Sonoma County retained the Matrix Consulting Group to create a Standard of Cover for the county. For the countywide Standard of Cover to be effective, each fire department and fire district was evaluated and is considered a planning zone for their respective region.
The project team used two sources as the basis for this document and the content contained herein. The Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) both have an extensive body of work related to the assessment and deployment of resources. The CPSE has recently moved away from establishing benchmarks and baselines for response time evaluation citing they are not a standard making organization. However, their body of work and those of other fire service organizations support the continued use of the response time guidelines.
Sonoma County is a very diverse area with several urban cores and rural areas that in some instance are considered wilderness areas. As such the project team utilized the seven Fire Management Regions that have been established by the County as the foundation for the analysis and then developed a Countywide summary. Within those regions each of the fire departments and districts became a planning zone to
identify the risk and resources to provide fire suppression services. Given the diversity of the demographics and risk factors a Standard of Cover was created for each of the Fire Management Regions. To do the analysis on an area the size of Sonoma County would not provide the level of detail needed for evaluation of the fire protection system. As such, each region was examined with a focus on those details to identify service gaps and improvements to the system. The overall recommendations are included toward the end of the report.