California City- Last Thursday morning’s EDC Breakfast meeting at Foxy’s Restaurant brought a full house of VIP’s and a full agenda covering many topics. One of those is Chief Vincent and CCFD and the very sharp learning curve that they ae facing rather unexpectedly concerning the MMJ and hazardous materials involved in some of those processes. How CCFD might mitigate such issues, and a naked shortage of equipment, manpower and space, or more pointedly-funding. The Chief and CCFD know the general parameters of the coming industry having attended several forums/meetings on the subject already. Chief Vincent released a 45 page report on his findings back to the Council and City just two weeks ago. That isn’t the problem. The issue is lack of funding to purchase all the required gear for mitigating a HAZMAT incident per the state, the manpower to operate it, and the space to store it all in.
To say chief Vincent has his work cut out for him is a bit of a understatement. Speaking to those at the meeting the Chief was forthright about the issues facing his department and very soon. He stated openly that CCFD in not prepared to mitigate incidents in high and medium occupancy structures yet. “We will be” the Chief followed up with, adding “We are growing with this industry” (pun intended?).
CCFD is already one of the busiest Fire Departments in Kern County, and their stats prove it. The city of Ridgecrest has double Cal City’s population and yet CCFD take twice as many calls as Ridgecrest does. The department fielded 1200 calls in just three months and handles 6 times the call volume of Tehachapi and Rosamond COMBINED. They are the only all-paramedic department in KC so they handle far more Medical calls than any other