San Francisco, seen from north Skyline Blvd - Courtesy of Lieven Leroy
Inside the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade - May 2015
By Steve Johnson
Inside the Fire Brigade
Our firefighters are dispatched by San Mateo County via text massage and radio pagers. We respond to most calls within 10 minutes or less.
When you dial 911 from a land line phone, the call goes to the San Mateo County dispatch center in Redwood City. The dispatcher can see your location (address) based on phone company records. They will ask the nature of your emergency. The use a computer to determine which emergency units to dispatch. Kings Mountain Fire has three primary vehicles that respond – two fire engines and a rescue truck. The rescue is used primarily for medical aids and vehicle accidents. County also dispatches a Cal Fire engine or other apparatus.
If you call 911 from a cell phone, the call goes to the CHP in Vallejo. They do not know your location, so you will need to tell them. It helps to say you are in San Mateo County. Once they have your location and emergency, they will transfer the call to San Mateo County.
There is another option for cell phone emergencies – call 650-363-4911. This will connect you directly to the County Dispatch Center. You will still need to give them your location, but you will save time getting help going.
When County dispatches us, they will send a radio page that “tones out” our firefighters and gives a verbal message with the location and nature of the emergency, and how to respond. – e.g., vehicle accident with injuries xxx Skyline Blvd. Cross of County Road, respond code 3 (lights and siren). They also send a text message with the same information. Firefighters then drop what they are doing (or wake up and get dressed if it’s 3 AM), jump in their vehicles and respond to the fire station.
Next Month: I’ll talk about how the fire department is dispatched, and what happens when you dial 911.
Safety Tip of the Month – Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Every home should have a smoke and CO detector on every level of the home. Bedrooms also need smoke detectors. There are two types of smoke detectors – ionization and photo-electric. Photo-electric visually detect smoke in the air; ionization detectors work by combustion products ionizing the air in the detectors. The best detectors have both. Detectors can be hard-wired into your electrical system, or can be battery only. All detectors should be tested periodically and batteries replaced as needed, usually once a year. Your life is worth more than a $2 battery. Any time a smoke alarm goes off, check first to see that it’s not a false alarm, and call 911 if there’s any doubt. The fire department would rather respond to a tiny fire than watch a house go up in flames!
Contact me at sfjohns[at]pacbell[dot]net for more information.