CPF District 1 represents the counties of San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Imperial and Orange.
Fullerton Firefighters, Local 3421 Packs the House, Blocks JPA Vote
Up against a costly merger proposal with the City of Brea, members of Fullerton Firefighters, Local 3421 called upon their union brothers and sisters to help make the firefighter voice heard.
In late January, a special meeting of the Fullerton City Council was held to discuss a possible Joint Powers Authority (JPA) with the city of Brea that would see the two cities merging their fire departments. As soon as the meeting was announced, Local 3421 leadership began mobilizing its membership to speak out against the proposal.
“We went to work with all of our members, with the IAFF and with our public affairs consultant to make sure that our voices were heard on this critical issue,” said Local 3421 President Jon Fugitt. “We needed to make it clear that the proposed JPA did not make sense, because it would not save our respective cities money, or enhance services.”
Fortunately, a scheduling coincidence would make sure that Local 3421 didn’t have to make their case alone.
At the time of the special council meeting, the IAFF was hosting its Affiliate Leadership Training Summit (ALTS) in nearby Anaheim, allowing firefighters from across the state and nation to pack the Fullerton City Council chambers to weigh in on this important issue.
“We were blown away by the incredible turnout that we had at this meeting. Approximately 200 firefighters were in attendance, representing the Fullerton Fire Department and locals throughout the IAFF 10th District and beyond,” Fugitt said. “Speaker after speaker got up to testify about the importance of proper staffing for our trucks, engines and ambulances.”
In the end, the message resonated with city leadership, who spoke out in near unanimous consensus about the need to reach a minimum staffing level of four-person truck and engine companies in the city. The council also moved to officially kill the proposed JPA merger, with the Brea City Council following suit the next night.
“There is no doubt that the large turnout of firefighters, and the overwhelming presence of the IAFF at this meeting had a tremendous impact on our elected officials and their understanding of our staffing needs,” Fugitt said. “We need to work hard to continue to get our message out, however, we are humble in this victory of saving the council from further reducing staffing on our engines.”
Rancho Cucamonga, Local 2274 Holds Community Active Shooter Training
With the memory of 2015’s deadly shooting in San Bernardino still fresh in mind, firefighters in Rancho Cucamonga are working to help prevent, or at least mitigate, the possibility of another such tragedy.
Earlier this year, members of Rancho Cucamonga Professional Firefighters, Local 2274 have teamed up with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department to provide a community active shooter training program designed to teach civilians how to respond to acts of terror.
“Since the San Bernardino attack, we’ve been very proactive, sometimes holding one to two of these trainings a week,” said Local 2274 President Mike McCliman. “The demand for this sort of instruction is certainly there.”
Through the trainings, schools, businesses and other community organizations have learned the basics of how to best respond to an active shooter scenario, including how to provide basic medical care until fire and police first responders can arrive on scene. Local leaders in the Inland Empire have gone so far as to partner with members of the California Legislature on efforts to place publicly accessable trauma kits throughout the community.
“Similar to what we have now with AED’s, these trauma kits would be available in the event of an emergency,” McCliman said. “Efforts like these will further support the community’s involvement in the response to such an incident.”
Rancho Cucamonga’s community-based training serves as a compliment to police and fire active shooter training, including the California Firefighter JointApprenticeship Committee’s Unified Response to Violent Incidents curriculum, which, in addition to their locally-developed active shooter trainings, the Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department and San Bernardino Sherriff’s Department have previously undergone.
“This training definitely compliments the type of training we receive as agencies,” McCliman said. “The uniqueness of this is that fire and police are getting together to train the community on how they should respond.”
While the subject matter may be uncomfortable for many, Local 2274 leadership says the training has been embraced by the community.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” McCliman said. “To have professionals up there talking about run-hide-fight, is something that will ultimately make our community safer and the reception has been unbelievable.”