A strike team made up of seven fire fighters from Santa Monica helped fight Los Angeles County’s Station Fire for six days.
They were assigned to structure protection the entire time and assisted with burning out potential fire fuel pockets in a controlled way. Their participation ended on September 3, according to Platoon Commander Jose Torres so the City would have adequate fire fighter staffing for the Pier’s Centennial Celebration.
The Fire Department’s Chief, Jim Hone, has announced his retirement which is currently projected to be on December 29. However, he has offered to stay until the end of January 2010, if requested by the City Manager to help with the transition to the new Fire Chief.
Hone has been Santa Monica’s Fire Chief since October 2003 and he has been with the department for almost 30 years. He has had many achievements and modestly credits obtaining them with the help of others in his department and from others in the City. Among his achievements are reactivation of the Fire Department’s Communication Center with adequate trained staffing and modern technology, State Master Mutual Aid certification for our Type 1 Urban Search and Rescue response team, and consolidation of the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) program with the Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division to better serve the community with hazardous materials reporting and compliance.
Hone has also established a five-year staffing plan to provide “adequate staffing levels within the different Fire Department Divisions” which is temporarily on hold due to the current economic environment. He can also be credited with establishing the I’ve Got 7 Preparedness Campaign to better prepare our community for disasters, establishing the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) training for City employees and the community and having the Fire Department participate in more City committees, programs, and community events.
The Fire Chief also has several projects he hopes to complete before he retires. He hopes to lower insurance rates in the City by obtaining a Class 1 Insurance Services Office rating for Fire Protection and be able to deliver emergency medical services through the use of four person fire engine companies. He is also continuing to work on the construction of Public Safety Storage Facilities “to house reserve emergency response equipment for the Fire and Police Departments and to house sufficient disaster supplies for the City and community.”
Hone hopes also to “determine a new downtown location and obtain adequate funding to replace Fire Station 1” which was built more than 55 years ago at 1444 7th Street and to refurbish a surplus fire engine for use during community events.