Cambrian: Opinion

Cambria firefighters want town to maintain its own fire department

It is the opinion of the Cambria Firefighters Association (CFA) that it is in the best interest of the community of Cambria to maintain complete ownership of its fire department. 

In so doing, this will ensure a pathway for the Cambria Fire Department and Cambria Community Healthcare District (CCHD) to combine services and create an Emergency Services District.  This is the best way to provide the high level of service the community deserves, and is the most fiscally responsible way of doing so.  

The CCHD, a separate public agency, currently provides ambulance transport services to Cambria and the North Coast. For almost the past 20 years, combining the two services has been and continues to be a goal by both agencies as well as the community at large. Any forward movement seems to fall short due to a lack of follow-through by local governing authorities with no definitive explanation.  

In light of the recent release of two grand jury reports concerning the extreme wildland fire danger and the current state or condition of local emergency services (i.e., insufficient personnel staffing levels, poor condition of fire suppression equipment, extreme isolation, etc.) the CFA would like to take this opportunity to encourage the CCSD Board of Directors, The CCHD Board of Directors, and the community of Cambria to seize this opportunity through a cooperative community effort to bring this long-lived dream to fruition. Consolidating fire and ambulance service will provide the highest level of customer service at a decreased cost to taxpayers by way of the following:

  • Reciprocal cross-utilization of personnel.
  • Shared services (fuel, equipment, facilities, supplies).
  • Combined operations.
  • Unity of command.
  • Reduced duplication of services (fire chief, administrator, administrative assistant, and backup ambulance).
  • Improved personnel skills as employees would rotate from the ambulance to fire engine after a given amount of time.
  • Co-location to a more central location of ambulance personnel.
  • Improved employee morale and productivity.
  • Increased service to community at decreased cost.
  • Increased engine staffing to meet the National Fire Protection Association 1500 requirements.


  • Most of ambulance and fire employees already work for both agencies.
  • Increased productivity would result from increased staffing. Critical projects that have long been neglected could be accomplished, such as hydrant maintenance, business inspections, community education, and station improvements.
  • CCHD could sell its Main Street property and put the money toward a fire station expansion.  (The current station was not built for 24-hour, round-the-clock staffing.)
  • Continuity of service as all employees would be under the same chain of command, which would implement the same policies and procedures. 

It should also be noted that the Community of Cambria is a very quaint and historically rich community of which the Cambria Fire Department has been an essential part of since the late 1800s.  

The Cambria Fire Department was established in 1877 as the Hope Volunteer Fire Company, which became the Cambria Fire Protection District in 1933, prior to consolidating with other special districts within the community to form the Cambria Community Services District (CCSD) in 1976.  

The Cambria Fire Department is the second oldest fire department in San Luis Obispo County (San Luis City Fire Department was established one year earlier, in 1876). Cambrians have always been ever-vigilant guardians over their community’s special and unique identity.