San Francisco, seen from north Skyline Blvd - Courtesy of Lieven Leroy
Inside the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Brigade - April 2015
By Steve Johnson
Inside the Fire Brigade
This month’s article brings you inside the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Department. The Fire Department is part of the Fire Brigade and works with other San Mateo County Emergency Service organizations, primarily Cal Fire. The Fire Department has a fire chief, two assistant chiefs and other officers as designated by the chief.
When I joined the Kings Mountain department in 1992, it took me 4 months to complete my basic training and start responding to calls (whoopee!). My first call was at the top of my driveway – a car-motorcycle accident. The training requirements are now greater, but the basics are the same – learn advanced first aid and CPR, learn how to fight fires (both house/property fires and wildland fires) and learn how to rescue people. Training now includes Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification and other skills. I was on about 500 emergency calls during my career, and every one was different. But I (almost) never felt in danger, because of my training and the fact that the other firefighters were always watching my back. The experience of being a volunteer firefighter taught me invaluable skills that I still use. It changed my life, and in a very good way. Consider joining the fire department – it will change your life!
Our firefighters are dispatched by San Mateo County via digital pagers or cell phones as well as radio pagers. We respond to most calls within 10-15 minutes. County Fire usually takes longer to respond.
There is an old rumor that if you didn’t pay your Fire Brigade dues, we wouldn’t respond to an emergency at your house. NOT TRUE. Since its inception the Kings Mountain Volunteer Fire Department has responded to over 7,500 emergencies, saved countless lives and protected over $100 Million in property value.
Next Month: I’ll talk about how the fire department is dispatched, and what happens when you dial 911.
Safety Tip of the Month – Fire Extinguishers
Every home should have a fire extinguisher on every level of the home. You can buy an extinguisher at Home Depot, but if you do buy a “commercial” grade extinguisher. They are re-fillable (it says so on the label) and have a gauge to indicate the level of charge. They also have a rubber hose attached to the nozzle. As long as the gauge is in the green, you should be OK. But you should get your extinguisher inspected every year or two. You can do your own inspection once a year – check the gauge, do a physical inspection, Turn the extinguisher upside down, take a rubber mallet and tap the side of the extinguisher near the bottom. This will loosen the powder in the cylinder, which can get caked over the course of a year. The Fire Department sponsors an extinguisher service day every two years. Our local company will inspect and recharge most extinguishers for $10. They also refurbished commercial extinguishers for $20.
Contact me at sfjohns[at]pacbell[dot]net for more information.