Mayor’s Message – Pleasanton



 

 

I enjoy writing articles about things that are happening and decisions being made by the City Council. It’s really fun to brag on our city departments. Recently, we got to brag on our museum; this article I’d like to brag on our fire department. Other departments and their history will follow. For many years, the Pleasanton Fire Fepartment was an all-volunteer department. They served the the city and assisted the surrounding community and fire suppression, first aid, search and rescue, training, service calls and developing community awareness for safety. It used to be that volunteers hung out at the fire station and waited for calls. That seemed to create a lot of camaraderie. I remember in high school, a couple of seniors that were over 18 got to actually leave class to go assist the fire department. I always thought that was really cool. They used to use portable radios radios and then pagers. All that was expensive to the volunteers, but as communication advanced, more people got pagers and were able tend to personal matters instead of having to sit around the fire station and wait for a call. Training is extremely important for first responders. Volunteers and paid staff have to be trained on new methods and tools. Training is expensive and time-consuming. Pleasanton volunteers started to decline because training involves long classroom hours, traveling, meals, hotel and certifications. The fire department did as much training as they could in-house. But state and local qualifications have become more restricting to volunteers. Fire departments still hold a large percentage of volunteers for first responders. As the city grew, there was more of a need to have full-time staff. The decision was made in 2013 to hire the first full-time fire chief. The city started seeing drastic changes on the demand on the fire department. A decision was made to hire a fulltime firefighter and within a year, an additional two. The volunteers are still the backbone of the fire department. Whether fulltime paid or volunteer, the certifications are the same. A few years ago, the city added a new fire station at the Pleasanton Municipal Airport. There is also going to be renovations to the Northtown station soon. This will help to continue to provide services to the entire city and mitigate the risk of assistance needed when there is a train going through the town. The department has two fire engines with a capacity of 1,000 gallons of water, one heavy rescue truck with tools for victim extraction a tanker with a 3,500 gallon water capacity and four brush trucks. The department now has four command vehicles for the officers and incident command unit, five fulltime paid staff and eight volunteers that are going through the fire academy and EMT courses. There are also three volunteers that only want to volunteer— not get certified. Those three are paid firefighters and surrounding cities. With Pleasanton‘s continued growth, it’s nice to know that we have 24/7 fire and rescue protection. In addition, we have Airlife based at the airport fire station. I appreciate Chief Escobedo’s contributions to this article; it would’ve been very difficult without his input.

CLINTON POWELL is the Mayor for the City of Pleasanton. You may reach him at mayor@pleasantontx.gov.

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