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Closing After 128 Years
Santa Ana Fire Chief David Thomas will be switching out his collar ornaments on April 20. That’s because his 128-year-old fire department will no longer exist, a victim of the struggling economy. Thomas will be a division chief in the Orange County Fire Authority, the service chosen to take over fire and rescue service. The move, officials said, will save the city $10M annually.
“We won’t have any lay-offs that were very possible had we stayed with the city. And, all 10 stations will remain open,” Thomas said during an interview at Firehouse World.
All 192 Santa Ana Fire Department personnel, including dispatchers, fire prevention and fire marshals, are being included in the move. “In anticipation of the outsourcing possibility, Orange County left 45 vacant positions open so they could be absorbed,” added Thomas. Some of the firefighters will see leaner paychecks, but Thomas said they’d rather have that than none at all. The number of firefighters on duty daily will go from 63 to 48. And, the department will no longer be transporting BLS patients. A third-party agency will be contracted to do that, he said.
While he is upset to see the oldest fire department in the county abolished, Thomas says he understands it’s a win-win for all – firefighters, the city and residents.
Thomas, who joined the department in 1984 and rose to chief two years ago, says he is upset about the closure but understands nonetheless.
“For a 128-year-old department just to go away is really sad. We have a lot of history,” he said.
One of the original fire trucks is on display at the oldest firehouse, and there are no plans to move it. Some type of event to mark the end of the Santa Ana Fire Department is in the works. Thomas added that he and other personnel are working to make a smooth transition.
– Susan Nicol
L.A. Gets Arson Training
In light of the recent spate of arson attacks in Los Angeles, CA, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), in partnership with the Downey Fire Department, Los Angeles Fire Department and The City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department, set up a four-day arson training school for active investigators in the Southern California region.
This training provided arson investigators with updated scientific analysis of the different types of electrical fires, fire patterns and arson-related fires that investigators are finding in the field. ATF’s Fire Research Lab taught the classes along with certified fire investigators from across the nation. Training featured firefighters aggressively attacking a live, controlled burning cell followed by a demonstration of evidence recovery and a review of fire dynamics.
Health & Safety Rules to Live By
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) announced that Rules You Can Live By will be the campaign theme for the 2012 International Fire/EMS Safety and Health Week, to be held June 17-23.
Fire departments are encouraged to suspend all non-emergency activity during Safety and Health Week to focus on safety and health training and education allowing all shifts and personnel to participate. An entire week is provided to ensure each shift and duty crew can spend at least one day focusing on these critical issues.
”Safety and health are two of the most critical issues facing firefighters and EMS personnel today, regardless of whether you are volunteer or career,” said NVFC Chairman Philip C. Stittleburg. “The entire fire service community must join together to create a culture where health and safety are a priority every day. The NVFC is pleased to partner with the IAFC to work towards this goal and make it a reality.”
The IAFC and NVFC will provide planning resources on the Safety and Health Week website (www.SafetyAndHealthWeek.org) and encourage the community to submit links to additional resources, articles and SOPs that can help other departments.