Site Ground Breaking
Pioneering spirit: this seems to be the mantra guiding the progression and growth of "Cal City Fire" over the last 50 years. Many people don't know that the California City Fire Department had its humble beginings as Kern County Fire Department, in 1959. The fire station was volunteer and was established to cover the unincorporated part of Kern County that was to become California City six years later. In 1965, the year of the City's inception, the need for increased fire protection was realized and full time Fire Department staff was hired, consisting of 3 firefighters (1 per 24 hour shift) and 1 chief. In 1969 the current Fire Station was constructed.
The 1970's saw much volunteer activity, but little change in growth with the newly formed California City Fire Department, as did much of the 1980's. Most noteably, the department became the first fire department in Kern County to mandate all firefighters be trained to a first responder level. The California City Fire Department was also the first fire department in Kern County to have emergency medical technicians (EMT's)
The 1990's saw significant growth in the city and subsequently the fire department as well. An additional 3 firefighters were hired, giving each 24 hour shift 2 on duty at a time. This change furthur increased the capability of the department to provide service to the community. An automatic aid system was established with Kern County Fire Department and Kern County Emergency Communications Center (ECC) began dispatching all emergency calls for the city. In 1994, California City Fire began the first structured reserve firefighter program in Kern County. This program continues to this day, with reserves getting the opportunity to receive the on-the-job training portion of their California State Firefighter I Certificate. Growth of the department had finally begun.
In 1996, three additional firefighters were added bringing the total number of personnel to three per shift. The need for these additional personnel was put on display during the 1996 Silver Saddle Resort Fire as teams of firefighters fought to extinguish the multi-alarm fire, one of the largest in Kern County's history.
The mid-90's and subsequent years became years of medical advancement for CCFD. The department became the first fire department to offer Combitube/AED services, (advanced airways) on medical aids. In 1999, Paramedics were added to the list of services provided by the department. The Calfornia City firefighter/paramedics were the first fire-based paramedics in Kern County and immediately helped to reduce the loss of life, due to traumatic injury and illness, immediately upon their conception. By 2002, the city had started a partnership with a private helicopter company, another first for a municipal governmental agency, to provide AirMedical helicopter flight service within the city. Though short lived, California City's helicopter program saved many lives and became the catalyst for other helicopter providers to begin service or increase service, within in Kern County.
As the fire department continues to pioneer new and progressive services for the citizens of California City to this day it plans on continuing to build its history by providing the best service afforded its citizens. It is the vision and goal of California City, and the fire department, to add an additional firefighter to each shift to comply with the recommendations of the National Fire Protection Association's "2-in, 2-out" ruling. By doing this, California City Fire will look forward to continuing its legacy of proud pioneering service to the citizens of California City.