Tag Archives: Fire

San Marcos Fire Department selected to participate in National Fire Protection Association’s Community Risk Reduction Pilot Program

The San Marcos Fire Department has been chosen by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to participate in the second phase of a pilot program to build a digital community risk assessment (CRA) tool. Aligned to NFPA 1300, Standard on Community Risk Assessment and Community Risk Reduction Plan Development, the tool, or “dashboard,” enables community leaders to gain valuable insights and make data-informed decisions surrounding fire prevention and other risk-reduction activities in their communities. 

According to NFPA, the concept of community risk reduction (CRR) – a process that identifies and prioritizes risks and ensures impactful mitigation initiatives – has been gaining traction across North America for more than 20 years. Innovative technology, access to data, and a shifting focus on prevention have resulted in new energy around this process. Reflecting that momentum, NFPA’s CRA tool works to help fire departments aggregate and disseminate data that pinpoint where risks exist within a given community.

“Access to accurate data will allow CRR leaders to use insights and make informed decisions about where to focus efforts and resources,” said Karen Berard-Reed, community risk reduction strategist at NFPA. “While many fire departments have struggled to work with data sets, NFPA’s CRA tool will do the complex work behind the scenes to compile relevant data allowing stakeholders to create effective community risk reduction plans that incorporate five priorities: Education, engineering, enforcement, economic incentives, and emergency response – in the most impactful ways possible.”

The first phase of the pilot project, which included participation from 50 fire departments across the country, helped identify features of the digital dashboard that will work effectively and those that need fine-tuning. During the second phase of the program, which involves participation from 250 departments nationwide, the San Marcos Fire Department will provide insights around the use of the dashboard through June of 2021 to help continue refining and enhancing its effectiveness.

“Participation in this project allows each fire department to provide important feedback that will be used to improve future versions of the dashboard, positions the community among CRR leaders in the United States, and signals an interest in leveraging technology to drive high-quality community safety initiatives,” said Berard-Reed.

As a participant in the pilot program, the San Marcos Fire Department will have free access to the dashboard, which includes customized visualizations (maps, charts, graphs) that illustrate each community’s risks and hazards across a variety of categories such as demographics, geography, building stock, economics, infrastructure, and event loss history. The dashboard also provides a snapshot of local capacity for risk reduction activities with information about public safety response agencies and community service organizations. In addition to dashboard access, participants will be provided rich networking and professional development opportunities with other communities engaged in CRR.

“We are thrilled to be participating in this important project,” said Dan Barron, Fire Chief of the San Marcos Fire Department. “Access to the tool will not only give us invaluable information about our community’s needs, but it’s rewarding to know that using the tool will increase its effectiveness and help other fire departments in the long run.” Follow NFPA’s CRR efforts on social media using #itstartswithinsights, or for more information online, visit www.nfpa.org/crr.

Fire Burns Near School in San Elijo Hills – NBC 7 San Diego

A small fire in San Marcos burned over an acre of brush near an elementary school, prompting a response from firefighters Tuesday evening.The fire started sometime before 4:30 p.m. near Attebury Drive and San Elijo Road and burned with a moderate rate of spread, according to Cal Fire San Diego, which was assisting San Marcos Fire Department with their firefighting efforts.The fire charred about one to two acres of vegetation behind Double Peak K-8 school before its spread was stopped shortly before 5 p.m., officials said.

Source: Fire Burns Near School in San Elijo Hills – NBC 7 San Diego

Brush Fire at Ledge and San Elijo Road near fire station. San Elijo road

Brush Fire at Ledge and San Elijo Road near fire station. San Elijo road is being closed. No evacuations are being ordered at this time. No homes threatened at this time. Air support is up!

LEDGE FIRE UPDATE: Forward progress has stopped. Fixed wing aircraft have been released. Helicopter and fire apparatus remain for mop up, probably through the night.

Your Community Needs You to Speak Up about Powerlines

 

Hopefully, you’ve all taken a moment to review the email we sent out early this week and the embedded links about the large electrical transmission lines that have been slated to be constructed throughout our community.

Hopefully, you’ve all scheduled your sitters, blocked your calendars, and are making carpool arrangements with your neighbors.

Hopefully, you’ve signed up on the Google Form to commit to showing up for your community on April 30th.

While we wait for the 30th to approach, we need you to make your comment personal. Review the attached talking points and develop your comments, your story, and find your voice.  Once you have your comments prepared consider sharing them on the 30th. You don’t have to speak at the hearings, headcount is most important, but reading your comments/story aloud at the meeting will help us in our show of force and makes the biggest impact.  A judge who will preside over the final decision will be in attendance, so your voices will be heard, and what you say matters.

REMEMBER:

1: Attend 1 or both CPUC hearings

  • April 30th from 1 pm – 3 pm at the SEH Rec Center (Terrace Hall)

1105 Elfin Forest Road, San Marcos, CA 92078

  • April 30th from 6 pm – 8 pm at the San Marcos Civic Center

3 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos, CA 92069

Bring a neighbor, a friend, and pack these hearings. Forward this email to your local networks, copy/paste to social media, and encourage participation in your neighborhood. Your community needs you!!

Join our FB page to stay up to date on event details.

Visit our website for more details, maps, etc. at sanmarcospowerlines.com.  Contact Robert Pack directly at packrobert@gmail.com or 760-809-3299 with any questions.

-Resident Committee to Stop the Powerlines

 New SDG&E power lines

The time for action is now!  New SDG&E power lines and large steel poles are coming soon through our neighborhoods unless we attend these two April 30th meetings in force!  This is our biggest and nearly final opportunity to communicate our concerns to the CPUC before these power lines and poles are built.  Our goal is to stop SDG&E from building a second set of power lines through our communities and urge them to place these power lines underground.

Tuesday, April 30th from 1 pm – 3 pm at the San Elijo Hills Rec Center, 1105 Elfin Forest Road, San Marcos, CA 92078

Tuesday, April 30th from 6 pm – 8 pm at the San Marcos Community Center, 3 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos, CA 92069

Sign-up here to attend the meetings: https://forms.gle/LD9Fxp2SgJhrTFkv6

Learn more about SDG&E’s proposed project here:  www.sanmarcospowerlines.com

Background:
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), after 17 months of considering SDG&E’s request to build a new set of 69 kV high voltage transmission lines and large steel poles through our communities, has sent a Notice of Intent to approve the project to the Governor’s Office.  We have 30 days, until May 15 at 5 p.m. to make our voices heard. There are viable alternatives to SDG&E’s proposed 12-mile circuitous route including a direct 5.4-mile underground route which would have no long-term environmental impact, unlike their current proposal.

In summary, the tentatively approved 12 miles above ground circuitous power line route will:
-Increase potential wildfire concerns
-Create unnecessary health risks for our children due to increased EMFs along the 12-mile route
-Decrease our property values (some more than others but we will ALL be impacted)
-Negatively impact habitat for some of our local sensitive species
-Negatively impact the aesthetic nature of our homes and community
-Potentially impact cultural resources buried along the route

The 5.4-mile alternative underground route:
-Has none of the above long-term negative impacts on our communities
-Has unknown financial consequences due to lack of in-depth budget analysis

Commit to attending April 30th. Bring a neighbor, a friend, and pack these hearings. Copy/paste onto local social media pages and sites, and encourage participation in your neighborhood.  Your community needs you!!

Join our FB page to stay up to date on event details: https://www.facebook.com/groups/445866435944617/

San Marcos, CA: California fires and red flag warnings remind us to be prepared

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for San Marcos and San Diego County through Wednesday, Nov. 14. Red flag warnings are designed to alert fire departments of the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity.

According to CALFIRE, the type of weather patterns forecasted for the area include low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, the possibility of dry lightning strikes, or any combination of the above.

During heightened fire danger, CAL FIRE and San Marcos Fire Department will place additional firefighters on duty, staff more fire engines and keep more equipment on 24 hours a day to be able to respond to any new fires.

“Wildfires burning in Ventura, Los Angeles and Butte counties are a clear reminder that we are in a dangerous fire season, and that one could flare up any moment, especially with the forecasted Santa Ana winds heading to San Diego County,” said Fire Chief Brett VanWey.

To prepare, San Marcos Fire Department and the County of San Diego are recommending residents take a “Ready, Set, Go!” approach for peak fire season.

Homeowners are asked to get “ready” by creating or maintaining at least one hundred and fifty feet of defensible space – but to do so only early in the morning when the grasses are still dewy to prevent sparking a fire in the dry heat of the day.

Residents can also get “ready” by making an emergency plan, gathering emergency supplies and making sure smoke detectors are in working condition.

If a fire breaks out, San Marcos residents can get “set” to evacuate by staying updated on the latest local safety information by visiting the city’s website, following San Marcos @sanmarcoscity on FacebookTwitter and Instagram; registering for e-notifications; and turning radios to AM 1610.

Finally, if told to do so by a public safety official or you feel unsafe, be ready to “go” by taking the evacuation steps necessary to give your family and home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.

“San Marcos is no stranger to wildfire and it is up to all of us to help keep ourselves, our property and the community safe,” said Fire Chief Brett VanWey.

It is important that residents stay connected before, during and after emergencies.

In addition to city information channels, residents can register cell phones with San Diego County’s free AlertSanDiego notification system by visiting www.readysandiego.org to sign up. Once registered, residents will receive calls or texts with local emergency information.

For more information about how you can prepare for emergencies, visit www.san-marcos.net/beprepared or visit ReadySanDiego.org. For red flag warning updates or to learn how you can do your part to reduce wildfire risk, visit CALFIRE’s website.

San Marcos Fire Department responds to a small vegetation fire

San Marcos Fire Department responds to a small vegetation fire

At approximately 9 am on Friday, Aug. 17, the San Marcos Fire Department responded to a small vegetation near 2430 S. Rancho Santa Fe Road. Crews contained the blaze to a 50 by 50-foot area and extinguished the fire by approximately 10 am.

While brief evacuations were issued out of an abundance of caution, no injuries or significant damage has been reported. The fire’s cause is currently under investigation; there have been unconfirmed reports of a discarded cigarette thrown from a vehicle according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Eastbound S. Rancho Santa Fe Road at Las Flores Drive will be closed until noon so that the Fire Department can clear partially burned trees and mop up the area.

 

This fire serves as a critical reminder of the importance of wildfire preparedness. All homeowners must maintain 150 feet of defensible space and residents should have an emergency plan in place.

To learn more about emergency preparedness, visit www.san-marcos.net/beprepared. To learn more about preparing your home for wildfire, visit www.san-marcos.net/wildfiresafety.

Listening Sessions on Ambulance Services for San Marcos Area

EMS SERVICE AREA BACKGROUND

The San Marcos EMS Service Area is currently an exclusive operating area (EOA) pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 201.224. From 1988 until 2001, the services in the EOA were delivered through a joint contract consisting of private enterprise Advanced Life Support (ALS) transport units and ALS fire department first responder engine companies. In 2001, the San Marcos Fire Department (SMFD) began providing ALS transport services in San Marcos as a sub-contractor. In 2009, the SMFD was awarded the contract to provide ALS transport services to San Marcos residents.

The City of San Marcos is a Charter City operating under a Council/Manager form of government. The City encompasses an area of approximately 24 square miles and the Fire Protection District adds approximately nine (9) square miles for a total service area of 33 square miles. The San Marcos Fire Protection District became a subsidiary district to the City of San Marcos in 1987. In 1988, the City added paramedic services to the community.

EMS SERVICE AREA COMMUNITY PROFILE

The residential population of the City is nearing 100,000 with a steady estimated 11 percent population growth since 2010. In addition to the City population, approximately 20,000 residents are located within the Fire Protection District, for a total of nearly 120,000 residents being served by the SMFD. The service area’s daytime population increases to approximately 160,000. The San Marcos population is growing four (4) percent faster than the other neighboring cities and almost two (2) percent faster than the San Diego region with a projected growth of 6.1 percent by 2020. It is projected that by the year 2030, the City of San Marcos population is expected to grow by more than 15 percent.

EMS SERVICE AREA SERVICES

San Marcos EOA calls for service are dispatched through the North County Dispatch Joint Power Authority (NCDJPA). Participation in this regionally-based JPA supports and enables the shared use of other area agencies ALS assets through an automatic aid “boundary drop” agreement that utilizes the closest transport resource concept.

The EOA ALS Transport Services contract requires that ALS ambulance response times not exceed nine (9) minutes, 90 percent of the time. ALS Engine and Truck company response times also adhere to strict response time expectations, with an eight (8) minute response time required 90 percent of the time. The SMFD consistently meets or exceeds these response time standards. The Department has steadily experienced significant call volume increases since 2014. Throughout 2017, the Department responded to 11,490 calls which represent an increase of 4 percent from 2016. During 2014 and 2015, the Department experienced a 22 percent and 11 percent increase in calls from the previous year, respectively.

SMFD currently provides ALS transport service to the City of San Marcos and San Marcos Fire Protection District residents. The ALS transport service is a no-subsidy service in San Marcos, meaning the City does not provide monetary support to the provider. Rather, all revenues needed for program operations are derived from billing for services provided. In order to provide the highest level of service to the residents of San Marcos, the Department staffs four (4) ALS Engine companies, one (1) ALS Truck company and five (5) ALS Ambulances 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. In addition to five (5) ALS ambulances staffed with a minimum of one (1) Firefighter-Paramedic and one (1) Emergency Medical

Technician, every Engine and Truck company is staffed with a minimum of one (1) Firefighter-Paramedic and/or Fire Engineer-Paramedic. SMFD employs 105 personnel including those assigned to Emergency Services, Fire Prevention and Administrative Services. Fifty-six (56) of the seventy-five (75) field personnel are licensed, Paramedics.

EMS SERVICE AREA PROGRAM MANAGEMENT

To provide continuous EMS program oversight, the EMS program is managed within the Department’s Emergency Services Division. Under the direction of the Fire Chief, EMS Program leadership and management is provided by a Fire Division Chief, an EMS Program Coordinator (R.N./P.M.) and a Emergency Services Support Specialist. The Department staffs a 24-hour on-duty Battalion Chief to provide field level supervision over all personnel and incident activity.

California’s EMS authority has recognized SMFD as a Continuing Education (CE) Provider for both Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians. The Department maintains trained and certified instructors to deliver these CE classes. In addition, SMFD also maintains a comprehensive ALS Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement Program (QA/QI), designed to identify and address potential or existing clinical, operational or equipment concerns. To learn from experiences and improve upon overall EMS service delivery, QA/QI process outcomes are routinely incorporated into CE case review training sessions.

In addition to providing multiple opportunities and platforms for community public education, the Department also maintains innovative program partnerships and customer feedback outreach efforts. Community outreach events provide education related to health, safety and various life-saving techniques. The Department promotes programs that provide specialized medical referrals and associated services in order to integrate a whole health service approach. By adhering to a whole health service approach, the entire patient is evaluated, not just their immediate concern, thereby promoting an advanced level of care for San Marcos residents.

SUMMARY

Through dedicated leadership, integrity, safety, competency, and customer service the San Marcos Fire Department has provided emergency medical services since 2001. SMFD encourages and maintains continual education and training, keeping personnel current on all certifications, licenses, protocols, and best practices. Two-thirds of SMFD workforce are licensed Paramedics, creating a highly trained medical team on scene. Incorporating education and training, SMFD manages a quality assurance program overseeing emergency medical services while maintaining excellent customer service. SMFD provides community outreach education and professional emergency medical services connecting, empowering, educating, and acting as advocates for members of the community and offering resources to improve overall health.

SMFD is prepared to grow with the population and continue to provide innovative, cost-effective and consistent service to all members of the San Marcos community. The Department looks forward to continuing to improve and is always seeking avenues to increase our level of service to the community.

San Marcos firefighters help CSUSM students test drone technology

During a wildfire simulation, students explored how drones could deliver hoses to crews

Last month North County firefighters gathered in San Marcos for a wildfire simulation, but this wasn’t your typical training.
The City of San Marcos rallied crews from several cities to help California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) students test a drone technology that could improve how wildfires are fought.

“Firefighters spend a lot of time and energy shuttling hoses from the engine to the actual wildfire,” explained Nick Blaylock, one of the students involved. “And they’re often doing this up steep slopes and across rough terrain, which is exhausting.”

Drones, however, could possibly help crews conserve some energy by air-dropping those hose- packs so firefighters don’t have to haul them. As part of a senior project, Blaylock and four other students spent months exploring that with Skylift Global, a San Marcos-based company that makes drones capable of delivering supplies to first-responders.
Though Skylift Global has been in business for three years, serving firefighters is new territory it wanted to explore–so the company submitted a proposal for the Senior Experience Program, which assigns CSUSM students to real-world projects like these.
The students began by researching what crews face during a wildfire. That led them to San Marcos Fire Battalion Chief James Colston, who oversees the department’s training and safety division.“We’re fortunate to have Cal State San Marcos right here in our backyard, so we were happy to help,” he said. “We invited them to observe our annual training, which I think opened their eyes.”

It did, in fact, says Blaylock. His team realized that a drone probably couldn’t help much during the early stages of a wildfire because the flames are too unpredictable. But it likely could help during the later stages, when a fire border has been established.
Based on that, the students designed a simulation that included fire hose packs every 100-feet, as if a drone had peppered them out for crews. Now, all they needed were firefighters to run the test.

“Thankfully, Chief Colston got an amazing turnout for us,” Blaylock said. “We were so thankful that so many firefighters were willing to come volunteer their time on a Sunday morning to help us.”

During the May 6 simulation, firefighters from the cities of San Marcos, Carlsbad, Escondido and Rancho Santa Fe—as well as the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE)—participated. Results showed that if crews did not have to manually haul hose packs, they worked about 18 percent faster—and theoretically, would be less fatigued during a real wildfire.

“While time is a good measurement, fatigue is really the key factor,” explained Colston, who added that he can see the potential support drones could provide. “If something like this can increase efficiency while reducing the chance of firefighters getting hurt, then I’m all for it.”
That exact sentiment is what inspired Amir Emadi to start Skylift Global. His father was working as a United States cooperative in Iraq when he was killed by Iraqi forces while protecting a city.

“Since then, I’ve spent my life finding a way to introduce technology to the people who dedicate their lives to protect us,” Emadi said. “I formed Skylift to help our first-responders save time, money and lives by delivering their critical supplies with our heavy-lift drones.”
As a next step, Emadi will use the research conducted by the CSUSM students to develop a plan to bring the drones to market. There are still hurdles to navigate, as drones are legally not allowed to be in the air during a wildfire, but Emadi is optimistic he can keep the momentum going.

“It was refreshing to work with such a driven, intelligent and responsible team,” he said, adding that although the CSUSM students have now graduated, some have remained interns and he hopes to hire them. “I am so thankful that San Marcos is home to such bright young talent like this, as well as city leaders who value innovation and are open to collaboration.”

For more information about Skylift Global, visit https://www.skyliftglobal.com/

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