The Novato Fire District - Origins

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The Novato Fire District - Origins


The Novato Fire Protection District is a separate governmental unit established on July 6, 1926, as an independent Special District of the State of California. The purpose of the District is to provide all-risk emergency and non-emergency services to the City of Novato and the surrounding unincorporated area.

The City of Novato and surrounding unincorporated area is approximately 71 square miles with an estimated population of 65,000. A five-person Board of Directors elected by the citizens for four-year terms governs the District.

The District’s legal authority and responsibilities are contained in the State of California Health and Safety Code under the “Fire Protection District Law of 1987.”

The Novato Fire District authorizing statute information can be found here: CA Health and Safety Code 13800.

Novato Fire District Authorizing Statute document

District Map

Services Provided

The District maintains five fire stations and one administrative headquarters office building, all strategically located within the District. All five stations house full-time paid firefighters. The District staffs eight companies, including structure and wildland engines, a ladder truck, Advanced Life Support ambulances, command chief officer, Rescue, and other support units.

Within the boundaries of the District are wildland areas, single and multi-family residential units, commercial and light industrial occupancies, a major research facility, hotels, a hospital, numerous convalescent/assisted living facilities, equestrian areas and open space areas including hiking trails. With such diversity, it is mandatory the District be equipped with proper apparatus and be appropriately staffed to handle all risk emergencies.

The total population serviced by the District exceeds 65,000. On business days, the population grows to include the personnel employed in the Novato Unified School District (Novato’s largest employer), Fireman’s Fund, Bio Marin, the Buck Center and other large employers located within the District.

The District’s philosophy with regards to fire, medical, or hazardous material emergencies has been one of a strong, rapid deployment of appropriate resources to mitigate any emergency, as recognized by a Class 1 Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating. The District’s goal is to maintain overall total response time of 8 minutes or less 90% of the time for all dispatched emergencies. Total response time is defined as the total time beginning when a 9-1-1 emergency call is answered to the time emergency responders arrive at the scene of an emergency. Under daily normal conditions, there are 20 full-time professional emergency responders who can be deployed for an emergency within the boundaries of the Novato Fire Protection District. In addition, the District serves as the primary Joint Emergency Operations Center (EOC) location for the City of Novato and the Novato Fire Protection District.


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