The Five Cities Fire Authority (FCFA) provides many services to the public, from fire suppression to community outreach. As stated in our Mission Statement, “The Mission of the Five Cities Fire Authority is to provide the highest level of service possible by mitigating threats to life, property, and the environment while meeting the growing needs of our communities.” Below are some of the services that we provide to accomplish our mission statement.
The FCFA provides fire suppression of all types of fires including: structure, vegetation, vehicle, and any other miscellaneous fires. The department accomplishes this through the use of a variety of fire apparatus, tools and training. Fire department personnel spend hundreds of hours a year training to be prepared to fight fires. The firefighters work in companies, or better described as “in small teams,” based on the type of fire and apparatus they respond to the fire with, e.g. an engine is an Engine Company, a ladder truck is a Truck Company, etc.
When fighting a structure fire, the firefighters may choose a variety of tactics to safely and efficiently combat the fire. One of those tactics requires timing between each team. The timing is a combination between one team ventilating a structure while other team deploys hose lines to put water on the fire and extinguish it. To accomplish this; the team assigned to ventilation will go to the roof of the structure and locate the area directly above the fire to cut a hole in the roof. This hole allows the super heated toxic gases (smoke) from the fire to exit the structure and clears out the inside of the structure of the super heated toxic gases (smoke), allowing the interior firefighting team with the hose lines to find the seat of the fire and extinguish it. In addition, the release of the super heated toxic gases (smoke) allows trapped victims to breath air that is a little cleaner until firefighters can find them and bring them to safety. Every tactic the fire department personnel uses requires the team to work safely and efficiently accomplish the mission.
The FCFA also provides the only ladder truck in the south San Luis Obispo County area and responds to incidents anywhere from Avila Beach, through the Five Cities area, and Nipomo. This ladder truck has a platform on the end of the ladder for rescuing people who are trapped on the upper floors of a structure. These victims may not be able to climb down a ladder safely. The platform acts as an elevator and will safely bring the victims down to the ground. The ladder truck platform is also used for transporting firefighters and their tools to the upper floors or roof of a structure so to accomplish the firefighting tactics described earlier.
Wild land firefighting is one of the most visible responsibilities of all fire departments throughout California. Every year in California we see small to large vegetation fires on the news. California’s beautiful weather and topography make the state susceptible to these vegetation fires. The Five Cities Fire Authority participates in what is known as the California Master Mutual Aid Plan and we provides assistance across the entire state of California. Under this plan all fire departments within the state assist each other when large scale emergencies occur.
Under the contract with the California Emergency Management Agency, also known as CalEMA, the Five Cities Fire Authority is provided a state-owned fire engine for use within our jurisdictions for response to emergencies on a day to day basis and in return when CalEMA needs us to respond to a large scale incident, we provide personnel and respond this state owned fire engine to the incident anywhere within or outside the State of California.
Emergency Medical Services
The FCFA responds to a variety of emergency medical calls on a regular basis. These emergency medical calls include but are not limited to cardiac arrest, difficulty breathing, diabetic emergencies, and trauma. All emergency response personnel who are employed by the Five Cities Fire Authority are required at a minimum to have an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification which allows the employees to operate at the basic life support (BLS) level of service during emergency medical incidents. The Emergency Medical Technicians level of training and certification requires all individuals to maintain a CPR and automatic-external defibrillation certification. In addition, each individual must be in the Department of Justice and Motor Vehicles background check system.
The FCFA is a participating agency with the San Luis Obispo County Regional Hazardous Materials Team. The San Luis Obispo County Regional Hazardous Materials Team is funded by all fire agencies throughout the San Luis Obispo County and each fire department provides personnel who are trained in hazardous materials response and are members on the team. Currently, two of our fire department members are members on the regional hazardous materials team and are trained to the level of Hazardous Materials Specialists. The FCFA also has nine other individuals who are state-certified at the level of hazardous materials specialist. When a possible hazardous materials incident occurs within the Five Cities Fire Authority’s response area a minimum of one hazardous materials specialist will respond and assess the situation and determine if the full hazardous materials team is needed. If a true hazardous materials incident does occur the Five Cities Fire Authority will work as part of what is known as a unified command, meaning working with multiple incident commanders from other disciplines such as a representative from law enforcement, environmental health, and also any other agency that may be necessary to help mitigate the incident. In unified command the incident commanders will collaborate, share resources and mitigate the incident as quickly and effectively as possible.
Oceano Dunes Response
The FCFA also provides fire suppression, technical rescue, and emergency medical services to the Oceano Dunes Vehicular Recreation Area. This area is unique to California and provides recreation such as camping and driving on the beach. The Oceano Dunes are a popular tourist destination because of off-highway vehicle recreation as well as other surf and dunes activities. The FCFA utilizes a specialized emergency response vehicle that is designed and equipped to handle the different types of emergencies at the Oceano Dunes.
The FCFA also responds to what is known as technical rescues incidents. Some of these technical rescues incidents are auto extrication, rope rescue, trench rescue, confined space rescue, structural collapse rescue, and water rescue. This list is not all inclusive but identifies some of the common technical rescue incidents within the Five Cities Fire Authority area. The FCFA has a variety of specialized equipment to perform such technical rescues. In order to respond such specialized equipment, the FCFA has a specialized Rescue apparatus that is equipped and designed for technical rescue type incidents. This type of work is also known as Urban Search and Rescue. In addition, the FCFA also participates in the San Luis Obispo County Urban Search and Rescue team.
The FCFA provides fire investigative services within its jurisdiction. Our fire investigators consist of an individual from the Arroyo Grande Police Department and an individual from the Five Cities Fire Authority. This arrangement allows us to works close with local law enforcement agencies in order to investigate arson fires which have successful lead to prosecution in the past. The Five Cities Fire Authority Fire Investigators also are members of the San Luis Obispo County Regional Fire Investigation Strike Team (SLOFIST). This team is made up of investigators from the various fire departments throughout the San Luis Obispo County and these individuals are available for response throughout San Luis Obispo.
The FCFA provides non-emergency assistance to the public. These types of non-emergency incidents include but are not limited to; assistance to the elderly and physically disabled, individuals who are locked out of their automobiles or and smoke or carbon monoxide detector inspections.
The FCFA responds to needs generated by natural or man-made disasters. These include earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorist events, and large fires. In addition to responding to such incidents the FCFA also provides planning and recovery assistance.
The FCFA provides other services in addition to emergency and non-emergency responses. The FCFA provides community outreach programs including public education, training, and non-profit support. The FCFA also provides a fire prevention program to insure the safety of the business place and safety to our community and visitors.
Please visit the individual pages to see how the Five Cities Fire Authority can assist you.