LOS ANGELES – The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES ) on Tuesday formally assigned five new Cal-OES-owned Type III fire engines to the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD) to help the local fire agency with its response to wildfires and other emergencies within the city and elsewhere in California.
Tuesday’s assignment is the latest in a series of Cal OES engine assignments completed this year following the purchase of 25 new Type III engines by Cal OES to augment 15 Type III’s that it had previously positioned with local fire agencies around the state as part of the Cal OES Fire Engine Program.
Each engine is capable of navigating water and mud as well as the rough terrain of California’s urban-wildland interface. They are also capable of carrying three to five firefighters and at least 500 gallons of water, as well as pumping 150 gallons per minute at 250 pounds of pressure per square inch
The purchase of the newly assigned engines is based on the recommendation of the Blue Ribbon panel assembled by former Governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger following the 2003 Southern California wildfire siege, as well as the recognition by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., and Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci that Cal OES needed additional resources due to the increased fire potential generated by the state’s four-year drought.
Earlier this year, 20 Type III engines were assigned to fire agencies in 12 counties.
“Let me say how happy we are about the Los Angeles Fire Department becoming part of the Cal OES Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System and the State’s Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “These five engines that are provided to L.A. Fire Department really provide a specialized capability to respond to what we call all-hazards events, whether it’s earthquakes or floods or fires. They’re designed for wildland fires, but they really can be used throughout the state on mutual aid assignments to support all the kinds of events that we deal with here in California, particularly as we see the impacts of this past summer with the increase in wildland fires due to the drought and the climate change issues we’re facing.”
The engines will provide enhanced capability for the entire state as well as the city of Los Angeles and its residents when Cal OES redeploys them “to deal with complex situations throughout the state” through its partnership with LAFD , “Director Ghilarducci said.
The Cal OES Director noted the “great working relationship” between Cal OES and the LAFD in search and rescue operations, communications, incident management and other facets of emergency response and that their assignment and use will help save lives and property.
“We know that these engines, this capability, will be counted on, will be able to be utilized and we ae very proud of the department, our relationship and for these capabilities to be used throughout California,” he said.
“As you know there is no longer a typical brush season in Southern California. It’s year-round. Brush fires strike year round, including a 12-acre fire in the foothills of Sunland, just yesterday,” he said. “These 4×4 off road-capable engines have given LAFD a new tool in our arsenal in the fight against not only brush fires, but other types of emergencies as well.
“I am confident they will be put to good use in whatever rains and floods the forecasted El Nino weather system produces,” LAFD Chief Terrazas added after noting that the press conference marking the engine transfer was being conducted in “one of the nation’s largest urban parks, which itself has seen a number of destructive fires over the years.
He said LAFD is “ready willing and able to assist our partners at Cal OES whenever these engines are called for mutual aid responses throughout the state. The LAFD deployed dozens of firefighters across California this past summer during a historically busy wildfire season. We took our traditional urban Type I engines as part of our strike teams. These new wildland engines give us a flexibility to provide mutual aid while using apparatus that are specifically built for brush and wildland fires.
For more information on the Cal OES Fire Engine Program, click http://www.caloes.ca.gov/cal-oes-divisions/fire-rescue/Fleet.
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