Saturday, March 28, 2009

March 27, 2009 -- 2nd-Alarm Special Call for San Jose Fire

Support Unit 2 Makes Its Inaugural Run

Well, the big day finally arrived! After being in service for a week, our new Support Unit 2 has logged its first run.

Fire Associates was paged on Friday, March 27 at 10:34 P.M. to a house fire in central San Jose. Located at 1988 Hicks Avenue, the fire consumed a bedroom and its contents. Tragically, the lone occupant of the home was in the bedroom and died in the fire.

John Whiteside responded to the call in Support Unit 2. He was met on scene by FASCV member John Whitaker. Together, they put the new rig into action. Although there were some "getting acquainted" teething pains for the new vehicle, it performed flawlessly.

Initially, when the generator was started up, the area lights did not work. It took a minute or two to realize that the circuit breakers needed to be turned on (duh!). In addition, the two John's were not used to setting up the coffee service on a folding table instead of the tailgate and there were the expected, "Hey John, do you know where......?" type of issues. It took a little longer to find and run extension cords as well as locate a 3-way adapter that was needed, but, the whole operation will run smoother next time.

Firefighters had nothing but admiration for the vehicle and the effort by FASCV to make it a reality. There were many "tours" given throughout the evening.

The night was a comfortable 56 degrees with no wind, but coffee was still a popular item as firefighters waited for Homicide officers to finish their investigation and the Coroner's office to remove the remains. The Support Unit was finally released at 1:30 A.M.

A San Jose Mercury news report can be read at: Woman Dies in House Fire

John Whitaker's photos are at this link: SJS - Hicks Ave. Fire

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Switch-over a Success -- FSU 2 Now In Service

Thanks to the efforts of FASCV Fleet Manager Don Gilbert and President John Whitaker, the new FSU 2 is now stocked and fully supplied. Starting at 9:00 A.M. on Thursday morning, March 19, the switch-over took approximately 6 hours to complete. Fortunately, the weather was warm and sunny as the rigs were put side-by-side at the rear of Station 26.

The main task was figuring out where everything would fit. The two units, although similar in arrangement, are very different in size. Everything that fit on the old unit (inside
and out) now fits entirely enclosed in the new unit! The new configuration ensures that all supplies will be kept secure and entirely out of the weather.

Some last-minute issues arose concerning the requirement to use the Nederman exhaust extraction equipment at SJFD Station 26. The problem was solved when the Department agreed to move the currently unstaffed Brush Patrol 26 to temporary quarters until the fire season. This meant that our rig could use the existing Nederman system.

However, to use the system, our Support Unit needed its exhaust modified
to fit the extraction adapter. The dual exhaust tips were cut and a single pipe was welded on. In addition, a remote transmitter had to be wired in place so the exhaust extraction fans will activate when the engine is started. It is hoped that new exhaust extraction equipment will be installed in our original bay before Brush Patrol 26 is returned and manned for the summer.

We will keep you posted when Support Unit 2 makes its first official run. We can't wait!

New "Support Unit 2" Now In Service!

Thursday, March 19, 2009 was a day that was two years in the making. Our new Fire Support Unit 2 went into service. It all began with a proposal made to the FASCV Board almost 2 years ago and culminated with the placing of our brand new Ford F-550, 4x4, custom-designed and built rig now sitting in the equipment bay at SJFD Station 26. This day ended a lot of hard work by some dedicated members who had a vision.

The following press release was sent to local community newspapers to announce the event:

"Fire Associates of the Santa Clara Valley has just put a new vehicle into service. The Ford F550-based support unit is the first new vehicle the group has had in its 40-year history. Funded entirely by donations, the group responds to all multiple-alarm fires in Santa Clara County.

The new, $70,000 vehicle was made possible by a highly successful fundraising drive. It replaces an aging 1990 Dodge 4x4 that has been on its last legs for several years. But, the old rig served the group well. Even though its odometer stopped working long ago at 120,000 miles and it has been overloaded with equipment and supplies, it has not missed one of the fires to which it was dispatched. A remarkable record for a self-supported, volunteer group with used equipment!

Fire Associates operates a total of three support units that are based at various fire stations throughout the county. Each unit has been custom-built to provide a variety of rehab services. Their presence at a fire like the 2002 Santana Row fire is a welcome sight to exhausted firefighters. Each vehicle can provide hot coffee, tea or cocoa; ice-cold water or lemonade; quick-nutrition bars; easy-up shelters for protection from the elements; and misting fans for cooling down on a hot day. And, if a fire extends across a meal hour, Fire Associates has the ability to facilitate meal delivery and the equipment to serve it to all the personnel on scene.

As the 2009 fire season begins, Fire Associates celebrates their 40th year of volunteer service to the eleven fire departments located within the county. Averaging 85 responses a year, the organization provides canteen and rehab support during major emergency incidents, fire department drills, and special events. Formed in 1969 by a group of fire buffs - people with a common interest in the fire service - they provide their services 24 hrs. a day, 7 days a week in all types of weather conditions."

Fire Associates would like to thank all the organizations and individuals who contributed to this effort.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

March 10, 2009 -- 2nd-Alarm Response for Santa Clara County Fire

On Tuesday evening, March 10, Fire Associates was paged at 7:48 P.M. by Santa Clara County Fire to a 2nd-alarm structure fire. Located at 10600 Morengo Drive in Cupertino, the fire involved a single- family home. Jerry Haag responded to the request in Support Unit 1. Jerry has submitted the following report:

Date: 10 Mar. 2009
Time: 1948-Sonitrol Dispatch, 2017-Arrival, 0020-Released
Type: Structure Fire

Details: Single story, single-family, detached dwelling, Eichler-type, occupied. Fire started in a bedroom and spread into roof. Fire as blowing out the window upon arrival of SJS E-15 - first due auto aid. Three residents displaced. Severe exposure on D side which got the first attack line. Minor damage to exposure dwelling, fire building severely damaged. All attack lines from SJS E-15. (2-1-3/4", 1-1-1/2" and 1- 2-1/2"). Water supply through 600' of 5" laid by CNT E-1. Other responding companies were T-1, T-111 running as T-14, E-2, E-7, E-9, HM-2, BS-2 and R-17. IC was B-7 (Steve Prziborowski).

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Station 2 Equipment Moves to New Quarters

As many of you know, San Jose's Fire Station 2 is being rebuilt. During the construction period, Sation 2 equipment has been moved to temporary quarters. Engine and Patrol 2 are now housed in a facility on the corner of Alum Rock Ave. and N. Cragmont Ave. Truck 2 is housed in an available bay at Station 34, 1634 Las Plumas Ave.

Now, thanks to long-time FASCV member Pete Rowe, we have photos of the two temporary homes. Pete has provided us with a photo of the station that is being rebuilt, 2 photos of the temporary garage facility on Alum Rock Ave., and a photo of the new Station 34. Click on this link to Pete's photos: Station 2 Photos

Pete also reports, "I spoke with the Engine 2 crew and they said that since Truck 2 now has a LONG run up my way, the Brush Patrol will be staffed with a paramedic. This way, if they are out on a call with the engine, they can break away for medical calls here on the east side. Of course, if I really need a truck, I suppose 16 is my closest."

Located at 2933 Alum Rock Ave., between Capitol and White Rd., Fire Station 2 was built in 1947. It has the distinction of having the highest volume of service calls at any single fire station in San José and, for that matter, the entire County. In Fiscal Year 2004-2005, Fire Station 2 saw 4,007 calls for service.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

FASCV Helps Celebrate SJFD's 155th Anniversary

On Thursday, February 26, San Jose Fire Department held a ceremony to honor the department's 155th Anniversary. Begun in 1854, the San Jose Fire Department is believed to be the second oldest paid fire department in the nation. San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed was on hand with other dignitaries to present a City declaration to SJFD Chief Darryl Von Raesfeld.

Fire Associate members were also at the event with an exhibit that showed the 40-year history of our organization. Titled "40 Years of Service to the San Jose Fire Department", the exhibit had a then-to-now theme. Ed Del Prete offered his original FASCV helmet do be displayed alongside today's helmet. Also on display were San Jose Mercury-News news articles from the 1970's describing the group's early days of operation. Spread out around the 8-foot table were photographs of FASCV Rehab operations from the late 1980's until the present. Located on easels behind the display were color enlargements of the FASCV brochure.

Highlight of the FASCV exhibit was our new Support Unit 2. At the request of Batt. Chief Kevin Conant, our rig was prominently parked next to the B1 Command Vehicle directly in front of the station. It received a lot of admiring attention throughout the morning.

John Whitaker's photos of the event can be viewed at: SJFD's 155th Anniversary