Fullerton Fire Department

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The Fullerton Fire Department is the agency that provides fire protection and emergency medical services for Fullerton, California, a city of approximately 135,000 population (2010 census 135,161) in the northern part of Orange County, California.


The Fullerton Fire Department was formally established as a volunteer department on August 10, 1908.[1] The initial apparatus included a hand-drawn hook and ladder truck, a hand-drawn chemical wagon, and some ancillary equipment.[1] In 1913 the voters passed a $5,000 bond issue, which was used to purchase the first piece of motorized apparatus, a 1913 Seagrave triple-combination (ladder, hose, and chemical) engine that was housed in rented quarters in the 200 block of North Spadra (now Harbor Boulevard).[1] The city's first formal fire station was opened in 1926 in the 100 block of West Wilshire Avenue. This building housed the department's apparatus on the ground floor, while the second floor housed the city hall.[1] In 1942, when a new city hall was built, the second floor of the Wilshire Avenue building was converted into sleeping quarters for the firefighters.[1]

A second station was added at Brookhurst and Valencia in 1953 to serve the west side of the city, and a third was added at 700 S. Acacia to serve the east side of the city. By 1961 the department had made the transition from a volunteer department to one staffed by career firefighters.[2] A bond issue passed in the mid-1960s funded the construction of a new fire department headquarters building at 312 E. Commonwealth. At that time the Wilshire Avenue station was leveled.[1] The same bond funded the construction of a fourth station at 3251 N. Harbor Blvd. to serve the north-central part of the city, and a fifth station at 2555 E. Yorba Linda Blvd. to serve the rapidly growing east side of the city, which included the Cal State Fullerton campus.[1]

A sixth station was opened at 1500 North Gilbert on the west side of the city in 1968. In 2004 this station was replaced by a new $3.4 million station that was built for the city by private developers as part of an agreement that allowed the developers to build on property owned by Chevron Land and Development.[1]

The Fullerton Fire Department celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008.[2][3]

Stations and apparatus[edit]

The Fullerton Fire Department currently has six fire stations strategically located throughout the city.[4]

Fire Station 1 (Headquarters) is located at 312 E. Commonwealth Avenue in the downtown area. This station houses the administrative offices of the department as well as several pieces of apparatus. These include Engine 1, a paramedic engine staffed by a captain, engineer and two firefighters; and Truck 1, which is a 100 ft. tiller-type ladder truck staffed by a captain, engineer and two firefighters. Truck 1 also is a paramedic assessment unit. This station also houses an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) unit, an Urban Search and Rescue support unit, a type 3 brush engine, and a swift water rescue ubit with boat. Several other support vehicles are housed at Station 1 including a 15-passenger CERT van, and a training engine. The USAR units and the type 3 brush unit are staffed as needed by cross-trained firefighters from the front-line apparatus. Station 1 also houses the departments training tower.

Station 2 located at 1732 W. Valencia Drive houses Engine 2, which is a paramedic engine staffed by a captain, engineer, and two firefighters.

Station 3 located at 700 S. Acacia Avenue houses Engine 3, which is a paramedic assessment engine staffed by a captain, engineer, and one firefighter and reserve engine 8. This station also houses a fully equipped CERT trailer that can be moved to the site of any emergency within the city. This trailer also is available for activation by the CERT Mutual Aid Program if needed.

Station 4 located at 3251 N. Harbor Blvd. houses Engine 4, which currently is a paramedic assessment engine staffed by a captain, engineer, and one firefighter. A fixed cache of CERT equipment and supplies is located at this station.

Station 5 located at 2555 E. Yorba Linda Blvd. houses Engine 5, which is a paramedic engine staffed by a captain, engineer and two firefighters and reserve engine 7 as well as a tactical ems unit used by paramedics in support of north county swat A fixed cache of CERT equipment and supplies is located at this station.

Station 6 is located at 2691 Rosecrans Avenue. This station houses Engine 6, which is a paramedic assessment engine staffed by a captain, engineer and one firefighter as well as reserve engine 9 and reserve truck 2.there is also a type 3 brush engine staffed as needed. This station also serves as the primary fixed emergency operations center for the city. A mobile emergency operations trailer also is housed at this station.

In addition to the front-line apparatus listed above, the department operates a reserve ladder truck (a 100 ft. tiller-type unit) and a number of reserve pumpers. These units are housed at stations across the city as needed. The reserve units are activated whenever one or more front-line units are out of service for maintenance.

Response and mutual aid[edit]

The Fullerton Fire Department is dispatched by Metronet,[5] a regional dispatch facility located in Orange, California. The facility is responsible for dispatching fire personnel in several cities throughout Orange County (Anaheim, Brea, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Orange, Huntington Beach, and Newport Beach).[5] Calls placed to 9-1-1 in Fullerton are answered by dispatchers at the Fullerton Police Department; fire and paramedic requests are then transferred to Metronet.

The Fullerton Fire Department also is part of the Orange County 800 MHz Countywide Coordinated Communications System. This system provides radio communications to law enforcement, fire services, public works departments, lifeguard, and marine safety services throughout the county.[6] This system facilitates interoperability between units from different agencies, and makes possible a virtually seamless mutual aid system throughout the county.

The Fullerton Fire Department is part of the county-wide automatic mutual aid system, which ensures that the nearest available fire and paramedic units are dispatched to a call regardless of the location. Fire departments throughout the county, including Fullerton, employ the incident command system routinely to coordinate resources during significant events. The automatic mutual aid system is used to dispatch resources from Fullerton and surrounding jurisdictions as needed in the event of a multiple alarm fire or other major emergency within the city. The automatic mutual aid system also is used to dispatch resources to incidents within the city when Fullerton units are unavailable owing to prior assignments, or for incidents occurring near the city limits in cases where the unit(s) from another jurisdiction can respond more quickly.

Ambulance service[edit]

Medical transport via ambulance is provided by Care Ambulance Service, an independent contractor with the City of Fullerton. Three ambulances are stationed at fire stations 1, 3, and 6 at all times and are dispatched by Metronet on the same radio frequency as fire personnel. This allows firefighters to communicate directly with ambulance personnel via radio.

Command structure[edit]

On May 3, 2011 Fullerton and the adjacent city of Brea, CA entered into an agreement to share the command structure of their respective fire departments.[7][8] Under this agreement both share a fire chief, three division chiefs (operations, fire marshal, and administration), and four battalion chiefs (BC's). Three are shift battalion chiefs, and one is the battalion chief in charge of training. The command structure sharing agreement, will save Fullerton $463,000 annually, and will save Brea $881,000 annually.[8]

Community Emergency Response Team[edit]

The Community Emergency Response Team for the city of Fullerton[9] is sponsored by the Fullerton Fire Department. The Fullerton CERT is integrated into the command structure of the fire department. The team has its own volunteer command structure, which reports directly to the fire department battalion chief in charge of training. The team generally sponsors three training academies[10] for the general public each year, which are open to those people over 18 years of age who reside or work in the city. Those persons who complete the training academy, which covers the standard, basic CERT training curriculum provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are eligible to become active members of Fullerton CERT provided that they successfully complete a fingerprint live scan and background check.

In the event of a major emergency that affects the city, Fullerton CERT is activated by the fire chief (or his designee).


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