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Frank Ault
Chairman

 

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September is National Preparedness Month!
 

Download San Diego County's 

Family Disaster Plan and Personal Survival Handbook.

Help you and your family prepare for a disaster! 

 

SAN DIEGO'S FIREFIGHTERS NEED YOUR HELP...


Running into a burning building takes extraordinary courage...but making it back out takes training and the right equipment.

Help get our firefighters home safely...



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News

Elfin Forest/Harmony Grove Firefighters


Yes, she can...

11 Year old Jessica convinced Jerome's Furniture to donate mattresses for S.D. Firefighters.
Read more...
 

Fire alarms recalled

ESL, Interlogix Hard-Wired Smoke Alarms Recalled. Radio frequency interference can cause the smoke detectors to fail to alert consumers of a fire.

Read the Consumer Product Safety Commission details.
 



Upcoming events

Elfin Forest/Harmony Grove Firefighters
SEPTEMBER 7, 2014
9/11 Heroes Run
5K at the NTC Park in San Diego


SEPTEMBER 7, 2014
9/11 Stair Climb
Proceeds benefit FirefighterAid, caring for firefighters and families through sickness, distress, and death.



SEPTEMBER 20, 2014

Fire Department Appreciation Day at LEGOLAND®
Tickets $35 through the Carlsbad Fire Department Foundation.

 
OCTOBER 4, 2014
Mount Laguna Motorcycle Rally & Sunrise Poker Run
Proceeds benefit the Mount Laguna Volunteer Fire Department!


Photo Gallery

 
Chaparral burns
Chaparral burns
Photos below © K.E. Pack
Halloween after the wildfire

Welcome Tony Mecham, CAL FIRE San Diego Unit Chief

“None of our fire agencies is large enough to handle a major fire or disaster by themselves. We must all work together as a team to keep the residents of San Diego County safe.” 

~ Tony Mecham, CAL FIRE Unit Chief


New CAL FIRE Unit Chief Tony MeechamTony Mecham has joined CAL FIRE San Diego as the new Unit Chief. With 27 years of fire and emergency services experience in San Diego, Sonoma and most recently as Division Chief in Riverside County, he intends to continue to strengthen teamwork among all fire agencies in San Diego County. “I have a deep appreciation and respect for all of the different fire agencies in San Diego County and the role they play in major fires and emergencies,” Mecham said.

Welcome, Tony! We look forward to working with you.
  
Read More about Chief Mecham.

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What is CAL FIRE?

CAL FIRE helps fight fires throughout California
CAL FIRE monitors emergencies throughout the State.
Photo © K.E. Pack

May 2014 San Diego Wildfires
2014 Napa Earthquake


If there is a disaster in California, CAL FIRE will be there.

Founded in 1905, CAL FIRE’S mission is to serve and protect the people, property and resources of California, with their primary responsibility being wildland fires on state lands or in unincorporated areas. 

However, as a State entity, CAL FIRE and fire agencies across the state have agreements to provide extensive emergency assistance at a moment's notice. This assistance can come in the shape of additional firefighters, equipment, and resource management needed to mitigate an emergency. 

For example, during the May 2014 Fires, an Incident management team—specifically designed to help manage disasters—was brought into San Diego to help coordinate multiple fires throughout the County. According to CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Nick Schuler, “CAL FIRE has 6 Incident management teams that are available to respond to any emergency. When it was determined that the fire was beyond the initial attack capabilities of fire agencies, an Incident Management Team was requested." 
 
More than fire fighting
CAL FIRE responds to more than 5,600 wildland fires each year. But, like any fire department, the majority of their calls are not wildfire-related. CAL FIRE is called to more than 350,000 other statewide emergencies annually, including:
 
automobile accidents                search and rescues
medical aids                              swift water rescues
hazardous material spills           vehicle/structure fires

CAL FIRE is more than a fire department protecting State land—they are the web that creates communication and collaboration between cities, counties, and State lands during crisis events.

Read more about CAL FIRE

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I just received a bomb threat, what do I do?

 
San Diego Sheriff Bomb Arson Unit disposes of illegal fireworks
The San Diego Sheriff Bomb/Arson Until disposes of illegal fireworks by detonation. See the video on the San Diego Sheriff Website.

The ATF reports that there are more than 5,000 “explosive incidents” each year in the United States, which include bombings, attempted bombings, incendiary bombings, stolen explosives, etc.
 
If you receive a bomb threat, remain calm. The more information you can obtain, the better you will be able to assist law enforcement to protect those in the building and find the bomb and perpetrator. 
 
Follow these tips if you receive a bomb threat by phone:
  • Try to keep the caller talking as long as possible.
  • If your phone has a display, copy the number and/or letters on the window display.
  • Complete the Department of Homeland Security's Bomb Threat Checklist immediately. Write down as much detail as you can remember. Try to get exact words.
  • Even after the caller hangs up, DO NOT HANG UP!
  • If possible, write a note to a colleague to call the authorities.
Read more about protecting your colleagues and yourself during a bomb threat.

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Climate Change brings more wildfires?




“Despite what you may hear in Washington, climate change is a factor… This is not about theory. It’s not about politics. This is about fires on the ground, people’s homes...”
~ California Governor Jerry Brown


Recently, the Fire Foundation presented at the San Diego Foundation's “Solution Series on Climate Change” to discuss the impact climate change is having on wildfires. 
 
Climate Change + 3 million people = wildfires
While it’s true that some fires are started by natural factors such as lightning, more than 95% of all fires are started by people, which means ”...95 percent of all fires can be prevented….” (CAL FIRE Chief Ken Pimlott, San Diego Union Tribune, May 7, 2014.) 

We need to be Careful! It just takes one spark to start a wildfire. In fact, the May 2014 Bernardo fire was sparked by a tractor doing soil testing at a construction site. The fire lasted several days, scorching 1,548 acres in North County and forcing thousands to evacuate.

Physical and financial costs are substantial
Firefighting in chaparral
Dry California chaparral burns fast, but grasslands burn faster. Photo © K.E. Pack.

The cost of wildfires is huge. Not only is it expensive to suppress and recover—our May fires cost $28 million to suppress and $29 million in private property damage—the damage to wildlife, air and water quality, and the propensity for erosion and mudslides is substantial.

As an example, chaparral—woody native plants that cover the hillsides—take 15 years to regrow. If fires occur more frequently, chaparral will turn to grasslands, which not only removes valuable habitat for animals, it also burns faster, creating a greater danger.

Santa Ana winds are coming earlier
Californians know that Santa Ana winds enrage wildfires. The hot, explosive winds blow fire embers ahead of where firefighters are trying to suppress the fires.

The Santa Ana winds traditionally blow in October and coincide with fire season. What we experienced in May—fourteen significant fires fueled by fierce Santa Ana winds—is unheard of, but it may be our new normal. Climate change will likely bring us longer, more severe fire seasons.

San Diego will be warmer



Wildfires are greatly influenced by climatic conditions: heat, drought, and wind. San Diego's rough terrain and vegetation make us one of the most fire prone regions in the country. As temperatures are predicted to increase and drought conditions worsen, vegetation will become drier, creating more ready fuel for explosive wildfires. Already this year, we have had 3,600, almost 50% more statewide wildfires than usual.

With climate change, wildfire season looks like it may be longer and more extreme. Be prepared.

Read more about Climate Change...

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We thank you for your support. Be extra careful during the height of our fire season!

Frank H. Ault                           Joan Jones
Board Chairman                     Executive Director 

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