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California

Operations

 

The Sutter County Fire Department is an all risk agency that provides fire protection for most unincorporated areas of Sutter County and contract services for the city of Live Oak. The department was formed in 1996 with the merger of the Live Oak, Sutter and Oswald-Tudor fire departments. The department consists of three stations that are constantly staffed round the clock, 24/7 (Live Oak (station 5), Sutter (station 6), Oswald-Tudor (station 8), and two volunteer stations, East Nicolaus (station 85), and Pleasant Grove (station 9). The stations are numbered according to a county wide system, with stations 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 located in Yuba City, and station 65 located in Meridian.

The department is responsible for providing fire protection and prevention, emergency medical care, hazardous materials mitigation and rescue operations for the citizens of Sutter County. There are automatic and mutual aid agreements in place with all other agencies in the county. They include: the Yuba City fire department, Meridian Fire Protection District and the Sutter Basin Fire Protection District (Robbins Fire Department).

Each station implements Constant Staffing and has personnel consisting of one career captain on each shift (A,B,C) and one career fire engineer at stations 8 and 6 and three career fire engineers at station 5. Personnel work a 48/96 schedule (48 hours on, 96 hours off). This staffing is augmented by approximately 10 to 15 volunteer firefighters, volunteer engineers and volunteer lieutenants assigned to each station.

Daily Activities

 

Shift change is at 7 AM at all stations. The oncoming shift is briefed on any matters that need to be passed along. The oncoming captain then logs on to FIREHOUSE, a computerized record keeping program used by many fire departments. FIREHOUSE tracks: personnel and hours, emergency incident reporting, training, equipment maintenance schedules and business inspection activities. Each day daily checks are done on all Apparatus and a weekly check is focused on specific apparatus according to a pre-determined schedule. The weekly equipment check is an in depth inspection of both the apparatus and all of the tools and equipment it carries. once the daily and weekly checks are completed the on duty crews are then free to concentrate on any other projects that have been assigned to them. some of these duties are: business inspections, fire hydrant maintenance and testing, administrative projects, drills, public education and maintenance of apparatus, equipment and stations. after 4 PM, Firefighters are able to work out on the physical fitness equipment that is found at each station. Firefighters also have the option of working out before 9 AM if they desire. Of course all of these activities are subject to change due to emergency calls. In the morning, the station is cleaned so it is ready for the next shift, and when the oncoming shift arrives the routine is repeated.

Training

 

Training drills occur on Tuesday's and are focused on a different topic each week. Fire department personnel are required to attend a specified minimum number of drills. Unscheduled drills are also conducted during other days of the week. All career personnel and some volunteer personnel are certified by the California Specialized Training Institute as Hazardous Materials Specialists. To maintain this certification, 24 hours of continuing education are required each year, obtained by attending classes, seminars and drills. Many of the remaining volunteers are certified to the operational level. This gives them the training to respond in a defensive manner to any hazardous materials incident. In addition, career personnel and some volunteers are certified in Advanced Technical Rescue: Rescue Systems, Trench Rescue and Confined Space Rescue. This also requires that certified personnel have yearly training. Many volunteers are certified by the State Fire Marshall and have been through a basic fire academy. This gives them the skills necessary to perform the arduous duties of a firefighter. All career firefighters and most volunteers are certified as Emergency Medical Technicians. 24 hours of continuing education each 2 years are also required here to maintain certification. Some volunteer personnel work locally at other agencies as career firefighters, EMT's or paramedics.