For Moraga, average response time decreased 10 seconds between the same periods to six minutes and six seconds.