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Public Safety takes spotlight in latest GRF Virtual Town Hall

By Mike Wood

Staff writer


Wednesday, May 29 (8:30 a.m.): During the most recent GRF virtual town hall, General Manager Jeff Matheson and Public Safety Manager Tom Cashion touched on multiple efforts to make Rossmoor safer – such as fire mitigation, emergency preparedness and response, traffic safety, and more.

Cashion detailed the importance of projects such as the Contra Costa Fire Protection District’s shaded fuel break, which will provide protection for Rossmoor and nearby communities like Lafayette and Moraga.

“They’re removing brush, they’re removing grasslands, they’re also trimming trees, limbs,” Cashion said. “The reason they do that is so that if a fire starts down in some grass, there are no ladder fuels,” which allow fires to climb, he added.

This is part of multiple efforts to mitigate potential fires, and at the same time, work toward reassuring insurance companies at a critical juncture when many have backed off or limited coverage within California.

“I can’t stress enough that we have really benefited from some phenomenal support from some of our public agency partners, in looking out for Rossmoor,” Matheson said. “This is one of the things when we go and we talk to underwriters for our insurance policies, trying to make sure we can get enough coverage for the community, or affordable coverage.

“We want them to be aware of all of these measures that are taking place in Rossmoor to make it a safer community.”

Residents can hear about mitigation efforts, Rossmoor’s Firewise USA program, and emergency planning at a Firewise Town Hall on Monday, June 10, at 10 a.m., at the Event Center and on Zoom. (See related articles today and next week in the News.)

Walnut Creek police Chief Jamie Knox will be at that event talking about evacuations and the police department’s role in case of a large, catastrophic event, Cashion noted.

  • The recently updated Wildfire Preparedness and Evacuation Guide is extremely valuable for residents, Cashion emphasized.

“If you have not seen this or picked up a copy, please go pick up one” Cashion said, noting it’s become “the resident’s guide to everything you need to know about wildfire preparedness and evacuation.” Those are available at Gateway administration’s front desk, the Rossmoor News and at Mutual Operations.

  • Cashion addressed instances of when to contact police or emergency services first. Too often, he’s noticed Securitas is called first by residents, causing lag time in emergency response.

“If it is a crime, it’s the Walnut Creek Police Department” for that initial call, Cashion said. “If you have anything that is considered to be a crime or you feel like your safety is about to be harmed or you’re very scared, that should always go to the police department first and then Securitas second.”

The same goes for medical emergencies, in which failing to call 911 first can decrease the chances for survivability when timeliness is critical.

“Securitas does not call the police department for residents unless they’re physically unable to do that,” he noted. “For example, if someone was on the ground and was not responding, they’ll go ahead and call 911. That’s a clear one. But for the other ones, the police department requires the person who is involved in the incident to call them. … They don’t want to hear from a third party.”

  • When a resident on Fairlawn Court brought up tripping on a dip in a sidewalk, Matheson noted that anytime anyone notices a potential tripping hazard, those should be promptly reported to the MOD Work Order Desk.

“They should call the Work Order Desk or email the Work Order Desk so that can be assigned to our crews to go out and investigate whether it is on Mutual property or GRF property,” Matheson said. “We certainly would want to take care of any tripping hazards.”

  • Asked about adding speed bumps to slow down speeding vehicles, Cashion explained they are no longer being implemented in Walnut Creek, and they slow response time for fire and police. Regarding adding traffic lights here, he noted they are costly, and not as effective as stop signs in slowing speeders.

What has been effective? Adding a stop sign at Tice Creek and Ptarmigan drives, for example.

This town hall is available on demand on the Rossmoor TV website, its YouTube channel and the Cablecast app. It is being shown on Rossmoor TV Ch. 1083 on Wednesday, May 29, at noon.

The next virtual town hall, and the last one currently scheduled, is Monday, June 24, at 1 p.m. Matheson and Director of Communications Ann Peterson will field questions on the Rossmoor websites ( and, Rossmoor News and Rossmoor TV.

Residents can join the town hall online at or by dialing 1-669-900-6833 (meeting ID: 818 3230 5511; passcode: 730100) for audio only.

Residents are encouraged to submit their questions before the meetings by emailing with the subject line “Town Hall Question.” Questions about the town hall or how to join Zoom can be directed to Deborah Rose at or at 1-925-988-7710.