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.
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
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
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
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.”