Engineers design new department badge

It was nearly a year ago when Newport Beach Fire Department engineers Peter Garcia and Jason Fernandez began planning how to celebrate the department's centennial anniversary.

The 100th birthday, which took place April 17, was something the two wanted to commemorate by showing their pride in working for the longtime Newport Beach institution. So they set to work designing a departmental badge commemorating the milestone.

"It's such a privilege to be working and be part of it," Garcia said. "Everyone here is pretty proud to work for this department. So when something like this comes around, everyone is excited to be a part of it."

The new badge incorporates red, white and blue on a silver-colored background. It's topped with an eagle, axes and a fire hydrant on either side.

To design the badge, Garcia and Fernandez looked to past badges from the department's long history for inspiration. They wanted to incorporate vintage elements in the new one.

All the members of the 130-person department purchased the centennial badge with their own personal money. Civil service members, retired firefighters and City Council members received honorary badges, paid for independently of city funds.

Each badge cost about $80 — nearly 10 times the price of the original 1911 badges — but for Garcia, it was money well spent.

"It was important for us that everyone in the department is wearing the same badge at the same time," Garcia said.

On April 12, Fire Chief Mike Morgan and Newport Beach Firefighters Assn. President Brian McDonough unveiled the new badge at a City Council meeting, according to a news release from the department.

Among the elements that have appeared on the Newport Beach badge over the past 100 years are images of sailboats, alluding to the city's strong maritime culture, with an eagle sculpted atop the badge. In the 1990s, the badge got supersized, with a larger one being adopted.

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