You Asked. I Do My Best to Answer!

Thanks for getting involved and asking questions. Here are some topics that you have asked about. As I receive additional questions, I’ll answer them on this page.

  1.  What has Belmont done to Improve its Fire Department?

Belmont is fortunate to have had an excellent fire department for a number of years and we have taken active steps to make it better. Currently, Belmont has a Shared Services Agreement with San Mateo and Foster City. We are currently working to form a single Fire Department with San Mateo and Foster City. The Belmont City Council appointed Councilmember Charles Stone and myself as the Council’s representatives in that effort. Having a multi-city Fire Department means that we will have more firefighters familiar with Belmont’s terrain and facilities and should help us be even more prepared to deal with emergencies.  It also means we have better access to specialized equipment (such as fire trucks for multi-story buildings and engines that have the ability to deliver water up to a mile into a canyon!). In addition, we can do all of this at a lower cost to Belmont’s residents, allowing us to invest additional resources to further improve our Fire Department as needed.

Preparedness, not just response, is critically important. Amongst the many things that we do to be better prepared, our Fire Department categorizes days as to the threat of fire and will pre-position equipment when the threat of fire danger is high. Also, when responding to a call, the amount of equipment varies depending on weather conditions. In short, our Fire Department wants to do everything it can to get things under control as quickly as possible.

In addition to the resources that can be quickly provided by Belmont, Foster City, and San Mateo, we have mutual aid with the entire county. If a wildfire starts in any city in San Mateo County, coordinated and county-wide dispatch ensures that significant firefighting resources are on site faster than what more remote areas typically experience.   Not only do we have two stations in Belmont, but there are also nearby Cal-Fire and San Mateo stations (De Anza Road.) In addition, in an emergency, the gate at Hallmark/Crestview can be opened very quickly and engines can get into Belmont from southern areas that way.

In addition to the resources in our department and county-wide, we also have access to the Cal-Fire firefighting helicopter which can get to the Belmont Hills area in 12-15 minutes from where it is stationed. This chopper has a roughly 400-gallon tank on the bottom of it and can refill at the reservoir.

We have some of the best firefighters and command staff in the nation. They are acutely aware of the dangers posed by wildfires and drill to handle that and other scenarios all the time. Please know that while we certainly are working to make things even better, we have invested heavily in time and resources over many years to ensure we are ready for all types of emergencies.

The Fire Departments in San Mateo County work jointly on dispatch and repositioning equipment if necessary when units are dispatched.  This means all of the San Mateo County Fire Departments works together as if it were a single Fire Department with respect to being prepared to handle multiple emergencies that occur simultaneously.

These are some of the key steps we’ve taken to enhance our Fire Department but we must, and do, continue to look for additional ways to improve.

Although we strive to be as prepared as possible, it is up to all of us to be as aware and vigilant as possible.   If you see anything that concerns you, please contact Belmont’s Fire or Police Department. They are ready to respond and want to ensure we have as safe a community as possible.

  1.  I live on a street that needs to be repaved. When will that be done?

In 2016, Belmont’s voters passed Measure I, which is expected to raise $1.3 million per year for improving our roads and other infrastructure. Measure I will help us double, or even triple what we spend each year to improve our roads.

To find more information on our street paving and rehabilitation program, please visit the City of Belmont’s web-site (www.Belmont.gov). For a detailed five-year plan, including a map of the streets that are scheduled for improvements, go to

https://www.belmont.gov/city-hall/public-works/engineering/infrastructure

On the left side of the web-page, click on “Streets and Roads.” You will then see a variety of tabs where detailed information is available. The tab “2019 – 2023 Five Year Program” provides a map and schedule for anticipated road improvements.

We are also working on creative strategies to obtain additional funds that can be allocated towards our infrastructure improvement program.