In 1984, Fresno was a city of approximately 300,000 people, covered an area of approximately 80 square miles, and was experiencing a period of rapid growth. With this growth came an increase in fires, particularly in residences, and the Fire Department began exploring various ways of reducing these losses and injuries.
Public Safety Education
Late in 1984, the Department applied for and received a federal grant offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)/U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), which provided for the establishment of a community volunteer fire prevention organization. The goals of such an organization would be to develop and implement a community-wide network of fire prevention programs. A board of Directors was soon seated; Burn Aware established its non-profit status with the State of California, and the Board set about the business of providing public fire safety education to the community.
Burn Aware has now been in continued existence for almost three decades. The City of Fresno, along with the North Central Fire Protection District and Fig Garden Fire Protection District areas has grown to become a large metropolis of over 525,000 people and covers nearly 336 square miles. Since its inception, Burn Aware has reached more than 450,000 students with fire safety messages, installed more than 4,500 smoke detectors, and saved countless lives with help of our volunteers and community partnerships . Through the continuing efforts of Burn Aware and the Fresno Fire Department, important fire prevention and life safety messages will continue to be provided to our community.
Tax deductible donations to Burn Aware are gladly accepted and can be mailed to:
c/o Fresno Fire Department
911 H Street Fresno, CA 93721
Central California Burn Aware – Tax ID # 770085338
Often, citizens wish it were possible for them to be at the scene of fire incidents to see exactly how the incident is handle, so that they may better judge the quality of their fire department. Other are considering a career in firefighting and wish a preview of what such a career might be like. Some would simply like to see “the other side of the coin”.
In response to such feelings among the residents of Fresno, the Fire Department has made it possible for you to “Ride-Along” in a Fire Department unit, with members of the Fire Department.
We sincerely hope that by offering such a program, we may improve the state of understanding that exists between our members and the public.
Please feel free to ask any questions, for it will only be through improved communications with each other that this goal can be reached.
WHO DO I CONTACT IF I WANT TO PARTICIPATE?
Contact the Fire Department Ride-Along program by downloading and submitting the forms. After the forms have been received, our Investigation Unit will conduct a background check and interview with the interested participant. At that time the interested participant will be asked to sign the release of liability. If the participant is between 16 and 18, they must have their parent or guardian sign. All forms should be submitted at least ten days prior to a ride-along date.
HOW OFTEN CAN I RIDE?
Ride-along participants will generally be limited to one ride-along per calendar year.
HOW LONG CAN I RIDE AT A TIME?
Ride–along tours will generally be limited to two (2) hours minimum, up to 12 hours, subject to the discretion of a chief officer or his designee.
COULD I GET HURT?
Firefighter duties are inherently dangerous. Concern by the host member shall be given to the safety of the participant; however, the utmost importance shall lie in the member’s attention to duty. Should hazardous circumstances present themselves and the opportunity to leave the ride-along at a safe location is available, this shall be done.
HOW SHOULD I DRESS?
Casual dress is allowed. Jeans and sneakers are allowed, as long as they are in good condition.
WHAT ABOUT MEALS?
Meal arrangements will be the participant’s responsibility. You should bring enough money for food/sodas, snacks, etc.
CAN I BRING A CAMERA?
Due to Constitutional questions of “Right to privacy”, no cameras or tape recorders are allowed.
A criminal record may be cause to have your application denied.
The most common cause of death during a home fire is not from the fire itself, but from the toxic smoke and gases released during a fire. These products of combustion often render victims unconscious or disoriented, leaving them unable to react, especially during the sleeping hours. The City of Fresno averages one to five fire related deaths each year, in most cases a working smoke alarm would have made the difference between life and death.
In the most recent data available, almost two-thirds of all fire related deaths in the home occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. With the combination of a properly working smoke alarm and home fire sprinkler system the odds of suffering a fire related death drops by 83%, and the rate of property damage drops by 71%. (NFPA reports: U.S. Experience with Sprinklers & Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires)
The fire service has known for many years the best way to prevent these needless deaths is for people to follow some very simple and effective fire safety steps such as; equip their homes with smoke alarms inside each sleeping room, in the areas outside each sleeping room and on each floor of the home. Residents should also test their smoke alarm weekly and practice exiting their home in response to a smoke alarm activation. Children, the elderly, and people with special needs are the most vulnerable and should practice exiting the home.
The Fresno Fire Department has the following guidelines for smoke alarms:
- Count your smoke alarms: We recommend installing a smoke alarm inside each sleeping room, in the areas outside each sleeping room, and on every level of your home.
- Check your smoke alarms: Test each smoke alarm weekly, to make certain they are all working.
- Vacuum your smoke alarms: Clean and dust smoke alarms each month to help keep them functioning properly.
- Change your batteries : Change the batteries in each smoke alarm at least twice a year (during daylight savings) or as soon as the alarm “chirps” indicating the battery is low.
- Change your alarm: Replace each smoke alarm every ten years and your carbon monoxide alarm according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Know the sound: Ensure each person in the home can hear and recognize the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to react immediately. Assistive devices are available for those who are deaf or have other special needs.
- The Fresno Fire Department recommends the use of photoelectric smoke alarms when replacing your existing alarms or installing new ones.
In the interests of enhancing safety for our community, the Central California Burn Aware (link) Foundation, through the Fresno Fire Department – Fire Prevention Division, provides smoke alarms, free of charge, to residents of Fresno. Applicants must live in a single family home or mobile home in the City of Fresno.