Each year, over 17,000 training hours are logged related to Fire Prevention, Rescue Practices, Fire and Arson Recognition, Emergency Vehicle Operations, Emergency Operations, Hazardous Materials Mitigation Incident Command System and Terrorism Preparedness.
Under the direction of the Battalion Chiefs' Office, the City operates two paramedic ambulances (mobile intensive care units) staffed by two firefighter/ paramedics. Each ambulance contains 12 lead electrocardiogram (EKG) monitors. These devices assist paramedics in identifying acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and offer the capability to transmit event data files via telephone lines or cellular transmission to a hospital emergency room. Automated and chest compression devices are carried on our paramedic ambulances which helps our paramedics deliver high-quality chest compressions to sudden cardiac arrest patients in the field or enroute to the hospital. Two paramedic ambulance units are strategically housed at Fire Stations 71 and 74. The department also has two paramedic assessment fire engines at Fire Stations 72 and 73. These fire engines are staffed with a fire captain, fire engineer and firefighter. To maintain a paramedic assessment engine, one of the three assigned personnel must be a paramedic. A paramedic ambulance is always dispatched to treat a patient and/or transport the patient to a local hospital. The Alhambra Fire Department is authorized by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to use Standing Field Protocols (SFTPs) to treat patients when necessary. This procedure enables paramedics to initiate advanced life support procedures without voice contact for medical direction from a physician.
Automated chest compression devices are carried on our paramedic ambulances which helps our paramedics deliver high quality chest compressions to sudden cardiac arrest patients in the field or enroute to the hospital.
The Alhambra Fire Department is a member of the State of California Office of Emergency Services (OES) Mutual Aid System. OES is comprised of six geographical regions in the State of California with each region divided into several areas that may consist of counties and/or cities. Alhambra is part of Area "C," which also includes Pasadena, Burbank, Glendale, San Marino, South Pasadena, San Gabriel, Monterey Park, Arcadia, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, Monrovia, Montebello, and Vernon. In an emergency, the local agency contacts the Region Coordinator and requests mutual aid companies to assist them with the incident, e.g., earthquake, fire and/or flood. Alhambra is also a partner in a local Mutual Aid pact with Pasadena, South Pasadena, San Marino, San Gabriel, and Monterey Park. This system is utilized on a daily basis for both fire and medical emergencies.
Alhambra is a participant in a Target Hazard Response program within the five-city area. A target hazard is a building or occupancy that has an unusual high life hazard, e.g., a school or hospital. For these incidents, the department dispatches additional equipment to facilitate potential rescue scenarios.
When your house is on fire, or you need emergency medical assistance immediately, you want the closest fire or medical units to be dispatched to your address. But what if you live near a city boundary and the closest fire engine or rescue ambulance belong to another city fire department? Or, what if the fire engine from the station down the street is already on another call? Who will respond to your emergency? Having the closest unit respond immediately to an emergency regardless of jurisdictional boundaries is the key. Thanks to the efforts of 13 Fire Chiefs in AREA C, the citizens in their cities are part of this coordinated assistance.
Back in 2005, Unified Response was developed and has expended to cover 13 cities: Alhambra, Arcadia, Burbank, Glendale, Monrovia, Montebello, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, San Marino, Sierra Madre, South Pasadena, and Burbank, Hope Airport.
Unified Response essentially merged dozens of automatic and mutual-aid agreements between the 13 fire departments into a single automatic aid agreement. This eliminated the time-consuming element inherent in mutual-aid agreements, where permission to share resources is sought and obtained by Communications Center staff, before the units can be dispatched. When your house is on fire, an additional five-minute delay can mean the difference between moderate damage and a total loss. With our Unified Response Automatic-Aid Agreement, this type of permission is not required: the Fire Communications Center immediately dispatches the closest available units to the emergency and everyone works together to handle the incident.
The beauty of Unified Response is that it expands the amount and availability of personnel and equipment that fire departments can use daily for help, and without delay. Where one city might have three fire engines and a Battalion Chief to respond, under Unified Response, they have 52 fire engines, 16 ladder trucks, 5 water tenders, and many other specialized units such as Hazmat and Urban Search and Rescue equipment. The current plan also shares rescue ambulances on an automatic basis. This sharing of specialized apparatus among multiple cities is a prime example of agency cooperation. The collaboration has also been helpful in supporting requests for federal and state grant funding because of the larger multi-jurisdictional service area.
Unified Response is also the foundation for other joint agency opportunities, such as training, allowing us to leverage each others' strengths, resources, and experience for mutual benefits.