Firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) and Fullerton Fire Department trained together in Buena Park on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
“Every day, there (are) incidents in Southern California that cross county and city boundaries,” said LACoFD Fire Captain Chris Rash, who organized the training exercise. “We’re going to be relying on our neighboring fire departments for assistance … Training together is going to set us up for success down the road.”
In the “Santa Maria Incident” scenario, which was run twice, firefighters were called to a simulated three-alarm structure fire at a multi-story building in Buena Park. In addition to laying hose and searching apartments for victims, personnel needed to rescue three people (played by Fire Explorers) trapped on balconies.
The OCFA ran the first exercise; LACoFD, the second.
“The goal of this drill is to practice how you play,” an OCFA captain told the assembled firefighters before they donned their turnouts. “Do it for real.”
The exercise emphasized communication among members of the three agencies in addition to practicing high-rise tactics and strategies, according to LACoFD Fire Captain Chris Rash.
By training together, the hope is that firefighters from the three agencies will be able to work together seamlessly on a large incident.
“It improves the level of service that we’re giving to the community,” Rash said. “We’re all carrying out the same mission.”
Photo slideshow at top: Firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Orange County Fire Authority and Fullerton Fire Department train in Buena Park. Photos by Nicole Mooradian.