Burn Day: Is this a burn day?

For information on burn days, call Yolo Air Quality Management at (530) 757-3650. To report agricultural burns, contact Dispatch at (530) 666-8920.

Burning Vegetation: Can I burn weeds in the City or County limits?

Burning is not allowed within the City limits; agricultural burning outside of the city limits is allowed only on designated burn days. You must contact the Yolo Air Quality Management District to determine if it is a burn day at (530) 757-3650. You must then call Yolo County Dispatch at (530) 666-8920, and provide them with the time and location of the burn.

Business License: I need an inspection for a business license.

Call the Fire Prevention office at (530) 661-5858 or (530) 661-5859 to schedule an inspection. Appointments are made on a first come, first served basis.

Fire Reports: I need to request a fire report.

Please call the Administration office at 530-661-5860 prior to coming in and provide the following information: Date, Address, and Type of Incident, e.g. Fire, EMS, etc. The cost for a report is $0.30 per page

Fire Station Tours: We would like to schedule a tour of the Fire Station.

The Administration Office can schedule these tours; a minimum of two weeks notice is required. We make every attempt to accommodate requests for specific days and times. This is not always possible due to training, maintenance, and inspection activites. We discourage weekend or evening tours as the Firefighters have specific duties required during those times. Contact the Department Secretary at (530) 661-5860 to schedule a tour.

How is the Fire Department Staffed?

The WFD has a daily staffing of 13 firefighters per day deployed on three (3) fire engines, and one (1) ladder truck. Three (3) Engine Companies operate with three (3) fire personnel and one (1) Truck Company operates with four (4) fire personnel. The four Companies are deployed as follows:

Engine 1 – Station 1

Engine 2 – Station 2

Engine 3 – Station 3

Truck 3 – Station 3 

Firefighters do everything together as “companies” (i.e., training, shopping, conducting inspections, attending meetings, etc) so they can respond to emergencies that may be assigned to them at any time of the day or night.   A Battalion Chief oversees daily operations and also commands multi-engine responses.

The Fire Prevention Bureau is staffed with an interim Fire Marshal and two (2) fire inspectors.

How long does it take for the WFD to respond to an emergency?

There are many components of the 911 response system contributing to the “Total Response Time” to an incident and they are:

·         Call Processing Time - The  911 Public Safety Dispatch Center, a separate organization from the WFD,  has up to 60 seconds to receive the 911 call, gather the information, and begin the dispatch process.

·         Dispatch Time - The  911 Public Safety Dispatch Center has up to 60 seconds to complete the dispatch process so that the emergency call is received by the responding fire units.

·         Turnout Time –Firefighters have up to 60 seconds to receive the emergency dispatch, get dressed into their firefighting clothing (if required), get onto the fire engine, and begin their response to the call. Firefighters may be in their station, they may be involved in training, they may be conducting a business inspection, they may be involved in a work detail, they may be committed to another incident, or if the call occurs at night, they may be asleep when the emergency dispatch is received.  

·         Travel Time – the WFD strives to have the first arriving fire engine arrive at the emergency call within 4 minutes, 90% of the time. We strive to have the balance of the fire engines responding to the incident arrive within 8 minutes, 90% of the time when multiple units are required. 

The WFD is presently averaging under 5 minutes response time to emergency medical calls and under 6 minutes for fire calls within our service area. For a fire engine to drive to the emergency scene within 4 minutes of receiving the dispatch typically means the fire engine must be within 1.5 miles of the emergency call when the dispatch is received. This is the reason why fire stations are located where they are and each fire engine has a primary service area called a “response district”. The areas where travel times are much higher then 4 minutes include the Spring Lake subdivision  and the unincorporated service area outside of town called the Spring Lake Fire Protection District.

How many calls for service did WFD respond to in 2012?

Total Incidents – 5,521

o        Fires – 227

o        Rupture, Explosion – 3

o        Emergency Medical – 3,562

o        Hazardous Condition – 101

o        Service Call – 758

o        Good Intent Call – 564

o        False Alarm – 301

o        Severe Weather Related – 2

o        Other - 3

If a large incident occurs and the WFD needs more firefighters, where do you go to get them?

All WFD firefighters are assigned pagers and if we have a large incident, or several small incidents, and more firefighters are needed to protect the City, we can page those off-duty firefighters and Reserves requesting they report to work. About 80% of our firefighters live in town meaning we can have off-duty firefighters reporting back to work in 15-20 minutes in some cases.  

 None of the fire departments in Yolo County are large enough that they can handle above a low-hazard fire without help from a neighboring agency. If we have a large incident beyond our staffing capabilities, our communications center automatically requests units from these other agencies to help us starting with the units closest to Woodland. These are called “automatic aid” agreements and they include the fire departments of Willow Oak, Davis, UC Davis, Dixon, West Sacramento, Yolo, West Plainfield, and Rumsey Rancheria.  The Willow Oak and Davis FD’s are closest to us and they are able to respond to our incidents in 15 minutes, if they are available and not committed to their own emergencies.  

The WFD also has agreements with all fire departments in Yolo County whereby we can ask for help from them when we need it, and they can ask for help from us when they need it called a “mutual-aid agreement”. If we have one or more incidents beyond the capabilities of our department and adjoining departments, we can request fire resources from throughout the County to provide us assistance. 

Most calls for service were emergency medical calls. Why does the WFD respond to medical emergencies?

In California today, most, if not all, fire departments respond to medical emergencies as a standard of care. Fire Department response to medical emergencies is part of a strategic county-wide emergency medical response system. Fire engines are geographically located to arrive to emergency medical incidents within 4 minutes from being dispatched 90% of the time with the current average response time being under 5 minutes. Medical transport ambulances are operated by American Medical Response (AMR) as part of their exclusive operating agreement (EOA) within Yolo County.  AMR provides advanced life support (ALS) and transport services, and are required to arrive within 8 minutes, 90% of the time. This standard means the WFD will arrive on-scene quicker then AMR in most cases to provide patient assessment, and begin basic life support services including cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and early defibrillation, if needed, until the ambulance arrives.  Since brain death can occur in as little as 8-10 minutes when the heart stops pumping oxygenated blood, it becomes critical that the WFD be part of the emergency medical response system to increase the potential for patient survival. 

In the case of a heart attack, for example, where the fire engine typically arrives first to the scene, the firefighters will do a rapid patient assessment and determine that cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is required. One firefighter will begin chest compressions, the second will begin rescue breathing, and the third will connect the automatic external defibrillator (AED) to the patient and begin heart assessment. Once the ambulance arrives with two (2) personnel, the paramedic will begin advanced patient assessment and supervise everyone on-scene. The ambulance attendant will ready advanced equipment and drugs while the firefighters continue their efforts in CPR. Once the patient is loaded into the ambulance, the medic will ask for two (2) firefighters to ride in the ambulance with them to continue CPR. The remaining firefighter will have to gather all WFD equipment and drive the fire engine to the hospital to retrieve the remainder of his/her engine company.

Smoke Detectors: Who can I call regarding information on my smoke detector?

The Fire Prevention office has staff who can answer questions about smoke detectors. Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and you may contact them at (530) 661-5858 or (530) 661-5859.

Weeds: My neighbor has dry weeds that are a fire hazard. What can be done to make them take care of the weeds?

The City has a weed abatement ordinance which mandates that dry weeds and grass be abated to prevent fires. Contact Fire Prevention at (530) 661-5858 or (530) 661-5859 to report any concern regarding possible fire hazard.

What Do Our Firefighters Do Each Day?

WFD firefighters start their shift at 7:00am cleaning the stations and checking out their apparatus and equipment. They typically start their daily training at 8:00am and that may last from 2 hours, to all morning, to all day. Other duties include responding to emergency calls, station and landscape maintenance, equipment maintenance, business fire inspections, public education, physical conditioning, and special projects. Firefighters also have collateral duties meaning each may have an additional assignment they are given that they manage and oversee such as creating and updating city maps, managing our records management system, managing our radios and communication system, managing apparatus issues, managing equipment issues, managing rescue equipment and training, and managing hazardous materials response equipment and training, etc. These tasks keep the firefighters busy everyday including weekends and holidays.

What is the Response Area for the Woodland Fire Department?

The City of Woodland is a little over 15 square miles, and then the WFD provides contract fire protection to almost 41 additional square miles within the Spring Lake Fire Protection District for a total response area of almost 56 square miles.

What level of medical care does the WFD provide?

All Firefighters are trained and certified as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) to provide basic life support (BLS) services.

What services does the WFD provide?

The WFD, as in many fire departments, is divided into two primary service divisions.  The Operations Division responds to fire, medical, hazardous materials, and rescue emergencies to protect life and property. The WFD also responds to natural and man-made disasters to protect life and property. In essence the WFD responds to any and all 9-1-1 emergency calls that do not require law enforcement action. Firefighters provide public education and conduct business and mercantile inspections for fire and life safety issues. 

The second division is the Fire Prevention Bureau (FPB) which provides technical guidance during development planning, provides plan checking services on new construction and remodel projects, and conducts inspections of assembly, school, multi-family residence, and significant commercial occupancies all to be sure fire and life safety issues are being adhered to. The FPB provides plan check and inspection services, by contract, for all residential and commercial construction in the unincorporated areas of Yolo County where automatic fire sprinklers and fire alarm systems will be installed.

When do Firefighters Sleep?

WFD firefighters work 48-hour shifts and they go to bed each night like everyone else. There are a few nights when they sleep all night, but most of the time they are awakened one or more times to respond to emergency calls. Lights and radio tones activate inside the stations at night to awaken the firefighters so they can get up, get dressed, and get on the fire engine within the 1 minute time they are allotted (called “Turnout Time”) to start their emergency response. 

Where is the nearest fire station to the Spring Lake Subdivision?

The nearest fire station to the Spring Lake area is Fire Station 3 located at 1550 Spring Lake Court (cross street of Pioneer, across from Food-4-Less)

Why do Firefighters go everywhere together and always take the fire engine?

Firefighters work together as a team called a company. Everything they do during their shift must be done together so they are always near their fire engine, and always ready to respond to an emergency.

 The fire engine serves several purposes to the fire company. First, it is their form of transportation around town on errands, and to any emergency. Secondly, the fire engine is much like a business person’s office, or a plumber’s service truck. Everything the firefighter needs to do their job is carried on that fire engine and the firefighters never know, from one minute to the next, when they might need equipment off of the fire engine for an emergency medical call, a rescue, or a fire, etc. It is not uncommon for an engine company to be at the scene of a medical emergency when a structure fire calls comes in. If the ambulance is there, and the ambulance crew can assume control of the patient and that emergency, then the engine company will be released from that scene to respond directly to the fire. For this reason the engine company must have all of their tools with them at all times and those tools are carried on the fire engine.  

Some fire departments have tried assigning firefighters to pickup trucks or SUVs for medical responses to cut costs, and found themselves on a medical call without their fire engine when a fire call came in. The Redding Fire Department tried this and on more than one occasion lost valuable time driving back to the fire station to get the fire engine to complete their fire response. In the meantime the fire grows, crews are unable to make an aggressive interior attack or rescue by the time they arrive resulting in additional property loss and perhaps even life loss.  These departments, including the Redding FD, find themselves going back to operating off of fire engines so this never happens again. An experiment in saving money like this one usually comes at the expense of someone’s property, and perhaps even a life. It’s not worth it.

Why do firefighters work in teams of three or four people per engine?

The WFD is staffed to fight fires, which is a very dangerous and exhausting activity. Each engine or truck is staffed with a “company” of three (3) or four (4) firefighters so they can accomplish critical tasks as a team when they arrive on the fire scene. Structure fires today burn hotter and faster than ever before due to the many synthetic and plastic materials used in construction and in furniture. If critical tasks cannot be performed immediately a fire could burn “out of control”, opportunities for occupant rescue are lost, and the structure may be totally destroyed.

The WFD sends all four (4) companies (3 Engines and 1 Truck) to every structure fire so that we have the most firefighters we have available to make our best effort to keep the fire small.

To illustrate how the WFD will handle a residential structure fire, the following example is offered:

All four (4) companies will be dispatched if they are available. The Captain (supervisor) on the first arriving fire engine must give a “size-up”, or radio report, to all other responding companies of what type and size of structure is burning, where evidence of the fire is showing (i.e., windows or doors, first floor or second floor, front of the structure or the rear, etc), what tactics his/her engine company is going to start doing, and what special assignments need to be given to the next arriving units. Every fire is different so every “size-up” is different.

A Battalion Chief responds to all multi-engine emergency responses to assume a “command” role directing the engine companies on what they need to do to extinguish the fire, perform a rescue, etc. Once the Battalion Chief arrives on-scene, he/she will make contact with that first arriving Captain, get an update of the fire, and will relieve that Captain so he/she can join their company and their assignment.

At a working fire at least one engine company will secure a water supply from the nearest fire hydrant laying out a large diameter hose from the hydrant to the fire. Once the hose is connected to the hydrant at one end and to the fire engine at the other the hydrant is turned “on” and smaller firefighting hoses are pulled from the fire engine to an exterior to be used by firefighters entering the structure to extinguish the fire, this is called “fire attack”.

Firefighters must adhere to the “buddy system” by law which means there must be at least two “fire attack” firefighters going inside, and at least two firefighters standing by outside the structure as their rescue team. Firefighters enter the structure on their hands and knees to stay low under the dense black smoke and the very high and intensive heat. Firefighters can rarely see where they are going as they crawl into the structure and they must follow sounds and heat to find the fire. As additional firefighters enter the structure with additional hoses they will follow deliberate search patterns to be sure nobody became trapped in the structure. If anybody is found in a burning structure, firefighters will immediately remove them to safety outdoors and give them immediate medical care.

Other tasks that must be accomplished immediately, and typically assigned to the Truck Company, include turning off the utilities to the structure (i.e., gas and electric power), and performing “ventilation” which can be accomplished by breaking out windows or by a truck company laddering the roof to cut a large hole in the roof so smoke and hot gases can quickly escape.

Once the fire is extinguished, then “overhaul” must begin. This is the process of making sure every last bit of fire is thoroughly extinguished and must be done before the firefighters may leave the scene. It is during overhaul that fire investigators will be called to the scene so they can see burn patterns, take pictures, etc before firefighters change the appearance of the inside of the structure too much doing overhaul. In some cases the firefighters remain on scene with the investigators doing overhaul and investigation simultaneously. Both are tedious assignments so this can prolong the time for both dramatically. The goal is to be sure the fire is out, and to be sure we have every clue to determine how the fire started.