People call the fire department when they don't know who else to call. This means that firefighters not only have to be proficient in the incidents to which they respond every day, but the full spectrum of possible emergencies in the community. The City of Orange is unique in that it possesses so many different types of emergency challenges including the following:
The Santa Ana River, Santiago Reservoir and Santiago Creek
Commuter and cargo rail lines
High pressure petroleum pipelines
Wildland/Urban interface (WUI)
Given the wide range of possible emergencies that can occur in the city, the Orange City Fire Department trains for them all. Firefighters "hope for the best, but plan for the worst."
Emergency dispatchers are the "first first responders." Metro Cities Fire Authority, commonly known as Metro Net, serves the citizens of seven cities including the City of Orange. The center dispatches fire and emergency medical services for more than 1.2 million people and an area covering over 200 sq. miles within Orange County.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
Calls for medical aid account for approximately 80% of the incident responses by the Orange City Fire Department. Paramedics obtain their certifications after a rigorous six-month specialized training regimen. Then, they continue training throughout their time in assignment. All emergency responders are emergency medical technicians (EMT’s), and have to continually train to maintain their certifications.
The fire department responds to fires, but most people don’t know how many different kinds of fires there are, and how different the dangers of each can be. Firefighters have to be aware of different sets of tactics and safety concerns for house fires, “center-hallway” apartment fires, commercial fires, industrial fires, wildland fires, high-rise fires and even vehicle fires. In short, books can be written about each type of fire. There is an incredible amount of information that has to be learned and retained by all firefighters to enable them to work effectively on the fireground. One thing is for sure: any mistake made on any type of fire can lead to severe injury or fatalities, so firefighters spend a tremendous amount of time training for all aspects of the different type fires that they face.
Hazardous Materials Releases
What happens when a chemical tanker rolls over and spills its load? Ther fire department responds! All suppression personnel are trained to the Hazardous Materials First Responder Operational level, which includes training in identifying chemicals, starting the evacuation process, stabilizing incidents and mitigating them. From small oil spills in the street to leaking chemical tanker rail cars, Orange City Fire Department crews are able to intervene safely and effectively.
Urban Search and Rescue (US&R)
These technical rescues can involve ropes and rigging, breaching wood frame or cement walls, floors and roofs, lifting and moving heavy objects, shoring walls, roof structures, windows and doors, swift water, confined spaces, trenches and more. A minimum of five technical rescue classes are required for certification as an Urban Search and Rescue Technician. A large number of Orange City Fire Department personnel are "US&R certified," and several members serve on the California Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 5 (CA TF-5), a federal team that responds to local, State and national incidents.
There are two main ways the fire department protects the community from terrorism: prevention and response. Through collaboration with county and federal agencies, as well as through the implementation of the Terrorism Liaison Officer (TLO) program, specially trained individuals gather and share intelligence deemed to be a threat to the public. Firefighters are kept apprised of the current, relevant international and national information to maintain the highest possible degree of readiness and tactical awareness.
If an incident were to take place, fire department personnel would respond with the knowledge and experience they have gained by training for just such an event. Specifically, first responders are trained to handle all types of terrorist events whether they involve chemicals, biological weapons, radiation, nuclear devices and/or explosives. First responders take initial actions and call for specialized resources depending upon the type of incident they face. They also notify appropriate local, State and Federal agencies to coordinate the response.
Traffic Collisions and Physical Rescue
Non-deployed air bags, alternative-fuel vehicles, high-strength body components and crumple zones are a few of the hazards and difficulties firefighters face when they arrive on scene of a traffic collision. There are many critical functions that need to occur quickly and safely on a traffic collision with an associated physical rescue to insure the safety of the responders and the patient.
There are other incidents that occur rarely, and are difficult to pre-plan. Firefighters have to use a combination of knowledge and skills that they have learned by training for other types of incidents, and apply them to situations that nobody could have imagined. Frequent training, operational discipline and resourcefulness are needed on every incident, no matter how routine it may seem.
The Orange Fire Department prides itself on being able to respond at any time to any emergency as well-trained and as professionally as possible. To do this, an intense regimen of training is required to be completed all emergency response personnel followed by regular refresher training. All of this is coordinated by the staff captain assigned to the training function, with the exception of emergency medical services training which is coordinated by the emergency medical services manager. The training officer also functions as the department's safety officer during major incidents, coordinates the fire department involvement in recruitment and promotional processes, ensures that all personnel comply with local, state and federal mandates for continuing education requirements, coordinates advanced and specialized training for the various rescue and emergency response disciplines, and interfaces with other agencies to assist with training issues related to coordinated response.
Routine and Mandated Training
All types of emergency response require training. In the past, individual fire departments determined what training the department would provide to its members. As can be imagined, there was quite a range of the amount and quality of training programs throughout the State. Nowadays, many of the services that the fire department provides are regulated by CAL-OSHA, and require a certain amount of training hours per year. This means that the training officer has to coordinate “engine company maintenance skills,” “truck company maintenance skills,” technical rescue training, miscellaneous training and regional training (joint training with other fire departments).
Safety Officer Function
The training officer also functions as the incident safety officer on most major incidents whether they involve fire, hazardous materials, mass casualties, terrorist events, traffic collisions, high-rises, technical rescues, disasters or any other emergencies. The incidents to which fire department personnel respond are often unstable, dynamic events that require the assignment of a safety officer. This assignment helps to prevent a secondary incident from occurring as a result from responding to the first one. The Orange City Fire Department is proud and fortunate to have an intensive training program resulting in more efficient and effective emergency responses to our residents, businesses and visitors while maintaining the safety of the emergency response personnel.
North Net Fire Training Center
Established in 1978, North Net Training Center is managed in cooperative agreement with the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove and Orange. The facility develops and administers various educational and training programs such as: promotional exams, certification exams for fire apparatus operators, Urban Search and Rescue skills training, technical rescue training, and re-certification exams for fire department E.M.T. personnel. North Net Training is a leader in progressive training and is constantly active in planning, research and development of new firefighting, rescue & emergency management techniques. North Net Training Center is also committed to training the Fire Service Leaders of the future and offers a variety of Fire Officer classes and leadership training.
North Net Fire Training Center (map & directions) 2400 E. Orangewood Ave. Anaheim, CA 92806 Phone: (714) 978-7304 | Fax: (714) 634-3676 Hours: 0800-1700 M-F