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Fire prevention and safety

By: Folsom City Manager Elaine Andersen
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Last month, the City of Folsom formally opened Folsom Fire Station 39, a state-of-the-art single-story fire station located in the Empire Ranch community at 2139 Ritchie Street. Fire Station 39 brings the total number of fire stations within Folsom city limits to five and is an improvement to the city’s emergency response network. This new facility further supports the life-saving work of the Folsom Fire Department and positions our highly-trained first responders where they can quickly and effectively respond when they are needed most.

The station entered service on Sept. 11 and our personnel assigned there got right to work. We have already seen improved response times. The first emergency incident occurred within an hour after opening, and crews have been responding to emergencies ever since, including strokes, cardiac events, vehicle accidents and vegetation fires.

For more than 160 years, the Folsom Fire Department has bravely protected life and property here in our community. Every day, I hear from residents about what an extraordinary job the fire department does to support our community, and this facility marks another chapter of that legacy. 

This year has proven to be a record-setting one in California (and unfortunately, not in a good way), with some of the most deadly and destructive fires in our state’s history. We saw just how unpredictable and powerful these disasters can be as California’s largest wildfire burned more than 450,000 acres in Mendocino County.

As emergency and disasters have no boundaries, the City of Folsom regularly lends support to other jurisdictions in times of need. Through California’s mutual aid system, the Folsom Fire Department has responded when called upon and has provided support for just about every major wildfire within our state throughout 2018, as well as assisted with Hurricane Florence response in North Carolina. One Folsom Fire Department firefighter is currently assigned to a wildfire in Shasta County, and all other personnel have safely returned home.

These recent wildfires underscore the importance of emergency preparedness. This week, the Folsom Fire Department is teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association to promote Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” The campaign works to educate the public about basic, but essential ways to quickly and safely escape a home fire. The campaign highlights three steps people can take to help quickly and safely escape a fire:

Look for places fire could start.

Listen for the sound of the smoke alarm.

Learn two ways out of every room.

The department kicked off Fire Prevention Week with an open house and pancake breakfast on Saturday, Oct. 6. More than 650 community members attended, met fire personnel, toured the station, and learned important safety tips. Aspiring young future firefighters – many dressed in their fire chief Halloween costumes – even got a chance to use a hose to put out a small, controlled blaze with the help of our personnel and volunteers.

The City of Folsom urges residents to sign up for alerts and important safety notifications in the event of an emergency. Remember that these types of events that often occur with little to no warning, so preparedness ahead of time is key.

All public safety agencies in Sacramento, Yolo and Placer counties offer a state-of-the-art community emergency notification system, also known as Reverse 9-1-1, to alert residents about emergency events and other important public safety information. Registering will allow public safety officials to text, call cell phones or landline phones, or email in the event of a disaster. Each county has an associated website: sacramento-alert.org, yolo-alert.org and placer-alert.org.

Residents can stay up-to-date on Folsom public safety news and information with the public notification service Nixle. This service provides real-time alerts via email and text message on local crimes, fires, storms and other important public safety issues. Learn more and sign up at folsom.ca.us/police.

Folsom is very fortunate to have extensive public safety volunteer programs supporting our community, including the Fire Safe Council, Community Emergency Response Team and Folsom Citizens Assisting Public Safety. They are important tremendous resources in preventing and responding to a crisis in Folsom, and we are so grateful for these dedicated volunteers.

The City of Folsom and our partners work hard to ensure that our community is well-prepared for an emergency, and I encourage you to be prepared at your home or business. Please carve out some valuable time to learn more about Fire Prevention Week and home escape planning at firepreventionweek.org or folsom.ca.us/fire.

Please contact me with your suggestions and feedback! I can be reached at eandersen@folsom.ca.us or 916-461-6010.