The Central County Fire Department proudly serves the communities of Burlingame, Hillsborough, and Millbrae. Formed in April 2004, the Central County Fire Department (CCFD) provides all-risk fire protection, emergency medical and community risk reduction services to 70,000 residents and tens of thousands of visitors each year.
With a service area of approximately 15 square miles around the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) our communities are a primary stopping point for SFO’s 53 million plus passengers each year. Main features are the Millbrae BART station, which is the largest intermodal terminal west of the Mississippi and includes a cross-platform connection to Caltrain. Our jurisdiction also has wildland urban interface (WUI) areas that border the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Peninsula Watershed.
We serve a diverse area of single-family homes, multi-residential buildings, retail and business districts, hotels, a regional hospital, care facilities, as well as a large industrial area. Our two major highways, 101 and 280, are a vital vehicle transportation link between San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
The top-ranking person of the Department is the Fire Chief who is supported by a command staff of a Deputy Chief, Fire Marshal, Battalion Chiefs, and Administrative Services Manager. We have six strategically located and professionally staffed fire stations, in addition to an administrative headquarters and training facility. Our daily staffing consists of six engine companies, one ladder truck and one Battalion Chief, 24 hours a day, every day. We maintain a State of California, Type I heavy rescue Urban Search & Rescue (USAR) unit that is cross-staffed daily. Many of our Special Operations trained personnel are members of California Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 3.
The CCFD’S Fire Prevention Division, comprised of a Fire Marshal, Deputy Fire Marshal, two fire inspectors, three fire prevention specialists and a community risk and resiliency specialist. The CCFD prevention division manages several significant community risk reduction initiatives including vegetation and hazard abatement programs, plan review, comprehensive code enforcement activities, and fire investigation. They also produce and deliver numerous programs throughout the community intended to promote and teach fire safety and emergency preparedness.
We are also supported by our administrative support team of service clerks, account technicians, fire mechanics and human resource manager.
CCFD personnel are highly trained, highly motivated and prepared to answer the needs of the community under routine and emergency conditions. We continually strive to exceed the expectations of those we serve.
The Central County Fire Department (CCFD) began its long history almost a century ago with the births of the volunteer-based Burlingame and Hillsborough Fire Departments. In 2004, the City Councils of the respective organizations approved the historic merger of the neighboring fire departments. While much has changed over the decades, we strive daily to continue a long- standing tradition of excellence, efficiency and service.
Today, the CCFD is comprised of approximately 64 highly-trained professional men and women serving in five fire stations located throughout Burlingame, Hillsborough and Millbrae. The firefighters consist of a diverse group of professionals all trained as engineers, most as paramedics and a number who are part of the California Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 3. Among this group are other specialty positions including on-shift fire prevention officers, inspectors, tactical paramedics and mechanics. The department responds to 6,000 calls for service every year. Each member plays an integral role in providing services in fire suppression, EMS, prevention, training, administration and disaster preparedness.
The Fire Department also participates in a Joint Powers Agreement with San Mateo County, providing Advanced Life Support as part of a 20-city, 56-engine company workforce. Through a series of mutual and automatic aid agreements, each city in San Mateo County responds seamlessly to provide citizens in the county with the closest available units to mitigate any emergency all dispatched through San Mateo County’s Public Safety Communications.
The Tactical Medical Team was formed with minimal funding to assist the North County SWAT Team, which consisted of Brisbane, Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, San Bruno, San Mateo and South San Francisco Law Enforcement agencies. The tactical medic’s primary function is to provide care in situations that provide the highest level of pre-hospital medical care at the earliest opportunity during potentially hostile situations. Along with the ability to provide a high level of medical care, the tactical medics also contribute their knowledge and skills in many other areas to support the SWAT Team, such as: building construction, specialized tools and extrication techniques, scene and weapon safety management.
The tactical medics have acquired a type III modular ambulance donated by AMR. The ambulance was used for long distance transports which translates into a larger than normal ambulance suited to store and transport large specialized equipment. The vehicle will be used by the Tactical Media Team to respond to SWAT activations and store the technical equipment.
The Tactical Media Team consisted of five individuals and has expanded. As of April 1, 2005, the team is comprised of fourteen individuals from Central County, Millbrae, San Bruno, San Mateo and South San Francisco Fire Departments.
Almost a year prior to the actual April 20, 2004 merge, the fire prevention bureau in the two cities combined forces to enhance its overall prevention program. Staffed with a fire marshal, two full-time inspectors, three shift inspectors and one public education volunteer along with the efforts of an aggressive company inspection program – the fire prevention bureau maintains a pro-active prevention program. Burlingame and Hillsborough are comprised of a very diverse population. Spanning a community widely diverse in age, class and culture can present its challenges. Other challenges faced by the department vary from its multiple high-rise buildings, large industry, growing research facilities, historic mansions, a wildland urban interface among three large canyons, and meeting customer service needs. Recognizing the importance of public education as a first line of defense in fire prevention, the department is expanding its programs with its senior population and business community. We are most proud that we continue to maintain our relationship with our community’s schools through our Junior Fire Marshal Program, a program in existence for almost 60 years. The department has operated a state-of-the-art mechanic shop since 1993. Located in Burlingame, this shop is staffed with three full-time firefighter/mechanics who work the Department 56 hour per week schedule. These mechanics are fully-certified both as mechanics and firefighters. Each mechanic is permanently assigned to the shop and station.
The department also offers mechanic services to neighboring cities in an effort to generate revenue. Surrounding departments responded to the convenience of having a nearby facility that could handle many of their repair and maintenance needs. The value of having firefighter/mechanics who work primarily on fire apparatus available 24 hours a day proved to be a successful venture. Their background in the fire service gives the mechanics a unique and believable perspective since they also respond and work alongside their “customers”. The facility now serves seven of the 17 cities in the San Mateo County. Regularly scheduled maintenance and repair is now performed on 23 fire engines, fire trucks and assorted rescue and response vehicles.
Central County Fire Department shares training opportunities with its surrounding neighbors as well. In-service training is provided with the assistance of our three truck captains who serve as shift training officers in a three-year rotational position. They assist with everything from probationary training to developing new procedures and reviewing existing evolutions.
Working in conjunction with our neighboring agencies, the Central County Fire Department has played an integral role in developing a Special Operations Team trained and equipped for medium rescue capabilities. The team is currently training for confined space rescue, trench rescue, and technical rescues. Once fully up to speed, the Special Operations Team will become a regional resource (central county) within San Mateo County.
As you can see above, the sign and times is to “share services” in the wake of shrinking economics. Regionally, city managers throughout San Mateo County are looking at ways to maintain and improve our level of service despite the economic challenges that come before us. Many times shared services have improved our levels of service and where there may be other avenues that they Central County Fire Department can enhance the quality of life for our community – we will pursue it without end.