Acting at the urging of Ione Fire Chief Ken Mackey, the Ione City Council has passed a resolution formally protesting new emergency response maps from the Amador Fire Protection District.
Amador Fire Protection District serves as the fire department for all of Amador County not already covered by an existing district or department, such as the city fire departments or an independent district, such as Lockwood. According to Chief Mackey, Amador Fire Protection District implemented new maps and policy for emergency response at the start of June, increasing the areas of responsibility for AFPD at the expense of other fire departments, including Ione. Mackey’s objections, which were also echoed in the resolution passed by the council, include a lack of communication between AFPD and the other departments, that the new maps increase response times and put a strain on AFPD resources putting public safety at risk, and that the new maps will decrease the number of emergency calls the Ione Fire Department receives, thus reducing the amount of money received from Measure M, a half-percent sales tax passed by the county in 2008.
Richard Forster, who was the county supervisor representing Ione also serves on the AFPD Board of Directors, also addressed the city council. Forster acknowledged the problem of lack of communication on the new emergency map policy, but otherwise defended the move, saying that the AFPD should respond to emergencies in the unincorporated areas it is responsible for.
The Ione City resolution calls for the changes in response areas to be reversed, that new payment system for Measure M move away from a “per call” system, and that the AFPD create a governing board independent of the board of supervisors.