University of California, Santa Cruz Fire Department
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|Fire chief||Jeff Trapp|
|Facilities and equipment|
The UC Santa Cruz Fire Department was the agency tasked with protecting life and property from fire and related dangers on the University of California, Santa Cruz's rural, heavily forested campus and in the surrounding community, as well as providing limited services to UCSC's more widely distributed, off-campus units. The department's primary responsibilities within the University are emergency response, fire protection engineering for new construction, fire prevention, public education, and disaster preparedness. The department employs a 20-member, full-time staff, comprising seven firefighters, five fire engineers, three captains, an assistant chief, a chief, an Emergency Manager, a Campus Continuity Planner, and a Unit Coordinator. The department responds to approximately 800 incidents per year. It is one of only two fire departments in the UC system, along with the UC Davis Fire Department.
The need for the Fire Department was identified in April 1971, after a fire gutted the Hahn Student Services Building, one of the first university structures on campus. The catastrophe, exacerbated by the length of time it took the Santa Cruz Fire Department to respond from its stations in town to the conflagration in the center of the relatively remote campus, led directly to the establishment of the UC Santa Cruz Fire Department.
The department utilizes two types of engines for emergencies.
Engine 3114 (2012 Pierce Arrow XT) - Type I structural response engine. This is the primary engine used by the fire department for emergency response. This engine will respond to most calls for fires, medical emergencies, vehicle accidents, fire alarms, etc.
Engine 3134 (2001 Pierce Model 25/International 4900 Chassis) - Type III wildland response engine. This engine is primarily used for wildland responses on (or near) the campus. This engine can also be used in the event of a mechanical failure to 2710.
Other vehicles include assorted SUVs and trucks which are used in various emergency situations.
After the consolidation in 2012, all dispatch calls are routed through Santa Cruz Fire Department's dispatch center. Previously, dispatch calls were sent through UC Santa Cruz's own dispatch center.
The UC Santa Cruz Fire Department responds to hundreds of calls throughout the year. Incidents they respond to are including but not limited to: medical emergencies, vehicle accidents, gas leaks, fire alarm activations and public assistance calls. The campus fire department is usually a first responder to all campus emergencies which require their assistance.
Not only does the fire department respond to calls on campus, but will also respond to off-campus emergencies as needed. Also, units from within the county of Santa Cruz will respond to campus emergencies as needed.
Apart from the usual calls on campus, the UC Santa Cruz Fire Department has responded to many fires on campus. The most notable events are:
4/15/2010: The campus fire department responded to the report of smoke/flame in the construction site adjacent to the new addition to McHenry Library. Upon arrival, crews noticed heavy smoke coming from the 2nd floor of the construction site. Additional crews were requested from the Santa Cruz Fire Department for mutual aid. The new addition to the library was promptly evacuated, and lead to the closure of the library for at least a week to clear out smoke damage, etc. The fire was extinguished within an hour of it breaking out. The two-alarm fire was caused by an overheated extension cord being used by the construction site workers. No major injuries were reported, with the only minor injury being a security guard on the construction site who suffered from minor smoke inhalation.
5/7/2009: The campus fire department responded to a report of fire, with a subsequent fire alarm activation, at the Physical Science's Building. Campus crews and crews from neighboring fire departments arrived just after 2:00pm to discover a smaller contained fire in a lab on the third floor, which was extinguished almost immediately upon discovery. The fire was ignited with a half-full bottle of hexane, which was being used by two graduate students at the time. The county hazardous materials team stayed throughout the duration of the afternoon to determine air quality in the lab and building. It was determined at 4:15pm that it was safe for people to re-enter the building. No injuries were reported.
1/11/2002: The campus fire department responded to a heat sensor activation at the Sinsheimer Labs around 5:30am. Upon arrival, crews noticed smoke and flame coming from a lab on the 4th floor in the south wing. A report was put it for mutual aid from neighboring departments, including the County Haz-Mat team. The fire destroyed the lab in which it originated in, and most of a neighboring lab. Reconstruction had to be done on that portion of the building. Because there were no fire sprinklers in the building at the time (only a fire detection system), a high demand for the building to be retrofitted with sprinklers lead to the installation of them in months following the fire. There was no cause determined, but it was speculated that a small piece of equipment may have overheated causing the fire. No injuries were reported.
10/1999: The campus fire department responded to a fire alarm activation and report of a fire in the Sinsheimer Labs around 5:00pm. Crews were called in from neighboring departments, including the County Haz-Mat team. The fire was caused by improper handling of a flammable solvent, Cyclohexane. The solvent was spilled on the floor by a graduate student who accidentally knocked it over while conducting an experiment with a fellow lab student. Instead of the students requesting help with the spill, they attempted to contain the spill themselves. However, the spill had gone under a few of the lab appliances, igniting a flash-fire which only lasted for a short while. There was minimal damage as a result, including some melted floor tiles and other objects. The only injury reported was by one of the graduate students working in the lab, who received first and second degree burns to the face and forearms.
Notes and references
- "About The UC Santa Cruz Fire Department". UC Santa Cruz Fire Department homepage. Archived from the original on 2007-03-13. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
- "UCSC Final 2005 LRDP Environmental Impact Report, Vol. 2, Chapter 4.12" (PDF). University of California, Santa Cruz. Retrieved 2007-03-26.
- McNulty, Jennifer (2000-11-20). "Every day is different for UCSC firefighters". Currents 5 (16). Retrieved 2007-03-25.
- Public Affairs, UCSC. "Fire extinguished in McHenry Library - closed Friday". UC Santa Cruz. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- Burns, Jim. "Lab fire leads to building evacuation; 'minimal' damage and no injuries reported". UC Santa Cruz. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- Burns, Jim. "Two research labs gutted in Sinsheimer blaze". UC Santa Cruz. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
- UC Santa Cruz Fire Department
- University of California, Santa Cruz
- Photographs of Fire Department (UCSC) from the UC Santa Cruz Library's Digital Collections