Red Light Ball: Hats off to our unsung heroes | TheUnion.com
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Red Light Ball: Hats off to our unsung heroes

Last year was another busy year for the three Joint Operational Area fire departments – Nevada County Consolidated, the City of Grass Valley and Nevada City. We responded to a total of 5,153 incidents.

During the recent storms, we responded to a record 94 incidents on Jan. 4, but that will be in next year’s numbers.

We would not be as successful as we are without our JOA partners. For several years, NCCFD has jointly staffed and operated as one department with Grass Valley and Nevada City. We did this to strengthen our ability to provide the highest level of service to our community with the limited funds available and limited amount of resources we have to deploy.



Joint staffing allowed us to add three fully staffed fire stations, 24/7. These stations previously were staffed only during daytime hours or part time. With additional funds from the NCCFD Fire Assessment, we were able to add Banner Mountain and Alta Sierra to that mix of staffed stations, and Grass Valley added the station at Sierra College. Today, in our JOA response area of more than 170 square miles, and with 45,000 residents nestled in our picturesque wildland urban interface, we operate from seven fully staffed fire stations.

This ongoing effort has taken the better part of 10 years to go from one station staffed 24/7 to the seven we have today. It was no easy task. We have much more to do to make it stronger, and we recognize that it will require much more community support to make it happen.




Though we now have seven engines we can deploy at a moment’s notice, those seven engines only equate to 14 firefighters as most of the time our limited resources only allow us to staff two people on duty at a time per station. Although the National Fire Protection Administration’s industry standard for safe and effective operations is a minimum of four on an engine, some day we will be thrilled to be up to three.

Ten years ago, we responded to approximately 1,500 incidents for the year. As you can see, as our community has grown, so has its need for emergency services.

Our resources are limited, though, so the support we receive from the Nevada County Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Council is vital and very much appreciated. Chief Goodspeed, Chief Marquis and I wish to thank the council for its ongoing support of our efforts to provide the highest level of service possible.

We also recognize that none of this would be possible without the support of the citizens we serve every day.

But most importantly, our unsung heroes, our firefighters, who unceremoniously jump into action at all hours of the night and day, for every kind of call, from putting our elderly back in bed, to pulling hoses into a raging structure fire and everything else in between, our hats are off to you.


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