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Alameda Fire Department to Buy Fire Boat

alameda fire department to buy new fire boat

The Alameda Fire Department wants to spend up to $500,000 to buy a new, fully-equipped, firefighting boat. Pictured is the San Francisco Fire Department’s Phoenix fire fighting boat. (Wikipedia)

The United States Department of Homeland Security has approved a $375,000 port security grant to help the Alameda Fire Department buy a new, fully-equipped, fire boat. The City of Alameda will have to put up $125,000 to match up to 25 percent of a maximum $500,000 purchase price.

The $125,000 is to come from the Fire Departments General Fund Other Maintenance Vehicles account. The department expects maintenance of the boat to cost $8,000 per year over the ten-year expected life of the boat, but it hasn’t yet identified a source for this funding.

According to a department report for the October 2nd Alameda City Council meeting, the Port of Oakland, the United States Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration supported the grant application and “will be critical in the deployment of the boat and training.”

The Alameda Fire Department says that it needs the water-based firefighting capacity to “protect and serve the critical waterfront infrastructure surrounding and adjacent to the island of Alameda,” including the Port of Oakland, the U.S. Coast Guard Alameda base, Oakland International Airport, the USS Hornet museum, the ready reserve fleet at Alameda Point, the estuary and two ferry terminals, and the marinas in Alameda and Oakland.

Two previous fire boats owned by the City of Alameda have been out of service since at least the fall of 2008.

In August, 2010, the San Francisco Fire Department’s Phoenix fire boat, pictured above, responded to a fire at a pier at the former Encinal Terminals site in Alameda, under existing mutual aid agreements.

13 comments to Alameda Fire Department to Buy Fire Boat

  • John Thomson

    Why not share a boat with Oakland? It makes no sense for both Oakland and Alameda to staff and maintain fireboats to basically cover the same area!

  • Marie

    Why not use the money slated for the “anti-terrorist” armored tank the APD has it’s eyes on?

  • Barb

    Let’s put all the firefighters on it, and wish it bon voyage!

  • Pat Berton

    Wow Barb, you are one negative individual. I hope that when you need the services of our emergency responders that they aren’t otherwise engaged in activities.

  • Marie

    The perceived cynicism on the part of commenters here is based on the reality of city employees seeming to beliving beyond their means and generally spending like drunken sailors, without a corresponding zeal to do what is best for the community, rather than themselves. If a household income is slashed, then the family must cut back on expenditures and use their money wisely, same with a city, no? There is a certain amount of arrogance on their part as seen by peasants such as myself.

  • Pat Berton

    So it’s in unrealistic expectation for a city surrounded by water, only way in/out is over a bridge, through a tunnel, has 2,900 private marina slips, a 7 day a week shipyard, 3 deep water ports with 9 ready reserve ships staffed with skeleton crews, floating aircraft museum, 11 yacht clubs, ferry service doesn’t need a fire boat? Really

  • Pat Berton

    Oh yeah, let’s not forget the 2 1/2 miles public shoreline full of people. Here is something else to ponder, the. COA has NO I repeat NO emergency water supply distribution system for critical firefighting after an earthquake or natural disaster. That frivolous item you refer to will be the sole source of water distribution from the bat to the city then to our fire apparatus. But hey, what the heck we don’t need it, we can just call mutual aid from San Francisco and wait until they put there fires out and then come here and help Alameda. Good luck

  • Pat – do you happen to know the status of the Oakland fireboat, Seawolf?

    OFD currently lists it as equipment on it’s website:

    Alameda has a mutual aid agreement with Oakland too.

    And would the money be better spent addressing the water supply problem outlined in this article several years back? How is a fireboat going to help pump water into central Alameda in the event of an earthquake?

  • Marie

    Also, hopefully, the coast guard could help in the event of a large fire.
    The articles David references are very informative.

  • Marie

    Also, I meant no disrespect to drunken sailors.

  • Pat Berton

    When the city of Oakland decided to shut down the fireboat they also closed the fireboat station in Jack London Square, reassigned those personnel through attrition to other stations. Then the city turned the closed fire station into the central office for the EMS administration and storage for bulk EMS equipment & supplies.
    Correct, AFD does have a mutual aid agreement. Every fire department participates in and are a part of the Alameda County Mutual Aid Plan. Not to be confused with Alamdea County Fire just to clarify. As of July 1, 2012 the new fiscal year, the OFD Fire Chief told the AFD Fire Chief that Oakland Fire will be reducing its available resources dedicated to Mutual Aid to Alameda because as of that day OFD is under mandatory station brownout rotation, therefore reducing the resource pool in Oakland to serve its city first.
    Th answer the question about addressing the emergency water supply, I agree 100%, the COA does need to purchase a emergency water supply system. But the prices in 2007 have probably increased and the COA is putting up $125k towards the $500k the boat costs. The federal grant will pay about $383k. Before someone suggests, you can’t just use the grant money for something else. The scope is very specific & closely regulated by the federal government. The COA is definately underprepared when the water system fails in an earthquake. A fire boat will provide the means to pump out if the bay to fire apparatus that then can lay 1000′ foot hose lays of 5″ diameter hose an relay pump to other areas on a limited scope.
    As for the USCG, after the incident on 9/11 the roles, responsibilities, & missions were altered. Where as the USCG used to have fire pumps & deck mounted large diameter water cannons on the bows of their smaller fast attack boats (not the large boats seen across the estuary), they have all been removed and replaced with deck mounted 40, 50, & 60 caliber machine guns under presidential executive order. The USCG has a large pivotal role now as world wide homeland security, drug enforcement, & rescue. The commander of the USCG notified fire agencies of this change as it was implemented. The large ships have never been designed or used as a firefighting tool other than on board their vessel as needed.

  • Pat,

    I don’t think a fireboat and 1,000 feet of hose is going to help put out a fire on, say, Otis Drive.

    And the point about the grant money is that perhaps the COA should be asking for grant money to fix the water supply, instead of grant money for fireboats.

  • Pat Berton

    I agree that the fireboat is not a solution to the whole water supply system. As I said its a limited ability & I also wasn’t clear since I should say relay pumping in succession every 1000′ to carry water farther. I also agree that the COA should pursue grant money if there is one for such an item. Remember, no grant can be submitted without the City Manger signing off on it too. Not to say that if it were a viable option that CM Russo wouldn’t support it.