By Sam Skopp
Saturday May 13 was Santa Monica’s Fire Service Day, with the various fire stations located throughout town opening their doors to visitors from the community and discussing some of what they do on the job.
The four fire stations in the city, located on 7th Street, Hollister Avenue, 19th Street and Ashland Avenue all offered station tours and souvenirs for children to visitors throughout the day.
Robert Otani is a recruit at the station on Hollister Avenue, and has been at the station for two months, having finished his training in November of 2016. Otani explained that holding a city-wide Fire Service Day is a great opportunity to connect with the community they’re tasked with serving.
“We have a direct relation with the public,” Otani said. “They’re our customers and we provide a service on a daily basis. For us to be a positive face for them in the community and to build a relationship between us and them is vital.”
In order to prepare for the day, both the firefighters at the 7th Street and Hollister stations spent extra time cleaning and preparing their stations. Otani explained that, since it’s taxpayer money supporting them, it was important go the extra mile.
“We take a lot of pride in our equipment,” he said.
Many of the visitors to the stations were families, with children excited to meet firefighters and receive a hat and sticker or sit in a fire engine, while some of the adults discussed fire safety in person with some of the crew.
“They entrust is to go in their homes, and with their safety and wellbeing,” said Otani, stressing why it’s important to connect with community members and likewise learn about some of their concerns. “That way they can become more knowledgeable about what we do, and in turn we can have a better relationship with the community.”
For more information about Santa Monica’s Fire Department, visit santamonicafire.org.