Santa Monica Fire Department

The Santa Monica Fire Department plans to extend a temporary station that has cut response times to emergency situations at the beach and Santa Monica Pier.

In June, SMFD created a pilot station on the beach after data showed that it took firefighters and paramedics based in the department’s existing five stations much longer to reach the beach than other locations in Santa Monica because of traffic congestion near the beach and I-10.

Since Station #7’s launch, average response times to the beach decreased by one and a half minutes and service to the Pier was reduced by more than two minutes, which the department said was critical in saving three lives and dealing with 600 emergency situations over the last six months.

Initially scheduled for a four-month period during peak beach season, it has been extended based on initial positive results, city staff said.

“Crews have been assisting visitors, helping with reports of missing children, engaging with people experiencing homelessness and building stronger relationships with the neighbors and business communities on the pier and along the beach,” SMFD Capt. Patrick Nulty said in an August statement. “With an ongoing presence and increased visibility, fire personnel can make a communitywide difference, including around fire prevention and preparing for serious incidents.”

But the station at 1100 Palisades Beach Road, which consists of an existing storage building and trailer and is equipped with smaller vehicles, beach vehicles, bicycles and one full-size fire truck, is technically not allowed on the beach under the city’s zoning regulations.

On Tuesday, the City Council will vote to change the code to allow public safety facilities so the station can remain in place as a pilot and the city can consider whether to turn it into a permanent station.

“SMFD seeks to continue the temporary fire station pilot for an additional period while considering options to consider a permanent station on the site,” staff said. “Accordingly, staff recommends that (City) Council adopt an Emergency Interim Zoning Ordinance in order to ensure that the service that began on a trial basis is permitted to continue and provide enhanced emergency service to the area.”

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