Newport Beach City Manager Update: NB Fire Department Award, CERT Classes

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Grace Leung

By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

It is my honor to congratulate the Newport Beach Fire Department for earning a prestigious recognition from the Insurance Services Office, a classification shared by only about one percent of the top fire departments nationwide.

This is an extraordinary accomplishment that reflects the NBFD’s dedication to the highest level of fire protection and commitment to the safety and well-being of Newport Beach residents.

The ISO informed the City this week that the NBFD has earned a Class 1 rating under its national Public Protection Classification program, which recognizes excellence among fire service agencies. The ISO is a rating and analytics organization for the property insurance industry, which uses the PPC to help set insurance rates.

The comprehensive assessment evaluates fire departments in such areas as water systems, communications, staffing, deployment, equipment, response times, training, public education, prevention, fire investigations and more. As an advisor to the insurance industry, the ISO looks closely at departments’ fire mitigation efforts to help predict future fire losses.

The Class 1 recognition places Newport Beach in an elite category, with only 1.3 percent of fire departments nationwide achieving this status. Of the 38,195 fire departments evaluated by ISO nationally, only 498 have attained this distinguished honor. In California, where 854 fire departments were evaluated, only 45 have received the Class I designation. Newport Beach is one of three departments in Orange County to be recognized as a Class 1 department.

Newport Beach residents may see more competitive insurance rates from the NBFD’s Class 1 rating. Insurance companies use PPC information to establish fire insurance premiums, and may offer lower rates in communities that demonstrate superior fire service capabilities.

I’d like to recognize our entire Fire Department team, under the leadership of Fire Chief Jeff Boyles, for this tremendous accomplishment. I’d also like to acknowledge those who worked for nearly two years to achieve the Class 1 rating: Fire Marshal James Gillespie, Battalion Chief Nick Stocks, Battalion Chief Phil Puhek, Captain Ty Lunde and Captain Cameron Hutzler.

Be Disaster Ready: Join a CERT Class this Spring

The Newport Beach Fire Department is offering two sessions this spring for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, which trains residents on how to help themselves, their families and their neighborhoods following a disaster.

The CERT program is free to Newport Beach residents and those employed in Newport Beach.

The first session will begin March 5, and the second session will begin April 23. Join us to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in disaster preparedness, first aid, search and rescue, fire suppression and much more.

For more information and to sign up, please visit www.nbcert.org.

Non-profits Encouraged to Apply for CDBG Grants by Feb. 23

The City is accepting applications from non-profit organizations seeking to provide eligible programs and services to the public, including fair housing services, under the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The City receives funding each year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is distributed to local non-profit programs that benefit local residents who have low- and moderate-incomes, defined as households earning less than 80 percent of the median income in Orange County.

Applications will be accepted until 2 p.m. on Friday, February 23. For more information and to apply, visit the City’s website at https://www.newportbeachca.gov/government/departments/community-development-/community-development-block-grant-cdbg/cdbg-notice-of-funding-availability.

Peninsula Volleyball Courts to Return Following Sand Replenishment

The City will reinstall several beach volleyball courts between 46th and 62nd streets that had been lost due to sand erosion.

The recent sand replenishment project led by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers has provided enough usable beach space to bring four courts back into service.

In the next few weeks, these courts will be reinstalled in approved locations, providing the public with more opportunities to play sand volleyball.

City Seeks Public Input on San Miguel Playground ADA Improvements

The City’s Recreation and Senior Services Department is seeking public input on a new playground design for San Miguel Park. The renovation project will create more ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility and offer features that encourage inclusive play for youth of all abilities.

Please join us for a public meeting on Thursday, Feb. 1, from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. at San Miguel Park, 2200 San Miguel Dr., where staff will share a conceptual design and hear input on the proposed playground improvements.

In addition to attending the meeting, the public can provide comments and suggestions through an online survey available at this link: https://fs23.formsite.com/cityofnb/44ehslamkn/index.

New Landscaping at Newport Coast Fire Station Uses ‘Fire Smart’ Approach

The City recently installed a “fire smart” landscaping demonstration project at Fire Station No. 8, 6502 Ridge Rd., in Newport Coast, to encourage similar projects in neighborhoods with high fire risks.

The new landscaping uses decomposed granite, boulders and low-level plant material to create a beautiful and functional landscape that provides a buffer, or “defensible space,” to stop or slow an approaching wildfire. The project removed combustible woody plant material, trees close to the structure and water-thirsty grass.

The Newport Coast station was chosen due to the neighborhood’s proximity to canyons, which significantly elevates the risk of wildfire. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) has classified this area as a “very high fire severity zone.” One of the protective measures homeowners can take to mitigate this risk is through proper vegetation management around structures.

High fire severity zones require all landscaping, including tree canopies, to be cleared within five feet of homes to help prevent embers from igniting the structure. “Fire smart” landscaping, with aggregates such as decomposed granite or small crushed rocks, and plant material whose leaves and stems halt the progress of wildfires, is highly recommended in Newport Coast and other high-risk areas.

City Crews Respond Quickly to Major Paint, Oil Roadway Spills

The City’s Public Works and Utilities departments recently responded to two major incidents involving spilled paint and oil on busy public roadways.

The first was a large paint spill that occurred on Saturday, Jan. 13, on MacArthur Boulevard; the second was a large oil spill Wednesday, Jan. 17, on Jamboree Road. In both cases, City crews closed two lanes of traffic to pressure wash the spilled material and collect runoff before the material could pollute nearby storm drains.

Both streets were cleaned and re-opened for safe travels in a timely manner.

Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update

The Be Well mobile crisis response team operates in Newport Beach 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to mental and behavioral health crises. The mobile unit is staffed with mental health specialists and works closely with the City’s police and fire departments.

This week, the Be Well team:

  • Transported three people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter for intakes.
  • Transported one person to the Be Well sobering station for treatment.
  • Transported two people to a homeless services provider for resources.
  • Transported a family to a train station to return home. The family was stranded after their vehicle became inoperable.
  • Collaborated with the Newport Beach Fire Department for a medical transport.

To reach Be Well: The mobile crisis team is dispatched through the Newport Beach Police Department. To request service, dial 911 or call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (949) 644-3717.

Homelessness Update

This week, the City’s homeless outreach and response teams:

  • Transported a client to a mental health appointment.
  • Enrolled a client into services and completed a shelter referral.
  • Contacted several apartment complexes to schedule tours for clients.
  • Continued to shelter people: 25 people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.

Click here to view the latest homeless dashboard, which includes key monthly and yearly data on the City’s homeless response: https://www.newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/monthly-homeless-count.

Click here for information on the City’s Good Giving program: https://www.newportbeachca.gov/trending/community-issues/homelessness/how-you-can-help.

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