Why do I see the fire engine at the grocery store everyday, and who pays for their food?
The firefighters pay for their own food each day. If time permits and they are not busy running calls, you may see them shopping at a grocery store that is within their first-in area--the area in the city that each individual engine or truck is responsible for providing service. Firefighters do not get lunch breaks, or time off during the day, so many times you will see them leave the store while shopping to respond to an emergency call.
Why are there are so many firefighters at medical emergencies and at fire safety inspections?
Everything that we do requires us to work as a team, whatever the emergency. To arrive quickly, we must stay together and close to our fire apparatus (vehicles). Your safety and ours depends on the team being together and ready to respond to aggressively mitigate the emergency to which we have been called.
What information should I have when reporting a 9-1-1 emergency
When reporting a 9-1-1 emergency, be prepared to provide the exact location of the emergency, what is involved (auto, home, vegetation, etc.), number of persons involved, your location, and the phone number you are calling from so that you can be re-contacted if you become disconnected.
If possible, remain at the scene and provide emergency responders with your eyewitness account of what occurred or what occurred at the time of your arrival at the scene.
How long does it take a fire engine to get to a fire or medical emergency after 911 has been called?
It takes between 3-5 minutes for engines to arrive on scene after a 9-1-1 call has been placed.
What is the work schedule for firefighters?
Firefighters are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Currently, our department works what is called a 3/4 schedule. This means our firefighters work a 24-hour shift every other day for five days and are then off for four days. We have three shifts that rotate through this schedule.
When responding to a call in the “middle of the night” do the firefighters have to use the sirens even though traffic is minimal?
Yes, the state vehicle code requires that while responding Code Three, an emergency response vehicle must have all emergency lights on and the siren sounding. A Code Three response is initiated when life, property or the environment is in immediate danger. Some examples are chest pain, difficulty breathing, fire, hazardous materials spill, and auto accidents.)
Why did you chop that big hole in my roof? The fire was in the kitchen, not the attic!
During a structure fire, temperatures inside a structure are often 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. By cutting a hole in the roof and ventilating the building, the heat is allowed to escape through the roof thereby making it safer for firefighters to enter the building and apply water directly on the fire. This extinguishing strategy is key to stopping a structure fire quickly, and actually helps minimize damage to other rooms, and, most importantly, personal belongings.
When I call 9-1-1 for a medical emergency, why does the fire department show up?
The firefighters are the first responders for all medical emergencies. Our six fire stations are strategically located throughout Costa Mesa so that our response times can have a positive effect on medical emergencies. All of the fire engines in Costa Mesa are Paramedic engines and provide Advanced Life Support (ALS), while the ladder trucks are staffed with Emergency Medical Technicians who provide Basic Life Support (BLS). Additionally, while a private ambulance company will charge a fee to show up and provide care, the fire department is a free service for residents of the city.
What do firefighters do when they are not on emergency calls?
Firefighters work 24 hour shifts at their duty station. Training and equipment maintenance takes up a good deal of firefighter’s time when they are not on call. Firefighters constantly train so they are ready to handle any type of emergency. Firefighters also conduct daily fire safety inspections in every business, maintain and clean their stations, and educate the community through events such as school visits and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.
What can I expect when the Fire Department conducts a fire inspection in my place of business?
The Fire Department conducts fire and life safety occupancy inspections in each business within the city on an annual basis. Areas that are inspected include those in which the general public has access. Items such as panic hardware, smoke detectors, fire alarms, automatic fire sprinkler systems and portable fire extinguishers are inspected to ensure operational readiness.
Additionally, exit lights and occupant load signs must be present. Should a violation exist, a Notice of Correction will be issued to the responsible party and generally 21 days will be granted to correct the defects. If additional time is necessary, you may contact the Fire Prevention Bureau and request an extension.
Why does the Fire Department bring the fire engine just for a simple inspection?
Two reasons: First, these inspections are conducted by on-duty engine companies that must be ready to respond to an emergency call from the field. This is why you almost always see the personnel together as a crew and have the fire engine with them when they are out of the fire station. Second, an important part of the value of the public safety inspection is to familiarize your local firefighters with the buildings and businesses in Costa Mesa. While they check for hazards and consult with business owners on how best to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of a fire, they also pre-plan, or familiarize themselves with access points and the layout of the facility.
How often do I need to change the battery in my smoke detector?
We recommend that residents change the batteries in smoke detectors every six months. A good time to change the batteries is during the spring and fall time changes. Change your clock, change your batteries.