[heading]  photos by Soul of Photography [/heading]

The dedicated men and women serving the Carlsbad Fire Department proudly live up to providing the highest level of emergency and rescue services, hazard prevention and safety education to ensure the protection of life, property and environment for the community.  The Department is a multi-faceted organization, made up of six stations, that has clearly provided lifesaving services to the community and surrounding communities.  Fire Chief Kevin Crawford shared details of the Department, the stations within the Department and his enthusiasm for what he and his team pride themselves on performing day in and day out.  The community is fortunate to be in the hands of this team of public servants.






92009: When was the first station in Carlsbad opened?  What is the history behind the development of the Carlsbad Fire Department?
Crawford: The City of Carlsbad’s fire service originated as a volunteer fire department in 1952.  Two years later, in 1954, the City of Carlsbad initiated a fire department that was city funded.  In 1955 there were a total of 21 volunteer firemen, and 18 years later, in 1973, the city had two fire stations serving its community.  With 88 personnel, six fire stations, and over 100 CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), today’s Fire Department is vastly different than the volunteer organization that began 60 years ago.

92009: As Fire Chief, what is your role?  What is your background to attain the status as Fire Chief?
Crawford: As Fire Chief I am charged with overseeing the protection of lives, property and environment through prevention, preparation, response, and recovery.  I direct all activities necessary to provide fire prevention, suppression, fire inspection, emergency medical services and disaster preparedness programs to the City, including directing the enforcement of state regulations, laws, codes, and local ordinances.  I am also responsible for the administrative work in connection with carrying out City and departmental goals, objectives and priorities, as well as maintaining fiscal integrity.  Within the City of Carlsbad I am a member of the Leadership Team, whose function is the development of city-wide policies, goals, objectives and priorities.
28 years of experience within the fire service has prepared me for the position of Fire Chief.  Of those 28 years, 25 have been spent with the Carlsbad Fire Department where I have advanced through the ranks and was appointed Fire Chief in 2002.

92009: What is the structure of the Carlsbad Fire Department, in terms of personnel, apparatus and shifts?
The Carlsbad Fire Department operates on three separate 24-hour shifts; A, B and C.  There are a total of 88 personnel within the department.  This includes; 1 Fire Chief, 2 Division Chiefs, 4 Battalion Chiefs, 72 suppression personnel, 1 EMS Manager, 1 Emergency Preparedness Manager, 1 Deputy Fire Marshal, 2 Fire Prevention Specialists, and 4 Administration positions.
We have 5 Fire Engines, 3 Ambulances, 2 Wildland Brush Rigs, 1 Fire Truck, 1 Heavy Rescue, and 3 reserve apparatus (1 Ambulance and 2 Fire Engines).

[quote style=”1″] The Carlsbad Fire Department is unique in that the organization is led with focus placed on the human element.”
– Kevin Crawford

92009: There are six stations within the department.  What is the difference between each station?
Crawford: In general, our six fire stations all serve the same purpose, providing the City of Carlsbad with the best coverage and the quickest response times to emergency incidents.  The stations are unique in that they have all been built at different times.  At the time of the build, the design of the stations has to be congruent to the surrounding neighborhood where it is located.  Although the façade of the stations differ, the interiors all provide similar amenities.

92009: What is the typical shift at the stations?
Crawford: Each of our three shifts (A, B, and C) are on a 24 hour rotation.  The shift change occurs at 7:30 am each morning where the outgoing crew provides a turnover to oncoming crew.  At this time the crew will check out their personal protective equipment, radios, breathing apparatus, along with any other pieces of equipment they may use to ensure they are ready to respond to any emergency incident.  At this time the Engineer will perform an inspection on the station’s apparatus, and the Captain will perform any necessary administrative functions.  Once this is complete, the Company Officer will hold a meeting to go over the day’s activities, which will include preventative maintenance, training, department projects and physical fitness.
Because the crew lives in the fire station while on shift, routine maintenance is performed in-house.  Lunch and dinner meals are communal and prepared by that days designated cook.  Evenings are generally reserved for individual training needs.  Although these are common day to day activities, emergency response takes precedence over all.

92009: Can you describe the most gratifying aspect of serving the Carlsbad residents?
Crawford: The most gratifying aspect of serving Carlsbad residents is making someone’s life better than it was before we entered it.  Knowing that you have made a positive, and at times life changing, impact on a person is gratifying beyond words.  It is why I began this profession 28 years ago and it is why I continue to enjoy coming to work.

92009: How many emergency calls are dispatched from each station per month on average?
Crawford: Our engines respond to an average of 123 calls per month/station and our medic units respond to an average of 224 calls per month/station.

92009: What is the most common type of call to which personnel at the stations respond?
Crawford: Representing approximately 60% of our call volume, the most common type of call we respond to are EMS (Emergency Medical Services) related.

92009: Is there anything unique or unusual about the department or the stations within?
Crawford: Our organization is different than most as we see our role as something more than just responding to calls.  We are not a department that just does the transactional business of the Fire Department.  We are engaged in all aspects of the community and see ourselves as community members.  The Carlsbad Fire Department is unique in that the organization is led with focus placed on the human element.

92009: What type of ongoing training for personnel at the department occurs on a regular basis?
Crawford: On a regular basis personnel are participating in EMS focused (didactic and manipulative) training, multi-company evolutions based on fire ground emergency operations, and technical rescue events (confined space rescue, vehicle extrication.)

92009: Tell us about the Safety Center that is located adjacent to Station 5.  What is the philosophy of having the Center?  What goes on at the Center?
Crawford: Training is one of the most important aspects of what we do on a daily basis.  Our new Safety Training Center provides both the Police and Fire Departments the opportunity to train within a realistic environment that creates the same challenges and expectations of an actual emergency.  The four acre site provides a compressed version of the types of buildings that are found within the City of Carlsbad.  Also, the Police Chief and I believe that public safety for this community is a joint effort, and with the new Safety Training Center we are able to conduct training alongside each other and further develop the relationship between the two departments.

92009: Being a coastal community, what services does the Carlsbad Fire Dept. provide regarding beach front accidents/emergencies? 
Crawford: We respond with State Lifeguards to water related injuries at the beach and provide support to water operations by way of Incident Command and medical support.

92009: You also service the area around LEGOLAND®.  How do you prepare the crews for amusement and water park emergencies?  Is there special training needed?
Crawford: We meet on a regular basis with LEGOLAND® and participate in orientations to the park, review access rights, and determine any specific challenges we may have responding.  We have also conducted full scale exercises of simulated emergencies, for example ride malfunctions, at the park.

92009: What is your involvement with the local schools?
Crawford: The City of Carlsbad Public Safety Departments (Police and Fire) meet and strategize on a regular basis with our local schools to determine ways to prepare for and respond to emergencies.  Whenever possible, the Fire Department participates in public education opportunities.

92009: What is the most common misconception about firefighters and emergency personnel?
Crawford: The most common misconception is that when we are not on a call we are just sitting around watching television.  Each firefighter is responsible for completing at a minimum 20 hours of individual training per month in addition to the required training as a company.  We are also participating in public outreach and education, and are responsible for the lion share of the maintenance on our tools, equipment, and apparatus.  These activities all occur in conjunction with dispatched emergencies.

92009: Firefighters often become known for their cooking skills – does the department have a resident “top chef”, someone who has a reputation for good meals?
Crawford: Each firefighter often develops their own “special meal” at some point of the career and develops a reputation among their crew.

92009: As we head in to fire season, what would you like to tell our readers about fire preparedness?
Crawford: Specific to the threat of wildland we ask that you adhere to all brush clearance suggestions that can be found on our website www.carlsbadca.gov/fire.  More importantly, I would ask that readers be sensitive and prepared for any type of emergency.  One way this can be accomplished is to maintain a fire safe and hazard free home.  If a large scale emergency should occur, individuals should be able to remain self-sufficient for 72 hours.

92009: National Fire Prevention Week is in October.  The City of Carlsbad Fire Department holds an annual open house at Fire Station 5 on the Saturday during National Fire Prevention Week. Tell us details about this annual Open House event.
Crawford: I am very excited to have the opportunity to hold the Annual Open House event at our newly opened Safety Training Center.  This will provide us with the unique opportunity to demonstrate to the public our operations capabilities and how critical the facility is in preparing our department to meet our challenges.

[tabs style=”1″] [tab title=”Station 1″]

Service Area: Northwest side of the city (including downtown, Plaza Camino Real, Interstate 5 and Highway 78.)
Address:  1275 Carlsbad Village Drive Carlsbad, CA 92008
Staffing:  Crew of five: a captain, an engineer, and three firefighter/paramedics
Apparatus:  One fire engine, one ambulance
Placed in Service:  1968
Incident Runs:  Total: 5,017; Engine: 2,179; Medic: 2,838

[/tab] [tab title=”Station 2″]

Service Area:  La Costa area and Aviara
1906 Arenal Rd. Carlsbad, CA 92009 (Adjacent to the La Costa Resort)
Crew of five: a captain, an engineer, and three firefighter/paramedics
One fire engine, one ambulance
Placed in Service: 
Incident Runs: 
Total: 4,126; Engine: 1,572; Medic: 2,554

[/tab] [tab title=”Station 3″]

Service Area:   Northwest area of the city, including Carlsbad High School.
Address:  3701 Catalina Drive Carlsbad, CA 92010
Staffing:  Crew of five: a captain, an engineer, and three firefighter/paramedics
Apparatus:  One fire engine, one wildland brush rig, and one ambulance
Placed in Service:  1976
Incident Runs:  Total: 4,231; Engine: 1,573; Medic: 2,658

[/tab] [tab title=”Station 4″]

Service Area:   Southwest area, including LEGOLAND®, Company Stores, and Car Country Carlsbad.
Address:  6885 Batiquitos Drive Carlsbad, CA 92011
Staffing:  Crew of three: a captain, an engineer, a firefighter/paramedic
Apparatus:  One fire engine
Placed in Service:  1986
Incident Runs:  Total: 1,460 (Engine responses)

[/tab] [tab title=”Station 5″]

Service Area:   The Northeast area
Address:   2540 Orion Way Carlsbad, CA 92010
Fire Department’s headquarters.  Serves as training ground and supply depot.  
Staffing:  Crew of four: a duty battalion chief, a captain, an engineer, and one firefighter paramedic
Apparatus:  One fire truck, one BC command vehicle, and one heavy rescue rig
Placed in Service:  1989
Incident Runs:  Total: 1,170 (Truck)

[/tab] [tab title=”Station 6″]

Service Area:  Southeast section, including La Costa Canyon High School.
7201 Rancho Santa Fe Road, Carlsbad, CA 92009 Completed & opened in spring of 2009, replacing previous Station 6.

Staffing:  Crew of three: a captain, an engineer, and a firefighter/paramedic
Apparatus:  One fire engine, one wildland brush rig
Placed in Service: 
Incident Runs: 
875 (Engine responses)

[/tab] [/tabs]