Friday, July 22, 2011

Hiking Related Rescues on the Rise

Lakeside, CA -

Over the last year there has been a steady increase in the number of rescue calls to extricate stranded hikers in the San Diego County area. This number is simply reflective of the increased use of trails throughout the region. Hiking has had a resurgence in popularity, thus many hikers find themselves unable to return to their vehicles due to a variety of reasons.

But really the biggest concern is the timely notification of emergency services when things go wrong. One of the most challenging aspects of rescuing hikers is finding them in the back country.

Lakeside and CalFire personnel train on removing injured hikers.

To better enjoy the network of trails in San Diego County we suggest:
  • Don't hike alone. Many people can become incapacitated, and unable to seek help on their own. Hike with a group, or a friend.
  • Let people know where you are going.  Don't keep your trip a secret. Let family and friends know where your trail head is at, where you are hiking to, and when you are due back.
  • Know your wilderness address. Access to you GPS coordinates can be invaluable to rescue crews. The price has dropped considerably on basic GPS units, but for those of you with smart phone technology, many have navigation apps that will provide you with this information. Consider downloading one before your next hike.
  • Hike with a cell phone. I know, many of our trails are well outside of reliable cell phone coverage. But many are within the coverage area. Even if you are initially out of cell phone range, it's likely to be faster to hike to an area with "bars", as opposed to hiking to the car and driving for help.
  • Water, water, water...! One of the biggest reasons emergency services are called out is for dehydrated hikers that under estimated their water needs. On a normal day a hiker can sweat away a liter of fluid for every two hours of hiking. As the temperature climbs, or the terrain gets rough, those water needs will only go up.
  • Match your hike to your current level of conditioning. Many people underestimate the physical demands of some of the local trails. Take the time to research the local trails and their difficulty level. 
  • Stay put...! Once you have called for help and given a specific location...stay put. Often crews have difficulty when they arrive at a specific location only to find the victim gone.
Hiking is a great recreational sport that should be enjoyed by all. Just go prepared...

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vehicle Vs. Tree in Eucalyptus Hills

Eucalyptus Hills-

On Thursday, July 21, 2011, at 6:35a.m., the Lakeside Fire District received calls that a vehicle had left the roadway and impacted a tree in the 11400 block of Valle Vista Rd. A structural engine, rescue company, and ALS paramedic unit were dispatched to the incident.

On the arrival of Engine 2 (Eucalyptus Hills fire station), firefighters discovered a severely damaged vehicle with a single occupant who had sustained moderate injuries. Crews also discovered that a fire had ignited in the engine compartment area. Firefighters removed the occupant and initiated medical treatment while other crew members extinguished the fire.

Lakeside Fire crews work on the occupant who suffered moderate injuries.
The patient was transported to Sharp Memorial Hospital Trauma Unit in Kearny Mesa by Lakeside firefighter/paramedics. The incident resulted in the closure of Valle Vista Road while CHP investigated the accident and tow crews removed the car.

A total of 8 Lakeside Fire personnel responded to the incident.

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lakeside Units Assist Alpine with an Early Morning Structure Fire

Alpine, CA -

On Saturday, July 16, 2011, at 1:45a.m., the Lakeside Fire Protection District sent two engine companies to the Alpine area to assist that Alpine firefighters with a residential structure fire in the 1200 block of Willowside Terrace. Arriving Viejas and Alpine Fire units found a residential structure fire with one bedroom engulfed in flames.

On the arrival of E26s (Blossom Valley fire station) and E3 (Lake Jennings fire station), they were assigned interior attack assignments to complete knockdown on the fire. Crews then completed overhaul of the fire area.

View Lakeside Incidents and Story Map in a larger map

Cause of the fire is under investigation. Alpine was also assisted by crews from Santee and CalFire (Descanso)

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Explosion Rattles Lake Jennings Neighborhood

Lake Jennings Area-

On Wednesday, July 13, 2011, at 4:53p.m., the Lakeside Fire Protection District received calls about a loud explosion and smoke in the area of the Levi Water Treatment Plant in the 9500 block of Lake Jennings Park Rd. Concurrently, the communications center at the Sheriff's Department lit up with multiple calls reference an explosion in the area. Engine Company 3, and Battalion 1 (Tockstein), responded from the Lake Jennings fire station, with a number of deputies.

Debris field left after a malfunctioning unit exploded.
Firefighters responded to the treatment plant and met with Helix Water District personnel. During an on-site inspection of the facility, it was discovered that a mechanical unit, used in the process of water purification, had suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure resulting in a significant explosion.

Firefighters checked for any type of hazardous materials release or other hazards that may have resulted in an additional explosion. Helix personnel quickly resolved the situation and no hazardous materials were involved in the incident.

 A total of 4 Lakeside Fire personnel responded to the call, assisted by the San Diego Sheriff's Department.

Submitted By: Fire Captain Mark Grow, Lakeside Fire District

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lakeside Fire Units Respond to Structure Fire in Santee

Santee, CA -

Lakeside Fire crews were dispatched at 2:07 p.m. on July 12, 2011, to a structure fire on the border of Santee and Lakeside on Fonteyn Ct.  Engine 1 (Riverview Station) and Engine 2 (Eucalyptus Hills Station) were on the initial dispatch along with Battalion 2, Engine, Rescue,and M5 from Santee, and Truck 11 from La Mesa.
Crews from E2 move to the roof to ventilate the structure
Engine 1 was the initial unit on scene and found heavy smoke and fire coming from the front of the structure with residents attempting to suppress the fire with garden hoses.  E1 was able to lay a 4 inch supply line and start an initial attack on the fire with the help of E5 who had also arrived on scene.  E2 was assigned to the roof to perform vertical ventilation to help exhaust the heat, smoke, and fire gases from the structure.  

The fire was found to be only in the garage and it was kept from extending into the primary structure with a combination of the aggressive fire attack and timely ventilation.  The fire burned deeply into the rafters which compromised the integrity of the roof so crews had to improvise a way to remove the roof tile and check for fire extension.

Crews work from the ladder
The 24 foot extension ladder, as seen in the photo above, provided a platform for crews to begin removing the roof tiles with pike poles and rubbish hooks (tools of the trade).  Not enough of the structure could be accessed from the ladder so the decision was made to use the aerial ladder from Truck 11 to continue the work.  
The boom is moved in
Work continues from an elevated platform
The fire was extinguished with units from the first alarm.  The cause of the fire is under investigation by the San Diego Sheriff's Department Arson Unit.

Story and Photos by: Engineer/Paramedic Bernie Molloy

Lakeside Crews Help Extinguish Small Brush Fire

Old Barona Road -

Lakeside firefighters were called to assist Barona Fire units with a vegetation fire on July 12, 2011, that was burning on Old Barona Rd.  Barona Brush 27 arrived on scene just behind Barona Battalion 8 and began a mobile pumping operation along the road which they later turned into a progressive hose lay along the right flank of the fire.

Engine 1 (Riverview Station) and Engine 3 (Lake Jennings Station) quickly arrived on scene and started a hose lay on the left flank of the fire assisted by crews from Cal Fire engines 3382 and 3352.  Due to the rapid response and adequate number of resources (firefighters) assigned, this fire was quickly contained.  The cause of the fire is under investigation.

This fire was small but it shows that, as the summer progresses, the vegetation is starting to dry-out and is burning more readily. Residents in Lakeside and surrounding areas need to ensure they have their minimum 100-foot clearance around their homes and other structures.  This clearance combined with practicing a high degree of fire safety when using anything that could lead to a vegetation fire will help combat fires this summer.

Photos and Story by:  Engineer/Paramedic Bernie Molloy

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lakeside Personnel Train On The New Heartland Roof Ventilation Prop

Firefighter Shawn McKenna watches on as Fire Reserves Brent Watte makes a cut and David Csik backs him up.
 As part of standard tactics during battle with fire inside a structure, firefighters are called upon regularly to cut holes in the roof to allow smoke and super-heated gases to escape. As fire progresses in an enclosed building so do the byproducts of combustion including, smoke, heat and toxic gases. With nowhere to escape, these super-heated gases quickly combine to create a deadly atmosphere with little to no visibility. Firefighters refer this environment as Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health (IDLH). With modern protective clothing and breathing apparatus, firefighters are able to enter IDLH atmospheres but these conditions seriously hamper rescue and fire suppression efforts. One answer to this problem is the coordinated and systematic removal of the smoke, heat and gases through roof ventilation.

Simultaneous evolutions on the new prop.
 On Saturday July 9, 2011, a total of ten Lakeside Fire personnel took advantage of a new roof ventilation prop at the Thomas H.Owen Training Facility. This recently completed addition to the Heartland facility, located at 1301 N. Marshall Avenue in El Cajon, is designed to allow firefighters the opportunity to practice ventilation techniques on simulated roof structures. 
A 10/12 pitch, 6/12 pitch and flat roof.
 The two pitched roofs and one large flat roof use the same construction methods and materials as typical residential and commercial buildings in our area. Built right on ground level, the roofs provide for a safer training environment as well as easier access for reassembling following each training evolution. 

Louvered commercial ventilation holes.

The on-duty crew from Lakeside's Blossom Valley fire station ( Engine 26s) led the training exercise including seven Lakeside Reserve Firefighters through the proper execution of various roof ventilation techniques. The new prop made it possible for all personnel to get plenty of important hands-on practice with ventilation tools including the chain saw and fire axe.

Submitted By: Fire Captain Chuck Palmore, Lakeside Fire District
Photos By: Engineer John Eastlick, Lakeside Fire District

Friday, July 8, 2011

Captain J. Charles Weber Retires from Lakeside Fire Protection District

Lakeside Fire has recently had a retirement of one of its longest-tenured employees, Captain Chuck Weber.  After serving the Department for almost 40 years, Captain Weber decided it was time move on.  Starting as a seasonal firefighter with Lakeside and working his way ultimately to the position of Deputy Fire Marshal, Chuck filled many roles while he was with the Department. 
Chief Parr congratulating Captain Weber on an impressive career.
Here are some of the Highlights of Captain Weber's career:
Aug 15, 1972 - hired as seasonal firefighter with Lakeside

November 72 to July 73 - Paid-call Firefighter with Lakeside (similar to our Reserve program now - the Board ended it due to "worker's comp expense" and LFD became a full-paid dept)

April 73 to Aug 74 - Fire Dispatcher (dispatching went to El Cajon/HCFA then)

July 74 to Jan 76 - Paid Call Firefighter - Santee

Jan 76 to July 1990 - Firefighter with Lakeside

July 1990 to Jan 2002 - Engineer

April 1992 to Present - Fire Investigator

Jan 2002 to Sept 2005 - Captain

Sept 05 to May 25 2011 - Deputy Fire Marshal/Fire Captain

In addition to the work he did with the department, Chuck was heavily involved in the training of new firefighters.  For more than 10 years Chuck has been working as a Fire Science instructor with several different organizations.

Sept 01 to Sept 05 - Fire & Science Instructor, East County Regional Occupation Center
January 08 to Present - Adjunct Fire Instructor, Miramar College
August 10 to Present - Fire Prevention 1 Curriculum Development Cadre, State Fire Training
Registered Instructor for State Fire Training - Driver Operator 1a, 1b; Fire command 1a, 1b; Fire Management I; Fire Prevention 1a,1b, 1c, 2c, 3b; Fire Investigation 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b

Captain Weber with his family
Captain Weber is looking forward to retirement but has plans of developing a fire safety consulting business to keep himself involved in public safety.  That project, along with restoring his vintage Mustang, should keep him busy enough that he doesn't even know he has retired.

The Lakeside Fire Department would like to thank and congratulate Chuck on a great carreer.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lakeside Units Handle a Rollover Traffic Collision on Wild Cat Canyon

Lakeside, CA -

On July 1, 2011, just after 11:00 p.m., Lakeside firefighters responded to a report of a rollover traffic collision on Wildcat Canyon Road.  The response included engines and a rescue unit from Lakeside and Barona as well as two paramedic ambulances from Lakeside and Santee.  On the arrival of Lakeside B1, he reported the vehicle was on its side with one occupant trapped in the vehicle.  Two other occupants from the vehicle had self-extricated and were on the side of the road. 

The Vehicle sustained major damage.

E1 (Riverview Station) was quickly on scene and began patient care with the assistance of E2 (Eucalyptus Hills Station) .  R3 (Lake Jennings Station) arrived and began stabilizing the vehicle and working on removing the trapped patient.  Barona E27 arrived from the north end of Wildcat Canyon and assisted with patient extrication.  Due to the prolonged extrication, B1 requested Mercy Air 6 from Gillespie Field in El Cajon to expedite transport once the trapped patient was freed from the car.

R-42 Struts are used to secure the vehicle so crews can remove the
trapped occupants
All three patients were transported to an area trauma center.  The cause of the accident is under investigation by the CHP.

Submitted by:  Engineer Paramedic Bernie Molloy, Lakeside Fire District