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Bulletin keeps agencies in touch

Darleene Barrientos

An electronic newsletter put out by the Verdugo Fire Communications

Center -- which fields 911 calls from the 11 area cities it serves

--is the latest effort to bridge the gap across city borders.

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With a new quarterly bulletin released last week, called “Unified

Response,” news and information from Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena,

South Pasadena, Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Marino, San Gabriel,

Sierra Madre, Arcadia and Monrovia will bring fire officials up to

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speed on what other agencies are doing and how it will benefit the

cities as a whole.

Burbank Fire, along with Glendale and Pasadena Fire departments,

is one of the original agencies to be serviced by the Verdugo Fire

Communications Center. The communication between the cities, large or

small, is beneficial for all, Burbank Fire Chief Mike Davis said.

“We are all strongly supportive of the publication simply because

it’s something that benefits us all,” Davis said. “Whatever

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information comes out of, say, Monrovia, we can attach an amount of

importance to it. But at least we know what it is.”

The bulletin brings news about Burbank Fire’s recent renovations

at its training center. It also lays out Glendale’s experiences with

controlled goat-grazing and the department’s new water tenders,

vehicles that transport water to areas where no natural or man-made

resources are available.

The information is invaluable to smaller fire departments, such as

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one-station department San Marino, which does not have its own

training center or the funding to buy new equipment.

“There are nearly 20 different aid agreements among the 11

cities,” Glendale Fire Chief Chris Gray said. “We’re in the process

of trying to cut that down into one, so each community has automatic

aid agreement with the other 10 cities. It’s so we can function as

one large agency.”

Such an effort has never been attempted in the past, Gray said.

Departments would generally talk only at calls for service or during

training, he said.

“Sharing information, sharing news, doing it electronically -- we

don’t have printing costs,” he said. “It’s very economical, everyone

can see what everyone is doing. We can issue policies,

standardization -- it gets everyone on the same page.”


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