The San Diego
Regional Fire Foundation Presents

Command Post: San Diego

A unique look at Fire and Emergency Response in San Diego County: Meet the men and women who keep us safe, and learn more about what you can do to help keep you and your loved ones safe.

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Fire House 101

Explorer Program Prepares High School Kids for a Career in Firefighting

Help us fill the shortage of qualified candidates to join our fire departments throughtout San Diego County.

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Regional Overview

We're helping the County and CalFire map San Diego's back country, because that's where our wildfires start

Only $47,000 left to raise to provide firefighters with mobile data computers and update County Assessor maps to include truck trails, dirt roads, and irregular addresses.

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Command Post: San Diego
CalFire Incidents fire.ca.gov/
National Interagency Fire Center
(National Fire Tracking)
nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm
National Incident Information System
(Wildfire Tracking)
inciweb.org
Ready San Diego readysandiego.org
2-1-1 (San Diego) 211sandiego.org

Not finding what you're looking for?

August Fire Foundation Chairman's Letter

 

Contents

 

We honor the firefighter, law enforcement, and military personnel who have fallen in the line of duty.


 

Follow us! 

Facebook
Twitter
Website

How can I help firefighters obtain needed equipment and training to protect you? 

 

 

Unless Otherwise Proven, Cars, Cliffs, and Robbers are Real

 
If you've tried Pokemon Go, you know the signs of a Pokemon Stop. People are hovering around in small groups looking at their phones. Oblivious to what's around them.

We have pulled together some real dangers and some common sense suggestions to help keep you and your kids safe.

 Read more...

 
 

SDGE & County provide "helitanker" air support

Wildfire preparedness got a boost in July with the County Board of Supervisors voting 5-0 to negotiate access to a firefighting helicopter leased by SDGE. Under the agreement, the utility would cover the cost of the helicopter's first two flight hours during a new fire and the County would pay for the second two flight hours. The agreement can be renewed for up to 12 months with five option periods through 2022.

Known as a Helitanker or a Skycrane, the Sikorsky S-64 has six rotor blades and two turbine-powered jet engines, which allow it to carry 2,650 gallons to the fire lines. Its tank can be filled by a draft hose in less than one minute while the helicopter is hovering. The Sikorsky S-64 has been part of our aerial firefighting program since 2009.

Learn more about the agreement in the County Board of Supervisor Ron Roberts' Chairman's letter.

 

Lessons from a Sand Fire Evacuee

Photo courtesy of Lori Gervasi

Last week the Sand Fire devastated Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles. 20,000 people were evacuated, 38,000 acres were burned, and 18 homes were destroyed.

We talked with author and Sand Fire evacuee Lori Gervasiwho shared four tips she wished she had known before she had to flee her home:
  1. Have a Go Bag: "I ran out without my medication—only my photos and documents. My husband was sweet and brought me some clothes later, but none of them were what I would have packed." 
  2. Have a list of your neighbor's phone/ texting numbers: "Whenever we heard something, we all would pass the information along. It was very helpful to be able to tell someone that their house was still standing."
  3. Have a plan for your animals: "There are a lot of big animals in our area. The wildlife sanctuaries had to tranquilize the tigers, etc. and drive them out, but they had trouble figuring out where to take them."
  4. Close your doors when you leave: "In a panic, we drove away with the garage door open. I now know we should have closed all the doors but not locked them so that firefighters could have entetered the house if necessary." Leaving the house wide open could have drawn the fire into the garage and then the house. Fortunately, Lori's house was safe. 
"I am so grateful to all the firefighters and safety personnel who worked so hard out there in that heat!"
 


Upcoming Events

August 9


SDGE Wildfire
Preparedness Event

Gillespie Field
10:00 a.m.

September 8


FahrenheitSD fund raising dinner, music and auction
Hyatt Regency La Jolla for San Diego City Fire/Rescue Foundation

September 10

San Diego Stair Climb
San Diego Hilton Bayfront
sandiegostairclimb.com

October 3

Fire Chiefs’ Golf Classic
Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Club
http://www.burninstitute.org/

October 8

San Diego Fire & Rescue Foundation 5K Kids Run and Safety Expo.
Embarcadero Marine Park South
Register

October 9-15:


Fire Prevention Week


October 15

Fire Chiefs’ Party in the Paddock
Del Mar Fairgrounds Paddock

October 15


3rd Annual Mount Laguna Motorcycle Rally @ 1pm

October 21


San Diego Fire Department 2016 Service Awards Honoree Luncheon

Hyatt Regency Mission Bay

*Send us your events

Any Department wanting to publicize an event can send it to us by the 20th of every other month for inclusion.



What happens when you call 9-1-1?

“9-1-1, What is Your Emergency?” When you need help, these words are your lifeline. The dispatcher, never seen and rarely thanked, is often your last hope.

Where does my call go?

When you call 9-1-1, you are sent to your local law-enforcement dispatcher—police, sheriff or California Highway Patrol (CHP). The appropriate agency is determined by the following:

  • Land line: The phone’s location determines the proper law enforcement agency.
  • Cell phone: About 80% of 9-1-1 calls are from cell phones. Newer cell phones have GPS capabilities that allow dispatch to determine your location. Older phones without sophisticated GPS technology, however, only allow dispatch computers to triangulate your approximate location from the cell towers transmitting the call.
  • Freeway (cell phone) calls: These are automatically sent to the CHP.

The 9-1-1 law enforcement operator will do his or her best to determine your location and the nature of the emergency. If it is a police emergency, you will remain with police dispatch, however if you have a fire or medical emergency, the call is automatically routed to a fire department dispatch center.

Fire Dispatch Centers

There are nine fire dispatch centers in San Diego County:

  • Military bases: Camp Pendleton; Miramar Air Station; and military bases around San Diego harbor area
  • US Forest Service 
  • San Diego City: San Diego, Poway, and South Bay cities
  • North Comm: Del Mar north and west of I-15
  • Escondido City
  • Heartland: La Mesa east to Alpine and Spring Valley north to Lakeside & Santee
  • Cal Fire (Monte Vista): all remaining rural portions of San Diego County
Once fire dispatch receives the location and nature of the emergency, that information is entered into the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. CAD automatically determines the appropriate units to send depending on the location and nature of the emergency.

The dispatch system is borderless, in that it automatically sends the closest fire units regardless of the jurisdiction. The closest unit is determined not by the closest fire station, but through the use of Automatic Vehicle Locators (AVL), which know the location of every fire unit in San Diego County, whether it is in the station or out on the road.
 

Who Are The Dispatchers?

Dispatchers must have a calm temperament and be able to deal with all kinds of people. “The activity level can be very quiet and then a flurry of calls comes in with multiple emergencies. The room becomes extremely active.” Tracy Lynn, San Diego City Fire Dispatch Administrator.

Training lasts for approximately 10 weeks, and then new hires are monitored closely on the job for another several months to make sure they have access to the expertise required to respond to different situations.

The calls dispatchers get are anything from accidental "butt dials" to life or death assistance needed. Dispatchers never know what is coming, how the call will go, or if they will learn the outcome. They will tell you that the hardest calls they deal with relate to the death of a child or officer involved shootings. But there are positive calls too. “It is not uncommon for a dispatcher to save a life or bring a new life into the world by providing instruction on CPR or child birth. Sometimes people contact us to say thank you." Lynn says. "Those are great days.”


If the emergency requires the dispatcher to stay on the call to get more information, help the reporting party provide medical treatment, or monitor a child, they will do that. However according to Lynn, “children are often far more calm than adults in emergency situations.”
 
As dispatchers gather more information from the original caller or subsequent callers on the same incident, they pass that along to the fire units which are already enroute to that emergency. Fire units upon arriving at the scene of the incident can request more units or cancel units which were dispatched but are not needed at the scene.
 

What to do when you call 9-1-1

Recently one of our Fire Foundation supporters was telling that she handed a cell phone to her daughter at a restaurant, and her daughter accidentally called 9-1-1. Mortified, our supporter, Trisha, yelled for her daughter to hang up. Unbeknownst to both, dispatch had already picked up the call. The phone then rang in her daughter's hand and the screen read 9-1-1. They stared at the phone, terrified. How much trouble were they in?

As critical as the role of the dispatcher is in successfully handling an emergency, they can not help you unless you give them the right information.

  1. Do not call 9-1-1 for non-emergencies—Call police or fire business lines.
  2. Do not hang up. Be patient. If you hang up and call back you will be at the bottom of the queue.
  3. If you accidently call (including “butt dials”) 9-1-1, stay on the line and let the dispatcher know it was an accident and that you are okay. If you hang up, they waste time trying to call you back to make sure you are not being held against your will or have become unconscious. If you do not answer when they call they will send personnel out to do a welfare check. The County of San Diego Communications Office stated, “It’s a scenario that plays out hundreds of times a day across San Diego County. People are calling 9-1-1 and hanging up. It’s most likely an accident, but it takes time away from those who really need help.” A recent study reported that approximately 30% of all 9-1-1 calls are inadvertent.
  4. Know your location. When talking to the dispatcher, be calm and clear. Give your location first, so if the call is lost, they know where the incident is located. Second, quickly describe the emergency, so they can send the right emergency vehicles, then give supplemental information.
  5. Stay put. If you are driving and continue to drive, the dispatcher can not send a unit to help you. It would be a waste of time and resources to send a fire truck or medical unit to a location if you are not there when it arrives.

Trisha took the phone from her child and answered the 9-1-1 call. The dispatcher asked her location and if the child was hers. After clearing up the mistake, and apologizing profusely, Trisha asked the dispatcher why she had called back. The dispatcher said, “what if someone had taken the child, and that call was the child’s one chance to let someone know where they were?” Trisha hung up with a different kind terror, knowing from the dispatcher's tone that she had probably taken those calls before.

 

Stay Safe in the Summer Heat

Protect yourself from the heat to avoid heatstroke and other heat-related illnesses. This is especially necessary for those most vulnerable to heat-related problems: infants, children, elderly people, people with chronic medical conditions and, of course, pets.
Hints for avoiding heat-related problems:

  • Stay in air-conditioned areas during the hottest hours of the day. San Diego County has designated 115 buildings as Cool Zones.  To find the nearest one go to CoolZones.org, call 2-1-1, or 1-800-510-2020, ext. 6.
  • Wear light, loose-fitting clothing
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid drinking alcohol and sugary drinks
  • Take cool showers
  • Never leave a child, elderly person or pet unattended in a car
  • Avoid unnecessary hard work or activities outside during the hottest part of the day
  • Avoid unnecessary sun exposure and wear a wide-brim hat and sun screen if you are in the sun
  • If your home is not air-conditioned, avoid using the oven to cook or any other heat producing appliance/equipment
Heatstroke Symptoms
An extremely high body temperature (103 degrees or higher), dizziness, nausea, confusion, headache, or loss of consciousness are signs of heatstroke or exhaustion.  If somebody shows these signs, call 9-1-1 and begin cooling the person by:
  • Moving them to a shaded area
  • Spraying with cool water and fanning them
  • Placing them in a cool shower (not cold) if alert
  • Monitor body temperature and continue cooling
  • Do not give the victim fluids to drink if they are vomiting or unconscious

Be careful out there and watch out for each other.

 

Summer is Bar-B-Q Time!

Family gatherings with hot dogs and hamburgers on the Bar-B-Q is a summer tradition. To help ensure everybody has a good time, here are some safety tips to follow:

  • Place the Bar-B-Q on solid, level ground so it is not likely to tip over
  • Make sure it is not located under or adjacent to anything flammable: trees, awnings, etc.
  • Make the Bar-B-Q area a no-run/no-play zone for children and adults
  • Never start a Bar-B-Q with any accelerant (gasoline, etc.) other than Bar-B-Q starter fluid
  • Never dispose of coals while hot. Wait a day until they are completely cold and then put them in a metal container. Never put them in a trash container with flammable material
  • Don't bury hot coals in the sand. Sand acts like an insulator, making buried coals a severe burn threat to unsuspecting beach goers. Most beaches have approved fire pits or special receptacles for used coals.
  • Reduce food poisoning by properly cooking or cooling food. Nothing ruins a Bar-B-Q more than eating potato salad which has set out too long.
 

Stroke? Act FAST!

 

What is a stroke? Blood vessels supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain become blocked. Without oxygen brain tissues start to die impacting speech, movement or cognitive abilities. The longer the vessel is blocked, the worse the damage. 
 
How do you know if someone has suffered a stroke? The FAST test can help you recognize the symptoms:
 
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Does speech sound slurred or strange?
Time: Time is crucial with a stroke victim. Call 9-1-1 and get the person to a hospital as soon as possible.
 
Other symptoms:  Sudden confusion, problem understanding speech, vision issues in one or both eyes, dizziness, headaches or problems with movement and coordination.
 
If you recognize these symptoms in someone, the key to their recovery will be immediate medical treatment—within 3–6 hours—to clear the restricted vessel and get blood flowing again to the brain.

 

Keep Cool this Summer. The heat waves are just beginning!

Frank Ault
Frank H. Ault
Board Chairman
Joan Jones
Executive Director
 
San Diego Regional Fire Foundation
A 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization
TEL: (619) 814-1352
2508 Historic Decatur Road Suite 200,
San Diego, California 92106.
FAX: (619)239-1710