The San Diego Harbor Police Department (HPD) has a distinction that most law enforcement agencies don’t have: marine firefighters. All of their law officers are cross-trained to meet the standards of a marine firefighter. Initially, officers are put through a four-week, in-house training program, which qualifies them as Marine Firefighters.
Each sworn officer is issued a full complement of personal protective equipment pertaining to firefighting. The firefighting gear is the same as used by municipal firefighting agencies and meets all required federal and state laws. This gear is carried by officers while they are on-duty, thus making them more effective to responding to calls.
Department vessels are essentially set up as a floating fire engine, with hoses, nozzles and rescue tools, foam, breathing apparatus and other required marine equipment.
The department’s fleet includes five MetalCraft Marine, FireStorm 36 Emergency Response Vessels. Each of these vessels contains a Darley fire pump, or pumps depending on the configuration, which supplies two monitors. One is a roof-mounted, 2,000 gpm remote control unit; two discharges and a five-inch Storz connection for supplying land-based units. They also have a built-in foam distribution system.
EMS care can be provided on the large open deck space or inside one of the heated interior berths of the vessel.
Dedicated storage for both fire and EMS equipment provides for prompt responses and well-cared-for and protected equipment.
The twin diesel engines power jet-propulsion units, which can propel the vessels at speeds up to 40 knots. The water-jet system also allows the boat to perform emergency stops and change direction within two boat lengths.
The boat’s shallow 22-inch draft also allows for access to areas in and around the bay that may not be reachable by other vessels.
While attending Firehouse World in San Diego last month, I had the chance to witness the crew on Marine 2 put their vessel through its paces. It confirmed the value of a well-trained and equipped response team. You can learn more about the Port of San Diego Police Department by visiting their website.