Special Teams and Programs
The fire service has seen tremendous change in the last thirty years. No longer providing just fire suppression, the modern day fire department now provides a multitude of emergency services requiring specialized training and certification. Below are descriptions of the special programs within the Fairfield Fire Department
- Emergency Medical Response. Easily the single most significant change to the fire service was the addition of emergency medical response to the departments primary role. Today, EMS calls constitute fully 80 percent of fire department responses. The department dispatches to all medical emergencies with a minimum of one Paramedic per engine. Currently, all department members are either Paramedic or EMT-1 level certified.
- Hazardous Materials Team. As far back as November 2001, meetings of the Solano County Terrorism Working Group identified the lack of capability to respond and effectively mitigate major hazardous materials emergencies in Solano County. A plan was developed and initiated for the formation of a Hazardous Materials Response Team within Solano County. The Fairfield Fire Department played a major role in securing the needed funding to initiate the program. Today, this multi agency hazardous materials team is made up of 25 to 28 members from Fairfield and other local fire and law enforcement agencies. Members are trained to the hazardous materials technician and specialist levels, and are certified through the California State Fire Training Institute. The Solano County Office of Emergency Services provides program oversight and support for the team. The team became operational on January 1, 2005. Each team member trains twice a month and attends the annual "Haz-Mat Challenge Workshop". The hazardous materials response vehicle is currently housed at Fire Station 38 on Union Avenue, Fairfield.
- The Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) Team was created out of a need for specialized training in the area of trench rescue, above ground, and confined space emergencies. Under the leadership of Captain Monty Fortney, a fire department rescue team was established with the assistance of grants and donations from various organizations in the community. Team members have received specialized training to include confined-space rescue operations, trench rescue operations, and technical rescue operations (Rescue Systems I), which is recognized by the California State Fire Training Institute. Confined-space rescue capabilities are essential and required by OSHA in order to legally make confined-space rescues. The availability of the Confined Space Rescue Team is critical both to local industry as well as to our city’s water treatment and sewer treatment operations. Because of this need, local industry and businesses have stepped up to financially support our fire department team with the purchase of equipment and ongoing training.
- Fire Investigation Team. The California Fire Code charges the fire chief with the responsibility of investigating the cause and origin of every fire. In our department, a team of volunteer investigators performs this function for suspicious fires. The majority of fires are investigated and documented by the shift captains and the responding fire crews. However, if there is a fatality, a high-dollar loss, or any other unusual circumstance, the fire investigation team will be paged to respond to the scene. These team members are volunteers and respond on their days (or nights) off in the event of a call-out.