Fire Chief's Message
Upon entering the City of Hanford you are struck with a sense of historical significance, of strong family values, and pride in the past, present, and future. In 1891, following a catastrophic fire, forward-thinking citizens sought to prevent such an event from occurring again and the Hanford Fire Department was formed. Memorabilia lines the walls of the stations, showing appreciation and respect for the firefighters who served and sacrificed before. The men and women of the Hanford Fire Department are dedicated to upholding the values, quality of service, and ethical leadership of their ancestry.
I am honored and humbled, to lead this group of professionals, paid and volunteer, for the Hanford Fire Department (HFD). Our goal is to provide the greatest level of service to everyone we come in contact with, whether in an extreme emergency or simply to answer a question. As your Fire Chief, I promise to represent the City, the Department, and the citizens with integrity, honor, and loyalty. My expectations of HFD are, and always will to be a community partner in prevention, response, and education. My expectation of the community is to be an equal partner with HFD; to call when you are in need, to speak up when you have questions, and to expect quality and professional service when we respond. We are not perfect but our commitment to excellence makes us stronger, especially with an engaged community partnership.
- Dispatch changed to Central CA Emergency Medical Services Agency (CCEMSA). The shift will now allow for fire and EMS calls to be triaged prior to dispatch. It is anticipated that stacked calls will be reduced, company availability will be increased, and overall call volumes will be reduced by up to 20%. This will reduce wear on equipment, reduce disrupted traffic patterns, and increase safety and customer service.
- Department Policy and Procedures are now managed and administered through Lexipol. Lexipol continually monitors and updates mandates, standards, and best practices so departments can provide increased safety and customer service.
- Guiding documents for the department were approved and the committee began working with stakeholders and our consultant to complete the Community Risk Assessment and the Standard of Response Coverage. These documents will be utilized to complete the Strategic and Master Plans, as well as a comprehensive spending plan. All documents have been completed and will be presented to City Council for review.
- In-person training programs were renewed and department personnel were able to attend COS Leadership Training, CalChief’s annual conference, the CA Fire Chiefs Training Symposium, and the Fresno Training Symposium. Additionally, multi-company drills were re-established.
- The training division was able to complete one new recruit, one Engineer's promotional academy, and a Captain's mentorship in 2022. We have already completed an Engineer's promotional academy in 2023 and are preparing for the academies for another Firefighter and Engineer, as well as a mentorship for a Battalion Chief.
- Both Asher and Tiller have achieved milestones to become registered as behavioral health therapy dogs. This program is designed to reduce the acute and cumulative damages experienced and to improve the emotional well-being of our firefighters. Both canines are now certified as ‘Canine Good Citizen’.
- Community Risk Reduction has been extremely busy. New construction and mandatory inspections dominated most of our personnel’s time. Annual and biennial inspections were slowed to accommodate the increased new construction. Mandatory inspections also significantly increased with the addition of apartments. All mandatory inspections must be conducted by full-time employees.
- Our 2022 Open House was conducted at Fire Station 1, seeing approximately 450 people. This was up from 2021 when we only served about 250 people. The opportunities to educate and reach out to the public during this event have benefitted the community for decades.
- Battalion Chiefs have been moved to a shift schedule, providing 10 firefighters to be on duty every day. This maintains crew integrity while providing greater shift and incident oversite.
- With nationwide suicide rates surpassing line-of-duty deaths for firefighter mortality, firefighter behavioral health is critical to address. Recently, the department secured an agreement to provide 24-hour clinical support.
Goals and Challenges
2022 continued a season of change for the department. 2019 saw the addition of another fire station and a ladder truck. 2020 addressed the leadership staffing changes that needed to occur. 2021 focused on getting personnel and resources trained and placed to provide the best service to the community. Covid hindered all efforts from supply train to changes in response patterns. 2023 will surely continue to move us forward. Below are the relevant issues your fire staff is working towards in the near future.
- Training grounds, which include a 3-story tower are needed to address the constant training needs. Crews have begun researching options that will meet our needs until a permanent facility can be built. Training tower costs range from $300,000 to $750,000. Funding options are being researched.
- To address the growing public education needs for the community, the department should consider a Safety Trailer for school programs, TNMP, Open House, and other community events to promote public and fire safety. A Safety Trailer with a tow vehicle cost upwards of $250,000. Funding options are being researched.
- Virtual Reality training is becoming a useful tool used by many departments for fire extinguisher and hose training. Nothing replaces real opportunity for firefighters to conduct live burns, but the build-up to the burn and anytime we’re working with the public, there is no safer benefit than VR. Plus, it is engaging to the next generation. The extinguisher prop is about $12,000 and the FLAIM prop is about $90,000. Funding options are being researched.
- Replacing aging radios throughout the department is reaching a critical need. More than half of our handheld radios are no longer supported for maintenance by the manufacturer. Base and mobile radios are well over 20 years old and have been passed from vehicle to vehicle. Grants will be assisting with the replacement process but supply chain issues and increased costs may delay the project.
- Several more chairs will need to be considered soon, as most are over 20 years old and made with pathogen-collecting cloth materials.
- Concrete and asphalt at Stations 1 & 2 have significant damage that will continue to undermine the foundation and driving paths. A plan to replace the most damaged sections is underway, but this will be a multi-year project.
- Station 4 development.
- Station 5 land acquisition and development.
- Xeriscape projects at Stations 1 & 2
- Remodel projects at Stations 1 & 2
- Industry standards and best practices recommend increasing staffing to meet the growing needs of the city’s fire protection and emergency response. This must be coupled with sustainability. Fire staff is working diligently to meet the needs of our growing city while seeking alternative funding options and other mechanisms to meet response needs. Developing a Community Risk Assessment, Standards of Cover, and a Strategic Plan will be critical first steps to determining and "Planning Tomorrows".
I appreciate your time in visiting this site. I now invite you to visit your stations and meet your crews. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead the men and women of the Hanford Fire Department as their Fire Chief.