173MHz MO/MO3 for CAL FIRE

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scannerboy02

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It is not uncommon to hear long static filled messages from people on portable radios trying to use a 'Local Net' to talk to a Cal Fire dispatcher via a repeater (FB2). Right?
While this does happen it's not ~that~ often for Cal Fire. And it still calls to question, why are they all of a sudden trying to fix this now? They have been on the same radio system for years. Perhaps narrowbanding has caused some 'new' issues? Perhaps they are preparing to switch or add a new radio system to the mix?? Perhaps something else entirely???
 

Kingscup

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How many radios do the typical Cal Fire units have these days? What is their typical staffing?
It depends on the size of the Unit. Riverside (RRU) has over 1000 firefighters and close to 100 hundred fire stations. San Luis Obispo (SLU) has 22 fire stations with less firefighters so it is hard to determine how many radios is typical for a Unit. It is determined by how many are needed.

AFAIK Cal Fire is an "all risk" agency. Basically this means they have 300 pumpers that are used to handle all typical FD duties - structural + wildfire + EMS. Pumpers have 500 GPM pumps and 500 gallon water tanks. Staffing on pumpers in the summer is 3 or 4 people. In the winter it is typically 2 people. 50% of their responses are for EMS. Right?
There are "2 divisions" (my term) within CAL FIRE. There is Schedule A and Schedule B. Schedule B is the wildland "division" that everyone is familiar with. CAL FIRE firefighters staffing the type 3 CAL FIRE engines inside the CAL FIRE stations. You also have the dozers, hand crews, aircraft etc. Anything to do with vegetation fires. Engines are typically staffed with 3-4 firefighters during declared fire season. During the winter months, it will depend on the area. Many stations shut down. Some stations will remain fully staffed due to vegetation fire potential in the area. Other stations would normally shut down but the local government will pay CAL FIRE for staffing the engine with 2 firefighters. The local government picks up the tab for keeping the station open during the winter months.

Schedule A are firefighters that staff local government apparatus. Cities and counties contract with CAL FIRE to staff and run their local fire department. The city/county own the fire stations and apparatus. They also pay to run and maintain them. Repairs, utilities, etc. CAL FIRE provides the staffing. The city/county determines (with assistance from CAL FIRE) staffing levels, new fire stations, closing fire stations due to budget cuts etc.. Staffing will vary throughout the state for various reasons. MMU has 1 CAL FIRE employee on an engine supplemented by volunteer firefighters. MMU is more rural and are generally poorer counties. RRU staffs with 3-4 per engine and is a more urban/suburban area. I like the term municipal engine over structural engine better as a CAL FIRE type 3 engine can and does engage in structural firefighting as well.

Depending on the situation, CAL FIRE stations can be staffed with both a CAL FIRE engine and a local government engine (staffed by CAL FIRE schedule A). Although not as common, local government stations can be staffed by the local government engine and a CAL FIRE engine.

Nationwide, EMS accounts for 80%-85% of all calls and California is no different.
 

mmckenna

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Perhaps they are preparing to switch or add a new radio system to the mix?? Perhaps something else entirely???
CRIS will be expanded into that region in Phase 4, so it's entirely possible they are preparing to have the option of using CRIS from VHF hand held radios.

But the whole reason for using those 17xMHz MO3 frequencies was to get enough separation from the 15xMHz frequencies so in-band repeaters will work on VHF. CalFire isn't going to want to carry a different band radio just so they can use a mobile repeater. And I really hope the state isn't going to try and outfit every single fire fighter with a shiny new Harris XL-400.

As for why they are doing it now? Who knows, budget, expanded area of responsibility, someone just thought it up...
 

scannerboy02

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But the whole reason for using those 17xMHz MO3 frequencies was to get enough separation from the 15xMHz frequencies so in-band repeaters will work on VHF.
Perhaps they are planning some VHF CRIS sites in those counties? We are already seeing that along the east side of the state, which was supposed to be phase 5.

And I really hope the state isn't going to try and outfit every single fire fighter with a shiny new Harris XL-400.
I would say more likely a shiny new APX 8000.
 

mmckenna

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Perhaps they are planning some VHF CRIS sites in those counties? We are already seeing that along the east side of the state, which was supposed to be phase 5.
It's certainly possible. I haven't see any design documents yet for those sites, but the Eastern Sierra are getting VHF sites. It would make sense for that to be done up in the north end of the state.

I would say more likely a shiny new APX 8000.
I don't think the APX-8000 meets the new NFPA standards. So far the Harris XL-400 is the only one that has been released that does.
 

zerg901

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How many radios does each Cal Fire Type 3 pumper (Engine) have? What is the typical staffing on a Cal Fire TY3 pumper? For the area under discussion I would guess that Cal Fire has 90% TY3 pumpers and 10% TY1 pumpers. (TY1 is 1000 GPM structural pumper - TY3 is 500 GPM combined structural / wildland pumper).

Guessing - each TY3 engine has 1 mobile and 3 or 4 or 5 portables. A MO3 on an engine could give all of these portables the ability to consistently reach a dispatcher in a mayday (fire or medical) situation . Philadelphia FD had 2 LODD in basement and no one ever heard a mayday call from them.

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Any chance Cal Fire will put the 173 Mhz MO3 on drones? For $150 you could set up a system such that whenever someone hits an emergency / mayday button on a portable on a tac channel - the dispatcher could immediately answer the call. Lots of FDs have dispatchers answer up whenever a mayday button is hit - Los Angeles City FD is one iirc.
 

norcalscan

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CalFire is not going to CRIS up here anytime soon for daily operations. CalFire local net and command net density is far more reaching than CRIS sites. If anything, maybe for prevention units to access CRIS for encrypted capabilities.

A MO3 on an engine could give all of these portables the ability to consistently reach a dispatcher in a mayday (fire or medical) situation .
The only incident everyone's HT is on local net is a medical call. That's it. Every other call, every HT on the incident is on simplex tac except for the incident commander, who either has two HT's or properly priority scans his command group. No firefighter anywhere, on a fire, is listening to or needs to talk to a dispatcher. If the firefighter is in danger, they will say so on the tac net and everyone will hear him or her.

Without repeating myself ad nauseam, current calfire operations simply don't fit the need for a vehicle extender. Maybe maybe in these counties with slightly less local net density than other parts of the state, it would help with local net coverage inside a building while on a medical call. But...
  1. Current operations already account for that weakness if it crops up (OIC goes outside or to engine to check for radio traffic, cranks PA out in the driveway, etc)
  2. Why is it now all of a sudden a problem that needs solving and funding, and just for medical calls (Narrowband issues came up in 2011, plenty of time to apply funds and solve that problem then)
  3. It still doesn't solve any out-of-unit coverage that won't have any of these fancy extenders so we're back to square one.
As I mentioned earlier, a Prevention unit might appreciate a VRS and would be on missions where they need immediate access to dispatch for law enforcement. Some areas of the state have their prevention units on VRS.

Any chance Cal Fire will put the 173 Mhz MO3 on drones? For $150 you could set up a system such...'
Now this is just getting ridiculous but I'll play along in hopes it educates. Three people minimum to put an official drone up over a fire incident, pilot, observer and a 2nd observer in positive radio contact with all aircraft over the fire. No other fire aircraft can be anywhere near that drone. 20 minute flight time per battery, or less with the weight and power needed for a fricking VHF repeater. How many battery packs needed to cover communications for how long? Redundancy? Do we need two drones to overlap coverage so when one lands the other is going up so no break in radio coverage? That means six people now are committed to drone ops. Do we rely on that then to put humans into a situation we wouldn't have in the past due to lack of radio coverage? Yeah, no. That ain't happening. If they saw any benefit to air-based repeaters they would have done it decades ago on the air attack ships. The only aerial platform that does this well in California is the Civil Air Patrol, and it's used in very complex/remote search and rescue incidents. It sucks, so far either human relay, or over-modulated simplex repeater is what I've seen provided. Every CHP helicopter and plane can crossband repeat on their radios. They don't, because there is no operational need to add that complexity and commit officer safety to rely on that being in place. Just because you technically can, or it sounds really awesome, doesn't mean you should. That's the biggest difference between mature-experienced communications leaders and hobbyists. One solves problems with solid simple holistic solutions, the other wants every feature turned on their radio, including a flashlight.
 
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zerg901

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To give people a better idea of what we are talking about - here is a map of the fire stations in Mariposa County - CA - Mariposa County - Google My Maps - the red markers are the Cal Fire stations - the blue markers are the county stations - the county stations are staffed by pager equipped paid on call firefighters - the Cal Fire stations are equipped with 1 or 2 pumpers each with crews of 3 or 4 in the station 24/7 in the summer - (lets assume it is summer)

Cal Fire typically responds to all calls near their stations - structural, wildfire, EMS, motor vehicle wrecks, wilderness rescue, etc. Keep in mind that many of the county stations have 6 or less paid on call firefighters. And they are located in very rural areas with very low population densities. Its not hard to see that Cal Fire engines will beat county engines to huge areas of the county - and by a long shot. Therefore the CalFire engines will often be the first responders and operate alone for 10 minutes or more until a county unit arrives.

Note - a typical structure fire response might get 1 or 2 CalFire engines plus 3 or 4 county engines and tankers, plus a Battalion Chief from 25 miles away. Plus aircraft, dozers, and handcrews if it is not a rainy day.

Note - a typical EMS response gets 1 CalFire engine plus 1 call company plus 1 county ambulance.

If a CalFire engine arrives at a mobile home fire, they have only 3 people to use. Lets say they have gone down a 200 foot driveway, pulled off a hoseline, and take it 200 feet to the front door. They look in the front door and see 3 victims on the floor. Their portable radios cannot reach the dispatcher from this location. They need to immediately call for 3 medevac helos or paramedic ambulances. What to do? Send someone back to engine and use the mobile radio to reach the dispatcher? You just cut your rescue force by 33%. Do you really want to do that at this critical point?

If a CalFire engine is sent to a report of a "motor vehicle off the road - unknown injuries", they will arrive on scene and walk thru the vegetation to reach the motor vehicle. If they find a couple of unconscious people, they need to radio for Jaws of Life and helos and such. But their portable radios wont work. They have to send 1 person back to the engine. Again cutting the rescue crew by 33%.

If a CalFire engine is sent to a "smoke check" and they are searching around thru the brush for a good access point, and they stumble over a grow operation with 2 guys with big rifles - who are they going to call on their radios? No one. Because they responded alone - they are operating alone - and they wont be talking to anyone until they hike back to the engine. BECAUSE THEIR PORTABLE RADIOS WONT WORK.
 

scannerboy02

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To give people a better idea of what we are talking about - here is a map of the fire stations in Mariposa County - CA - Mariposa County - Google My Maps - the red markers are the Cal Fire stations - the blue markers are the county stations - the county stations are staffed by pager equipped paid on call firefighters - the Cal Fire stations are equipped with 1 or 2 pumpers each with crews of 3 or 4 in the station 24/7 in the summer - (lets assume it is summer)

Cal Fire typically responds to all calls near their stations - structural, wildfire, EMS, motor vehicle wrecks, wilderness rescue, etc. Keep in mind that many of the county stations have 6 or less paid on call firefighters. And they are located in very rural areas with very low population densities. Its not hard to see that Cal Fire engines will beat county engines to huge areas of the county - and by a long shot. Therefore the CalFire engines will often be the first responders and operate alone for 10 minutes or more until a county unit arrives.

Note - a typical structure fire response might get 1 or 2 CalFire engines plus 3 or 4 county engines and tankers, plus a Battalion Chief from 25 miles away. Plus aircraft, dozers, and handcrews if it is not a rainy day.

Note - a typical EMS response gets 1 CalFire engine plus 1 call company plus 1 county ambulance.

If a CalFire engine arrives at a mobile home fire, they have only 3 people to use. Lets say they have gone down a 200 foot driveway, pulled off a hoseline, and take it 200 feet to the front door. They look in the front door and see 3 victims on the floor. Their portable radios cannot reach the dispatcher from this location. They need to immediately call for 3 medevac helos or paramedic ambulances. What to do? Send someone back to engine and use the mobile radio to reach the dispatcher? You just cut your rescue force by 33%. Do you really want to do that at this critical point?

If a CalFire engine is sent to a report of a "motor vehicle off the road - unknown injuries", they will arrive on scene and walk thru the vegetation to reach the motor vehicle. If they find a couple of unconscious people, they need to radio for Jaws of Life and helos and such. But their portable radios wont work. They have to send 1 person back to the engine. Again cutting the rescue crew by 33%.

If a CalFire engine is sent to a "smoke check" and they are searching around thru the brush for a good access point, and they stumble over a grow operation with 2 guys with big rifles - who are they going to call on their radios? No one. Because they responded alone - they are operating alone - and they wont be talking to anyone until they hike back to the engine. BECAUSE THEIR PORTABLE RADIOS WONT WORK.
I don't disagree with anything you are saying... but the question is why mobile repeaters NOW?? If the portable radios don't work they haven't been working, this isn't a new problem all of a sudden. Again I will restate my thought of this being for an eventual move to CRIS.

For those who don't believe Cal Fire will go to CRIS all I can say is time will tell but I don't see the state spending 100's of millions (by the time they are done) on a networked trunked radio system if the plan isn't to move all state agencies to it at some point.

And as for why just this particular area of the state... Proof of concept. It's easier to put this into testing in one region to see if it works than it is to try to license it for the entire state and not have it work.

And if you are following the application you know how much trouble the FCC is giving the state with this application. It's already been returned twice.
 

es93546

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To give people a better idea of what we are talking about - here is a map of the fire stations in Mariposa County - CA - Mariposa County - Google My Maps - the red markers are the Cal Fire stations - the blue markers are the county stations - the county stations are staffed by pager equipped paid on call firefighters - the Cal Fire stations are equipped with 1 or 2 pumpers each with crews of 3 or 4 in the station 24/7 in the summer - (lets assume it is summer)

Cal Fire typically responds to all calls near their stations - structural, wildfire, EMS, motor vehicle wrecks, wilderness rescue, etc. Keep in mind that many of the county stations have 6 or less paid on call firefighters. And they are located in very rural areas with very low population densities. Its not hard to see that Cal Fire engines will beat county engines to huge areas of the county - and by a long shot. Therefore the CalFire engines will often be the first responders and operate alone for 10 minutes or more until a county unit arrives.

Note - a typical structure fire response might get 1 or 2 CalFire engines plus 3 or 4 county engines and tankers, plus a Battalion Chief from 25 miles away. Plus aircraft, dozers, and handcrews if it is not a rainy day.

Note - a typical EMS response gets 1 CalFire engine plus 1 call company plus 1 county ambulance.

If a CalFire engine arrives at a mobile home fire, they have only 3 people to use. Lets say they have gone down a 200 foot driveway, pulled off a hoseline, and take it 200 feet to the front door. They look in the front door and see 3 victims on the floor. Their portable radios cannot reach the dispatcher from this location. They need to immediately call for 3 medevac helos or paramedic ambulances. What to do? Send someone back to engine and use the mobile radio to reach the dispatcher? You just cut your rescue force by 33%. Do you really want to do that at this critical point?

If a CalFire engine is sent to a report of a "motor vehicle off the road - unknown injuries", they will arrive on scene and walk thru the vegetation to reach the motor vehicle. If they find a couple of unconscious people, they need to radio for Jaws of Life and helos and such. But their portable radios wont work. They have to send 1 person back to the engine. Again cutting the rescue crew by 33%.

If a CalFire engine is sent to a "smoke check" and they are searching around thru the brush for a good access point, and they stumble over a grow operation with 2 guys with big rifles - who are they going to call on their radios? No one. Because they responded alone - they are operating alone - and they wont be talking to anyone until they hike back to the engine. BECAUSE THEIR PORTABLE RADIOS WONT WORK.
You need to correct your Goggle map for Mariposa County that labels one fire station with "U.S. Forestry Department," an agency that does not exist. It should read "U.S. Forest Service."

Typically, Cal Fire units don't respond to structure fires, except to keep them from spreading to the wildland. They don't typically respond to "wilderness rescues" either. It would be very unusual to find a Cal Fire engine crew working a rescue in a designated wilderness area. A wildland fire in a wilderness area will frequently include staffing by Cal Fire camp crews and some overhead such as division supervisors. In wilderness areas extenders or vehicle repeaters have little or no potential use as vehicles are typically a long distance from the work site.

"Rescues" are not frequently part of Cal Fire services unless they are services under contract. Type 3 engines (NOT pumpers) don't have a lot of structural fire equipment on them. If they are on a contract to provide structure protection the radio coverage in areas that have a lot of structures is usually pretty good. Over the entire state the SRA (state responsibility areas) is generally less rugged than it is at higher elevations and radio coverage is less problematic than it is in the higher elevations. In areas where they don't have a contract to provide a structural fire department most of the services you have written about are provided by local fire districts. Cal Fire will roll to structure fires, traffic collisions and search and rescues when they are requested to do so by another agency to provide additional staffing. Search and rescue teams are organized by the county sheriffs in California and except for the most urbanized counties are almost always volunteer organizations. After being requested the SAR teams in the two county region I live in (187 square miles larger than the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined) can have apparatus responding in 20 minutes. This is why Cal Fire does not respond to SAR's very often.

Cal Fire has incredible radio coverage in 52 of California's 58 counties, except in counties with predominately federal land ownership. For example, in Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties, Cal Fire radio coverage is pretty good, except the eastern portion of those counties, which consists of Yosemite National Park and the Stanislaus National Forest. The western portions of those counties, where Cal Fire operates is not nearly as rugged as the eastern portions.

In spite of this, I still think that Cal Fire might find extenders useful in some limited circumstances. There is not as great of a need for the agency to have them as VHF-High covers terrain very well, but here and there a vehicle repeater can extend the range of handhelds. Cal Fire and the federal public land agencies design their radio systems for handheld coverage. In my experience non coverage areas are not common. Handheld coverage has been very good on the Cal Fire incidents I've been assigned to. Zerg's scenarios are not those of experience, rather conjecture.

I agree with others that the need for vehicle repeaters might not justify the expense, but time will tell if they start equipping vehicles with repeaters like the CHP has for 35-40 years.
 
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norcalscan

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If a CalFire engine arrives at a mobile home fire
Awesome - the FAE who never leaves the engine will receive the traffic over tac and relay to dispatch.

If a CalFire engine is sent to a report of a "motor vehicle off the road - unknown injuries",
Awesome - the FAE who never leaves the engine will receive the traffic over tac and relay to dispatch.

If a CalFire engine is sent to a "smoke check" and they are searching around thru the brush for a good access point
Awesome - the FAE who never leaves the engine will receive the traffic over tac and relay to dispatch, or pick up the clue from "we're heading back, secure the engine, smoke was unfounded"

Are you getting the hint? I repeat, only on a medical call does the entire staffing on an engine leave the engine to engage the incident, and either the FAE or OIC is still only engaged in tasks that do not commit him/her to the patient, rather only assisting the other first-responders.

Expanding on that first call, with only 3 staffing, only two were going in anyway under 2in-2out rule, so there's no 33% loss of rescue force. And if RIT is needed, the FAE is making positive contact with dispatch that he is engaging in RIT and will get the second-in engine's ETA beforehand so he/she can make the appropriate plan of engagement. No contact, no RIT. Second-in engine will immediately become RIT to the first-in, and 2nd engine's FAE will immediately take over the first engine's operations to ensure it can support the rescue in progress. It's a pretty well-worn page in the training book out here.

Repeating myself yet again, you have to know how we operate out here before trying to fix problems that simply don't exist. That's hard to do over online scanners while on the east coast. Hence the number of us over here on the west coast stumped at the MO3 application, trying to figure out what problem it's going to solve or operation it's going to enhance. We'll just have to wait and see.
 

zerg901

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3-1=2 - really really really simple

actually - in winter - 2-1=1
 

Tower5153

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Here we go again with es93546's responses. Let me try and shed some light for you.

Typically, Cal Fire units don't respond to structure fires, except to keep them from spreading to the wildland.

Any structure fire in the SRA gets a full response of Type III engines. ALL Type III engines have SCBA, structural attack hose lines, and either 2.5 or 3 inch supply lines. Type III engines have been set-up this way for years. CAL-FIRE is an ALL RISK organization, and structure fires fall into that realm. During a recent apartment complex fire, the initial attack force consisted of a single (due to resource draw down) Type I engine, and 7 Type III's. Guess who laid the supply lines, pulled the attack lines, laddered the roof to vent, and extinguished the fire? CAL FIRE Type III engines. The Type l engine was 5th due.

"Rescues" are not frequently part of Cal Fire services unless they are services under contract.

You should probably tell that to the folks on the Type III engines that carry JAWS, full compliments of Low Angle rescue gear, and Air Monitors. You might want to come out and watch the engine from Green Springs in TCU using their JAWS at a crash on Highway 108/120, or the Groveland engines setting up the low angle gear to extricate a patient over the side on Priest Grade.

Type 3 engines (NOT pumpers) don't have a lot of structural fire equipment on them.

See my comments above.


Let me also shed some light on the original subject. The AVL system needs 3 fail safe/back-up/redundant components to work correctly; Satellite Access, Cellular Access, and RADIO/DATA access. The old Command 5 frequency is filling this role in the Central part of the state.

Read between the lines.
 

es93546

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Here we go again with es93546's responses. Let me try and shed some light for you.

Typically, Cal Fire units don't respond to structure fires, except to keep them from spreading to the wildland.

Any structure fire in the SRA gets a full response of Type III engines. ALL Type III engines have SCBA, structural attack hose lines, and either 2.5 or 3 inch supply lines. Type III engines have been set-up this way for years. CAL-FIRE is an ALL RISK organization, and structure fires fall into that realm. During a recent apartment complex fire, the initial attack force consisted of a single (due to resource draw down) Type I engine, and 7 Type III's. Guess who laid the supply lines, pulled the attack lines, laddered the roof to vent, and extinguished the fire? CAL FIRE Type III engines. The Type l engine was 5th due.

"Rescues" are not frequently part of Cal Fire services unless they are services under contract.

You should probably tell that to the folks on the Type III engines that carry JAWS, full compliments of Low Angle rescue gear, and Air Monitors. You might want to come out and watch the engine from Green Springs in TCU using their JAWS at a crash on Highway 108/120, or the Groveland engines setting up the low angle gear to extricate a patient over the side on Priest Grade.

Type 3 engines (NOT pumpers) don't have a lot of structural fire equipment on them.

See my comments above.


Let me also shed some light on the original subject. The AVL system needs 3 fail safe/back-up/redundant components to work correctly; Satellite Access, Cellular Access, and RADIO/DATA access. The old Command 5 frequency is filling this role in the Central part of the state.

Read between the lines.
What area are you talking about when discussing Cal Fire's response to structure fires? Are these areas where Cal Fire has a contract with a local jurisdiction to provide this service? I know that in Riverside County Cal Fire provides the county with a structural fire department regardless of the SRA. Some local governments then contract with the county to operate a municipal fire department and they get Cal Fire as a result. Indio is one such city. In more remote and rural counties, such as the one I live in Cal Fire responds to structure fires for wildland fire protection. A local fire district responds as structures are generally in the LRA. Actually, the county I live in (Mono) does not have any Cal Fire stations, the Inyo National Forest is paid (Greenbook arrangement) to provide prevention and suppression on the private SRA lands inside the NF boundary and within a mile of it. Outside the forest boundary in Mono County the BLM provides prevention and suppression on the private SRA lands in exchange for Cal Fire performing these services for BLM land in Inyo County. The Inyo NF and BLM Bishop Field Office have a merged fire management organization and always respond to any fire no matter what jurisdiction it is on. In the Owens Valley, the USFS automatically responds to all Cal Fire incidents.

In these two counties Cal Fire rescues are infrequent, depending on the location. North of Bishop there are many rock climbing areas in the Owens River Gorge, with a potential for accidents. Mono or Inyo respond EMS and then Cal Fire might assist in the carry out. If the injury is more complex, requiring rope assisted climbing or a long distance carry out, the SAR teams of either county are called out and do that. Based on where I live and what I observe, my statement that rescue services are not frequently provided by Cal Fire. This is not the situation you observe where you live. Obviously there are differences depending on the Cal Fire Unit involved, the relationship it has with the county and local governments. I know of several west slope Sierra Nevada counties where Cal Fire provides a fire department PSAP, radio system and supervision of volunteer fire departments using Cal Fire batt chiefs as supervisors and ICS incident commanders. I think Cal Fire does this in Tuolumne County, which I now see is where you must live. Every county has different mixes of services for and from Cal Fire. What Cal Fire does in Tuolumne County is not a cookie cutter for the rest of the state.

Don't berate me for not being knowledgeable about Cal Fire when I base my writing on what I've observed here in the eastern Sierra, where I've lived 40 years. I'm retired from the U.S. Forest Service and was a field supervisor who responded to all types of incidents. I interfaced with all the various agencies on both the Toiyabe NF and the Inyo NF on the ground and in emergency planning/coordination meetings. I have a couple of people who I don't see frequently, but consider friends who are retired Cal Fire employees. I've worked about half a dozen Cal Fire large fire incidents in southern California. I've been a Type 4 and 5 incident commander that involved the use of Cal Fire resources. I had 4 full positions on my red card and 2 still as trainee when I retired. My wife and I have scanners on in our home about 16 hours per day, 7 days a week, except when we have visitors. I have no idea why you say " Here we go again with es93546's responses" as that is pretty derogatory given my place of residency and experience.

Thanks for posting how Cal Fire operates in Tuolumne County. He now has some idea of the differences in Cal Fire operations from county to county.
 
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Tower5153

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What area are you talking about when discussing Cal Fire's response to structure fires? Are these areas where Cal Fire has a contract with a local jurisdiction to provide this service? I know that in Riverside County Cal Fire provides the county with a structural fire department regardless of the SRA. Some local governments then contract with the county to operate a municipal fire department and they get Cal Fire as a result. Indio is one such city. In more remote and rural counties, such as the one I live in Cal Fire responds to structure fires for wildland fire protection. A local fire district responds as structures are generally in the LRA. Actually, the county I live in (Mono) does not have any Cal Fire stations, the Inyo National Forest is paid (Greenbook arrangement) to provide prevention and suppression on the private SRA lands inside the NF boundary and within a mile of it. Outside the forest boundary in Mono County the BLM provides prevention and suppression on the private SRA lands in exchange for Cal Fire performing these services for BLM land in Inyo County. The Inyo NF and BLM Bishop Field Office have a merged fire management organization and always respond to any fire no matter what jurisdiction it is on. In the Owens Valley, the USFS automatically responds to all Cal Fire incidents.

In these two counties Cal Fire rescues are infrequent, depending on the location. North of Bishop there are many rock climbing areas in the Owens River Gorge, with a potential for accidents. Mono or Inyo respond EMS and then Cal Fire might assist in the carry out. If the injury is more complex, requiring rope assisted climbing or a long distance carry out, the SAR teams of either county are called out and do that. Based on where I live and what I observe, my statement that rescue services are not frequently provided by Cal Fire. This is not the situation you observe where you live. Obviously there are differences depending on the Cal Fire Unit involved, the relationship it has with the county and local governments. I know of several west slope Sierra Nevada counties where Cal Fire provides a fire department PSAP, radio system and supervision of volunteer fire departments using Cal Fire batt chiefs as supervisors and ICS incident commanders. I think Cal Fire does this in Tuolumne County, which I now see is where you must live. Every county has different mixes of services for and from Cal Fire. What Cal Fire does in Tuolumne County is not a cookie cutter for the rest of the state.

Don't berate me for not being knowledgeable about Cal Fire when I base my writing on what I've observed here in the eastern Sierra, where I've lived 40 years. I'm retired from the U.S. Forest Service and was a field supervisor who responded to all types of incidents. I interfaced with all the various agencies on both the Toiyabe NF and the Inyo NF on the ground and in emergency planning/coordination meetings. I have a couple of people who I don't see frequently, but consider friends who are retired Cal Fire employees. I've worked about half a dozen Cal Fire large fire incidents in southern California. I've been a Type 4 and 5 incident commander that involved the use of Cal Fire resources. I had 4 full positions on my red card and 2 still as trainee when I retired. My wife and I have scanners on in our home about 16 hours per day, 7 days a week, except when we have visitors. I have no idea why you say " Here we go again with es93546's responses" as that is pretty derogatory given my place of residency and experience.

Thanks for posting how Cal Fire operates in Tuolumne County. He now has some idea of the differences in Cal Fire operations from county to county.
I retired from CAL-FIRE with over 30 years of experience with the last several as a Chief Officer. I'm well aware of how CAL-FIRE serves the citizens of California and the various response agreements.....I helped author or reviewed many of them. I had the pleasure of working under the Sacramento umbrella for a time.

Since you brought up the subject of your amount of experience, I'll just say this....it doesn't matter a single bit when you are making incorrect assumptions about an agency and shows that you may have been a bit "sheltered" in your residency and experience. I had over a dozen ICS quals during my career including Agency Administrator (I oversaw the Type 1 Incident Commanders and Incident Command Teams). I have been in command of everything from major fires, HAZ-MAT Incidents, and Large Scale Floods.

I'm well versed in Incident Command and how the Agency works. Not once did I ever say what goes on in one unit is a "cookie cutter" for other units statewide. You yourself admitted you are "not knowledgeable" about CAL-FIRE, but you will spend a great deal of time writing paragraphs with information that YOU interpret or feel is correct, but is not even close to what is actually going on throughout the state. Many areas actually operate with boundary drop agreements/closest resource concept. Do you think these would even be a thought if the resources in question weren't able to provide the necessary services? CAL-FIRE HUU routinely responds into Crescent City for fires, or other incidents if needed. If the Model 34 shows up first at the fire, it lays the supply line and makes the attack. CAL-FIRE TUU E4163 was 4th due to the Library fire in Porterville where 2 FF's were killed. The crew were active participants in the rescue attempts. Neither of these Units have "contracts" to make this happen.

To make a blanket statement that CAL-FIRE engines have limited Structural Firefighting capabilities or CAL-FIRE doesn't make rescues is how YOU interpret their operations, based on what you see in a very limited area of California. Each Administrative Unit tailors their operations to best serve the Citizens they protect, no matter what the Contract status is. I never questioned the fact that I was on a structure fire in Canby Rural Fire Departments area in LMU @ 0235 am in 1995. We just donned our turnouts, responded to the fire (from Alturas), made the primary search and interior attack - while operating off a Model 5. We weren't there to "keep it out of the wildland" as you stated earlier, we were there to make a rescue if necessary and save the residence. I never questioned the fact that I was using a Porta-Power and JAWS to cut someone out of a car on Hwy 180 in Kings Canyon National Park in 1990, while assigned to a Model 10.

While I understand and appreciate your point of view and years of service, some of the things you have posted previously show exactly what i'm talking about. You have covered everything from BK radios, radio programming, repeater use, and Helicopter numbering to name a few. On all of these subjects, YOU provided information that was not totally correct, but adopted a hard line stance in many cases, insisting that your "years of experience" proved you were correct or stated things like "that's not done in Region 5". You are quick to correct anyone who offers questionable information about the USFS, so why not expect it in return from people who in fact work, or have worked, for the agency in question? You certainly made sure Zerg901 knew there was "no such agency" as the US Forestry Service.

I'm sorry if you feel that my post "berated" you, but I cannot sit on my hands when someone who has ZERO employment time with the agency (or any working knowledge about day to day operations statewide outside their area and gain current insight listening to a scanner) they are posting questionable "information" about tries to educate members of this forum. Many of the members here have no knowledge of how the fire service in CA works, and spreading improper information about a particular agency adds to any confusion out there.

If you want to discuss this further, PM me. No need to hi-jack the thread over this stuff.
 

Kingscup

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How many radios does each Cal Fire Type 3 pumper (Engine) have?
There are two different methods and will depend on each Unit. Some Units assign a radio to each firefighter. Some Units assign a radio to each seat on the engine and the radio is turned over to the next shift.

What is the typical staffing on a Cal Fire TY3 pumper?
Typically, either 1 captain and 2-3 firefighters or 1 engineer and 2-3 firefighters. Sometimes, it can be 1 captain, 1 engineer and 1-2 firefighters. During the winter months, it could be a mix of captains and/or engineers since all the seasonal firefighters were laid off for the winter.

For the area under discussion I would guess that Cal Fire has 90% TY3 pumpers and 10% TY1 pumpers. (TY1 is 1000 GPM structural pumper - TY3 is 500 GPM combined structural / wildland pumper).
CAL FIRE doesn't have any type 1 engines (well, except for the academy for training purposes). All the type 1 engines are owned by local governments and still have to abide by local automatic/mutual aid agreements. They are still staffed by CAL FIRE personnel. Last I heard about 5 years ago, the number of CAL FIRE firefighters assigned to local government engines surpassed the number of firefighters assigned to type 3 engines.
 
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