Craig Jorgens MOFD UPDATE


Below is some useful information on how to make your home safer in a firestorm and evacuation advice from multiple sources.

  1. Prepare a bag with the essential items you need to evacuate. This should include medications for several days.  Cell phone chargers, copy of driver’s license and passport.  Credit card, some cash, cash card change of clothes etc. In a bag in your garage on a  wall hook
  2. Register for the Community Warning System this simple step will greatly increase our ability to communicate critical information during an emergency.
  3. If you have a landline phone, consider purchasing an uninterrupted power supply to power your internet router/modem connection and telephone during a power outage. If you have a cordless phone, it will not work without power to the base station. Keeping your telephone and internet working during an emergency is a critical step to staying informed and aware of incident conditions.
  4. Consider purchasing an emergency alert radio. This inexpensive radios have a 90 Db siren and can be activated by the Community Warning System to pass incident information and evacuation alerts. An example of these radios can be seen here:
  5. Develop a neighborhood notification plan to ensure that everyone in the community will be notified if there is an evacuation order.  This should include all residents knocking on their immediate neighbor’s door before leaving to ensure everyone has been notified.  It should also include identifying those who will need assistance in the event of an evacuation order and identifying neighbors who can assist them.
  6. If evacuation orders are issued, all residents should leave immediately. Plan to evacuate out of the immediate area to remove yourself from danger. This will require leaving Orinda.
  7. local police info and warnings
  8. Firewise community website



Flying embers can destroy homes up to a mile from a wildfire. “Harden” your home now before a fire starts by using ember-resistant building materials.

Here are some things you can do to harden your home and make it more fire resistant.

The roof is the most vulnerable part of your home. Homes with wood or shingle roofs are at high risk of being destroyed during a wildfire. Build your roof or re-roof with materials such as composition, metal or tile. Block any spaces between roof decking and covering to prevent embers from catching.

Vents on homes create openings for flying embers.

  • Cover all vent openings with 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch metal mesh. Do not use fiberglass or plastic mesh because they can melt and burn.
  • Protect vents in eaves or cornices with baffles to block embers (mesh is not enough).

Eaves and Soffits
Eaves and soffits should be protected with ignition-resistant* or non-combustible materials.

Heat from a wildfire can cause windows to break even before the home ignites. This allows burning embers to enter and start fires inside. Single-paned and large windows are particularly vulnerable.

  • Install dual-paned windows with one pane of tempered glass to reduce the chance of breakage in a fire.
  • Consider limiting the size and number of windows that face large areas of vegetation.

Wood products, such as boards, panels or shingles, are common siding materials. However, they are combustible and not good choices for fire-prone areas.

  • Build or remodel your walls with ignition resistant* building materials, such as stucco, fiber cement, wall siding, fire retardant, treated wood, or other approved materials.
  • Be sure to extend materials from the foundation to the roof.

Surfaces within 10 feet of the building should be built with ignition-resistant*, non-combustible, or other approved materials.

  • Ensure that all combustible items are removed from underneath your deck.

Rain Gutters
Screen or enclose rain gutters to prevent accumulation of plant debris.

Patio Cover
Use the same ignition-resistant* materials for patio coverings as a roof.

Cover your chimney and stovepipe outlets with a non-combustible screen. Use metal screen material with openings no smaller than 3/8-inch and no larger than 1/2-inch to prevent embers from escaping and igniting a fire.

Have a fire extinguisher and tools such as a shovel, rake, bucket, and hoe available for fire emergencies.

  • Install weather stripping around and under the garage door to prevent embers from blowing in.
  • Store all combustible and flammable liquids away from ignition sources.

Consider using ignition-resistant* or non-combustible fence materials to protect your home during a wildfire.

Driveways and Access Roads
Driveways should be built and maintained in accordance with state and local codes to allow fire and emergency vehicles to reach your home. Consider maintaining access roads with a minimum of 10 feet of clearance on either side, allowing for two-way traffic.

  • Ensure that all gates open inward and are wide enough to accommodate emergency equipment.
  • Trim trees and shrubs overhanging the road to allow emergency vehicles to pass.

Make sure your address is clearly visible from the road.

Water Supply
Consider having multiple garden hoses that are long enough to reach all areas of your home and other structures on your property. If you have a pool or well, consider getting a pump.

Useful Links
Fire Information Engine—Homeowner Wildfire Assessment 
University of California—Homeowner’s Wildfire Mitigation Guide 

“Jorgens best to fix huge Moraga Orinda Fire debt” – East Bay Times Endorses Craig Jorgens

“The district needs directors who will work aggressively to reduce the shortfall. In Division 5, that person is Craig Jorgens, an engineer and MBA who is also president of the Orinda Downs Owners Association and served on Orinda’s Citizens Infrastructure Oversight Committee” – East Bay Times editorial, October 31, 2016

I want to represent North Orinda on the Moraga Orinda Fire Board.

I am a retired business executive with broad experience in operations, engineering and finance.  I will provide new and creative ideas to address MOFD’s ongoing financial and operational challenges.

In representing North Orinda, I would work to ensure optimal allocation and location of MOFD’s resources to provide us with the best possible emergency response times.  I am results oriented, budget minded, problem solver and believe strongly in open discussion and transparency for every aspect of MOFD.

My educational and work background will allow me to bring a fresh perspective and creative insights to aid in solving MOFD’s complex pension and logistical issues.

  • Retired President of a Public Satellite Communications Company
  • Former Orinda Infrastructure Committee (CIOC) member
    • Introduced new paving method to City that lowers initial cost by 15% and increases road lifespan by 50% over traditional methods.    As of 2016, all Orinda road reconstruction utilizes this new technology.
  • Executive Director of Corporate Development/Mergers & Acquisitions for AirTouch, the USA’s largest cellular operator (now 55% of Verizon)
  • Former management consultant
    • Quickly understand and address operational and financial needs
  • HOA President in North Orinda
    • Responsible for 100 acres of high fire hazard open space
  • BS in Engineering/Business Economics from Harvey Mudd College, the science and engineering college of the Claremont Colleges, Claremont CA
  • MBA from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

I believe MOFD can:

  •  Improve its service level by improving efficiency and being more fiscally responsible.
  • Use data analysis to reduce response times especially for Sleepy Hollow and El Toyonal where they can currently be over 10 minutes.  Every minute increases the risk of death by 10% for heart attack and stroke victims
    • Predict medical emergencies locations, time of day and day of week like many surrounding communities.  During peak times, position resources appropriately to improve response times.
  •  Develop targeted fire prevention programs utilizing the latest fire propagation models to prevent firestorms.
    • Detailed satellite mapping, can identify potential “hot spots” with a goal to target and minimize combustible material. The currently used State Fire Risk Maps provide insufficient detail for this analysis.
  • Manage MOFD’s $50 million unfunded pension/medical benefit liability by:
    • Controlling future pension obligations.
    •  Improving returns on its investment portfolios.
    • Pay down pension liabilities more quickly using excess cash to fund locally managed benefit trusts.
  • Treat all employees with the respect they deserve

I would be honored to represent North Orinda on MOFD’s board, and I would appreciate your vote.

Please click the Endorse Craig or Sign tab to add your support.

Craig Jorgens

 Below is the October  Orinda News Questions and Answers about MOFD from Craig

1)    Why are you running for the MOFD District 5 board position and what expertise will you bring to the board?

As a retired business executive and 24-year Orinda resident, I have the time and desire to give back and serve our community. Our family was raised here and attended Orinda’s public schools. Drawing from my broad experience in Engineering, Finance and Operations, with degrees in Engineering/Economics and an MBA, I bring a fresh perspective and creative solutions to MOFD’s complex pension and logistical issues. I am experienced in the public sector, having worked with both US and foreign governments on enhancing emergency preparedness utilizing cellular and satellite communications systems.   As a member of the Orinda Infrastructure Committee, I demonstrated my ability to add value by introducing a new road construction method that lowers the initial construction costs while increasing the useful life of Orinda’s roads by 50% over previous methods.  All Orinda road construction in 2016 will use this new technology.

2    Half of Division 5 is designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone. Currently, MOFD’s plan is to reduce vegetation fire load by encouraging annual weed removal by residents. How will you influence MOFD to mitigate the fire dangers to Division 5?

Many of us moved to Orinda, in part, for its forests and the hills. These beautiful areas and our adjacent regional park lands contribute significantly to high fire risks, especially in times of drought.  Proactive prevention is “worth a pound of cure”. To prevent another firestorm, we need to allocate more MOFD resources to targeted abatement in addition to the current weed programs.
Through detailed satellite mapping, we can identify “hot spots” with a goal to target and minimize combustible material. The currently used State Fire Risk Maps provide insufficient detail for this analysis.
Besides timely weed abatement notifications to residents, in the critical hot spots where fires could escalate quickly, MOFD should communicate and actively manage house-by-house plans to reduce fuel loads. Independent studies of Sleepy Hollow identified critical roads that could be closed by hot spots which underscore the priority.
Abatement involves minimizing certain highly flammable species, trimming up low branches and eliminating underbrush. There may be government grants available to perform the analysis and begin abatement, especially in the 50% of our District outside the city limits of Orinda and Moraga. For our open spaces various abatement approaches can be evaluated for cost effectiveness ranging from goats to rototilling.

3. Currently most emergency calls to the Sleepy Hollow/Orinda Downs area (around 600 homes in Division 5) have response times in excess of the MOFD benchmark of six minutes. How would you go about fixing this discrepancy?

Response times are directly related to the distance between the responders and the incident. Since over 90% of Code 3 incidents are medical emergencies and each minute of response time decreases the likelihood of survival by 10%, this issue is critical. Orinda View and Orinda Downs response times will improve by 1-2 minutes when Station 16 in Lafayette returns to service in 2018.  Until then, and for Sleepy Hollow and much of El Toyonal, the most fundamental way to decrease response times is to locate responders closer to the areas of need during predicted peak demand times as some other communities do. We can immediately help cut response times by proactively implementing programs targeted specifically at both these remote homes and homes we identify of higher risk residents, those under 6 and over 65, using data analysis.  One step MOFD can take is to research monitored emergency alarm systems and encourage/incentivize these residents to install them in their homes.  Monitored systems eliminate one call transfer after dialing 911 and could significantly shorten the detection time of fires when no one is home.

4. Approximately 35 of the districts fire hydrants were rated “grossly inadequate” in 1995. Of the 19 inadequate hydrants in Division 5, 15 are in areas designated Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones. How will you help MOFD to upgrade these hydrants?

According to MOFD, fire hydrant capacity is more important in fighting wild fires Than structure fires.  Low flow, low pressure hydrants, fire trucks and a 3000-gallon tanker truck are usually adequate for a structure fire. When there is a wildfire, MOFD calls on the CalFire, Confire and surrounding agencies from other counties to assist.  Within an hour 135-150 emergency responders and helicopters and airplanes are dispatched to the scene.
The sequential cluster of “grossly inadequate” hydrants near Charles Hill Road is the most critical issue since lone hydrants can be bypassed and pumped around but clusters cannot.   It costs more than $300,000/hydrant on average to replace the old water pipes and EBMUD pays only 10%. Orinda voters have twice voted against funding a full solution so we must target our resources to the most severe situations.  Again, a proactive, targeted fire prevention program can help address much of this issue before a long term solution is reached. EBMUD replaces aging pipes at their own expense in on a 100-year schedule.  When we do replace pipes we also need to plan ahead and coordinate with our road replacement projects.

5. Whether or not Orinda taxpayers pay more than their fair share of MOFD’s expenses has been a hot topic for many years as well as unfunded pension liabilities. How would you address these financial concerns?

I believe public entities always need to listen to the community’s issues and ideas and present any analysis of issues and decisions openly.  On fairness, I would concur with the three current board members who at a recent board meeting agreed that as long as the issue remains unresolved in the eyes of numerous taxpayers, it deserves to be addressed. I understand there was never a public document disclosed by the Orinda City Council any Committee or LAFCO that quantified the analysis of the situation including current and anticipated capital expenditures and operating expense allocations.

We currently have more than $50 million in unfunded liabilities at MOFD.  I am concerned that our pension fund manager’s (CCCERA) rate of return projections are optimistic given their portfolio makeup and historical returns. A small decline in their projected returns can dramatically increase our liability.    We need to fully understand the potential outcomes and plan accordingly.