The district, which provides fire and other emergency services to Menlo Park, Atherton, East Palo Alto and some adjoining unincorporated neighborhoods, approved a $54.6 million operating budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year, with reserves of $65 million.
The special meeting to discuss the board's priorities and goals lasted a little over 90 minutes.
Board members had each submitted their top priorities, resulting in a list of 42 items. After members introduced their priorities, they used sticky notes to vote for five. Planning for the future was chosen by all five board members.
Other items on the priority list:
• Beefing up community disaster preparedness and training. Board members want to spread the word about the district's emergency preparedness and response programs so they have at least 200 active volunteers on Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) ready to help in a disaster. They also want to train 5,000 residents or people who work in the district in disaster preparedness.
"It sounds like a large number, but I think it's possible," said board President Chuck Bernstein.
• Succession planning for Chief Harold Schapelhouman's eventual retirement.
• Continuing to be "the leaders among emergency-response agencies and professionals in technology innovations and working with innovative companies." The district has in recent years partnered with companies that produce drones and emergency response aids such as virtual reality cameras to help firefighters navigate through smoke.
"People (are) now coming to us with ideas that we don't have to pay for," said Mr. Carpenter. "It raises the visibility of the fire district," he said, attracting potential employees and giving residents a sense of satisfaction.
• Develop a districtwide emergency warning siren system. After the recent failure of phone-based emergency alert systems in the North Bay fires, the district has discussed installing emergency alert sirens around the district, probably a newer version of what is in Atherton's Walsh Road neighborhood.
Mr. Bernstein suggested that the board put one of the priority items on the agenda of a future board meeting for a half-hour study session, and that board subcommittees look at any items that fit their committee's purpose.
This story contains 437 words.
Stories older than 90 days are available only to subscribing members. Please help sustain quality local journalism by becoming a subscribing member today.
If you are already a subscriber, please log in so you can continue to enjoy unlimited access to stories and archives. Subscriptions start at $5 per month and may be cancelled at any time.