MARTINEZ -- People who live near the fire station on Shell Avenue worry about longer response times for emergency medical calls in a neighborhood with many elderly residents and the loss of the station closest to the Shell Oil refinery.

At a small community meeting Thursday, Contra Costa Fire Chief Daryl Louder sought to reassure residents that the fire district has the resources to protect the neighborhood once fire station No. 12 closes on Jan. 15.

But he also advised people to be proactive and install working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, clear a defensible space around their homes, consider installing a residential sprinkler system and learn CPR.

When deciding which stations to close, Louder said the district considered response times, call volume, availability of mutual aid, ability of nearby stations to absorb workload and the effects on service districtwide.

"We had to have the answer that had the least impact to the community and the whole (ConFire) system," Louder said.

Of the 725 incidents in its service area that the fire station handled from November 2011 through October 2012, nearly 600 were emergency medical calls, and about 75 were fires or hazards, according to district data. On average, firefighters from the station responded to calls within seven minutes and handled about three calls per day.

According to Louder, response times are likely to increase by nearly half a minute, because firefighters will travel from one of the two remaining fire stations in Martinez on Jones Street, near City Hall, and north of Highway 4 on Church Street, across from Nancy Boyd Park.

The closure next week of Fire Station No. 12 and one station each in Walnut Creek, Clayton and Lafayette is expected to save the district between $6 million and $8 million per fiscal year from its $102.4 million annual budget.

County supervisors voted unanimously to close the stations last month after voters soundly rejected Measure Q, the fire district's temporary $75 annual property tax that would have raised about $17 million per year, enough to keep all 28 fire stations open.

Brenda Colbert, who has lived six houses down from the fire station since 1985, said she voted for the tax measure.

"Well I'm very saddened. There are a lot of elderly people who live in the area and that's going to have an impact on them," Colbert said.

ConFire and American Medical Response respond jointly to medical emergencies. As a result of the fire station closure, Louder said AMR will review where it posts ambulances to speed response times and provide better coverage for Martinez. Although ConFire staff respond to refinery calls, Louder noted that Shell has its own fire brigade. The refinery has three fire engines and employs 150 emergency responders, including firefighters who are trained to handle chemical and industrial fires, according to spokesman Steve Lesher.

Cheryll Grover, president of the Mt. View Improvement Association -- the unincorporated area around Fire Station No. 12 -- worries that elderly residents like her father will wait longer for medical attention. She's also not convinced that Shell's on-site fire crew can provide adequate protection.

"Living next door to a refinery, we're constantly reminded of the possibility of a disaster there," Grover said. "We think that no neighborhood should be without emergency resources when you live that close to a refinery."

Lisa P. White covers Martinez and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.