Public Safety Training Center

The Public Safety Training Center is a proposed educational facility that will allow local public safety personnel to train close to home and enable El Camino College to educate the next generation of firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT).

Concern vs. Fact

FACT: 

Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the El Camino College District prepared an Initial Study and Draft Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) to analyze the potential environmental impacts of its proposed. El Camino issued a Notice of Preparation (NOI) for the Adoption of a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) for this project that was sent to property owners and residents in accordance with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) noticing guidelines.

The public comment period was open from March 29, 2022 to April 27, 2022. In addition, the college held two virtual community meetings regarding this project on March 28, 2022 and April 6, 2022 to solicit feedback from the community. Notification regarding these meetings was sent to a total of nearly 500 property owners and occupants within a 500-foot radius of the project site; and in addition, fire cadets dropped postcards door-to-door promoting the community meeting.

A copy of the presentation ECC Fire Chief Jeff Baumunk gave during these meetings is currently available on the ECC website so that members of the public who could not attend can still review the presentation.  

 

FACT:

The environmental analysis, which evaluated both air quality impacts during construction and during the operation of the proposed project, determined that the project would have a less than significant impact on air quality.

In addition, the analysis determined that the project would not expose sensitive receptors to substantial pollutant concentrations and that emissions from the project would not exceed South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) thresholds.

 

FACT:

The environmental analysis determined that the project will have a less than significant impact on ambient noise levels in the vicinity of the project. Furthermore, the analysis indicated that the project will meet all City of Torrance noise ordinances and would not exceed applicable thresholds during either construction or operation. Though not required under CEQA, El Camino College has committed to the following four-point plan to help address noise issues:

  1. El Camino College will engage a sound engineer to develop a more comprehensive sound study and mitigation plan. The plan will not only help to address concerns about potential noise generated by the PSTC, but will potentially also help with sound generated from Redondo Beach Boulevard.
  2. El Camino College will investigate various natural and aesthetically more pleasing approaches to minimize sound transfer or blockage such as earth berms, walls and plantings.
  3. El Camino College is currently considering plans to plant trees to block views onto the Lot L property as much as possible per landscaping architectural recommendations. This can be done relatively soon pending recommendations by the architect.
  4. El Camino College is also considering plans to paint the permanent structures facing the residents in some sort of nature camouflage manner to minimize the sight of buildings

 

FACT:

ECC Fire Chief Jeff Baumunk included a typical day schedule in his presentations to the community, indicating that activities at the PSTC will begin no earlier than 7 a.m. and will end no later than 5 p.m. Details can be found here: (page 12 of the Chief’s PowerPoint presentation).

 

FACT:

The environmental analysis determined that the project will have a less than significant impact on local wildlife and habitat as long as the following required mitigation is implemented:

  • A pre-construction nesting bird survey shall be conducted by a qualified biologist within the project footprint and a 300-foot buffer around the project footprint. Surveys shall be conducted within 3 days prior to initiation of activity and will be conducted between dawn and noon. If an active nest is detected during the nesting bird survey, avoidance buffers shall be implemented as determined by a qualified biologist. The buffer will be of a distance to ensure avoidance of adverse effects to the nesting bird by accounting for topography, ambient conditions, species, nest location, and activity type. All nests will be monitored as determined by the qualified biologist until nestlings have fledged and dispersed or it is confirmed that the nest has been unsuccessful or abandoned.

 

FACT:

Because a wide array of elements determine each specific property’s value, it is impossible to determine what type of impact the proposed project could have nearby properties. However, the new Public Safety Training Center will reduce emergency response times. Training takes place while fire personnel are "on the clock," so traveling far from the South Bay means that their areas are covered by other stations within the city or even by personnel from other cities through a mutual aid agreement. This means there are fewer public safety professionals available to protect the same geographic area. Eighty percent (80%) of calls are for medical emergencies, so having more personnel available in the South Bay area to respond could truly save lives.

 

FACT:

The City of Torrance Fire Department is one of several South Bay Fire agencies that are vested partners in this project. In fact, Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi has also contributed $10 million to the project.

While the facility will be on El Camino College property, it will be utilized by numerous other fire and first responder agencies. It will also create numerous positive benefits for local residents. This project will provide a nearby location for training for all South Bay fire departments. Currently, firefighters must travel to a training facility far from the community they serve. The nearest similar facility is located at Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier, some 25 miles from El Camino.

In addition, having a nearby location to train will allow more regular training and result in even more well-trained personnel, while at the same time enabling local departments to hire the best and brightest recruits. The center will also enable all local department to learn the same firefighting techniques, which will allow them to operate more effectively and have better coordination when responding to emergencies in the community.

And, of course, the new Public Safety Training Center will reduce emergency response times because firefighters will be able to train while on the clock and still be close enough to respond to emergency calls nearby.

 

References: The detailed environmental analysis, including methodology and results tables, can be found as part of the project’s Mitigative Negative Declaration available online.

Questions?

Contact publicsafetytrainingcenter@elcamino.edu.