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Protecting Lives, Property and the Environment
Posted on October 3, 2010
Serving the eighth largest city in the United States and the second largest city in California, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department is a multi-faceted organization that provides city residents with fire and life saving services including fire protection, emergency medical services and lifeguard protection at San Diego beaches.
SDFD protects most of Zip Code 92129 and Rancho Penasquitos out of Fire Station 40, located at 13393 Salmon River Road in PQ. In total, SDFD covers 331 square miles and services more than 1.3 million people.
The department’s Maurice Luque, Media Services Manager and spokesperson, provides 92129 Magazine readers with some insight below into the operations at Fire Station 40 and its team of dedicated public servants.
Questions & Answers
92129 Question: What is the structure of the fire station, in terms of personnel and shifts?
Luque: Six personnel on a regular basis each day (four firefighters to staff the truck; and two ambulance/San Diego Medical Services personnel. Fire Station 40 is a “double house” station, meaning there is also an engine based there, but as most (Rancho Penasquitos residents) know the engine is browned out (out of service due to budget restrictions) monthly. There is also a water tender at the station and a brush engine (an off road fire engine.) The staffing is for three distinct shifts – known as “divisions” A, B and C.
92129 Question: When was the station opened, and how does it compare to the other stations in the department?
Luque: Fire Station 40, located at 13393 Salmon River Road in the Rancho Penasquitos community of San Diego, was placed into service in June 1981. In addition to its fire protection, inspection and medical/rescue responsibilities, Station 40 is responsible for the repair, maintenance, and annual inspection and testing of all ground ladders in the department. The firefighters look for loose rivets or nuts, cracks, or other faults. There are three ladders on each engine and 10 ladders on each truck. Besides ladders, Station 40 also repairs small tools with wooden handles such as axes and pike poles.
92129 Question: Many fire stations include pets or mascots, such as a Dalmatian; are there any at the station?
Luque: There are no mascots at any stations in the San Diego Fire Department; however, there are two dogs that participate as part of operations – an arson dog at Fire Station 1 and an Urban Search and Rescue dog at Fire Station 12. They are at the stations only when their handlers/firefighters are on duty.
92129 Question: What is the typical shift at the station?
Luque: Firefighters at Station 40 typically work a 24 hour shift.
92129 Question: Firefighters often become known for their cooking skills – does the station have a resident “top chef”, someone who has a reputation for good meals?
Luque: Firefighter/paramedic Benson Perez is “hands down” the best cook, according the crews at the station. His specialty is “any Mexican food dish.”
92129 Question: How many emergency calls are dispatched from the station per month on average?
Luque: In the most recent 12-month fiscal year, Station 40 dispatched a unit to 3,412 total incidents, including fires and medical/rescue (this number could involve multiple units to the same incident).
92129 Question: What is the most common type of call to which personnel at the station respond?
Luque: Medical – 85 to 90 percent of all calls crews respond to are medical. This is typical of all fire departments anywhere.
92129 Question: What type of on-going training for personnel at the station occurs on a regular basis?
Luque: The training is basically standardized for all fire-rescue personnel. It ranges from manipulative with equipment and apparatus to medical-related training.
92129 Question: What is the most common misconception about firefighters and emergency personnel?
Luque: Many firefighters would say that there are many inaccurate perceptions about their pay and benefits.
92129 Question: Can you describe the best or most gratifying aspect of serving the residents near the station?
Luque: The crews say they are grateful to have the opportunity to be of service to their “neighbors” when the need arises. They also welcome interacting with the community at events and meetings, as well as talking about safety at schools.
92129 Question: How can community residents schedule fire inspections or visits to the station?
Luque: Questions about fire inspections can be directed to the Fire Prevention Bureau at 619-533-4300. Station visits are coordinated by the Public Information Office at 619-533-3780.