Loma Prieta Volunteer Fire & Rescue
Jaci Viskochil, Mike Coryell, Guy Denues and Alex
Loma Prieta Volunteer Fire & Rescue, started in 1962, was
originally called the Loma Prieta Civil Defense Fire Team. The property
on Old Summit (17445 Old Summit Road) was a swamp for sale, making it
affordable to purchase. All materials and labor were donated.
Originally, the equipment was military surplus until the mid 1970ís
when the California Department of Forestry (CDF) under contract to Santa
Cruz County Fire took on the volunteer fire department. CDF upgraded
some of the equipment and gear and continues to train the department
with up to date information and techniques.
We are one of eight volunteer companies in Santa Cruz County Fire. In
1997, the community lost the station due to fire. With the help of
insurance, Santa Cruz County and the community, we were able to rebuild
the station and purchase new equipment. Annual operating supplies are
purchased with a combination of county funds, individual donations and
the proceeds from our annual fundraising event, the Firefighters
Barbecue, held each year on the first Sunday of June. We hope you have
enjoyed the event and will continue to do so in the future.
We have twenty members and are always looking for more. We enjoy
providing public education. We speak at the preschool and grade school.
We also support local events with first aid coverage. Seventy percent of
our members are EMTís (Emergency Medical Technicians) equipped with
medical trauma bags and oxygen that they carry at all times. Fifty-five
percent are driver/operators, meaning they have a Class B license and
related training to drive the fire engines. Many also hold amateur radio
licenses. We are well dispersed throughout the area and respond from our
homes in our private vehicles to the call or to the station to pick up
fire engines. Often, due to proximity, our volunteers arrive to provide
medical aid before fire apparatus or ambulance. You can find out more
about the department on our Web site: www.lomaprietafire.org.
We have a 2200-gallon watertender housed at the Burrell Fire Station
on Highland Way supporting other engines with water during fires. Itís
thirty feet long and weighs twenty tons. We also have Engines 44 and 47,
Rescue 44 and Attack 48.
The engines respond primarily to fires in structures, vegetation and
automobiles. They may also respond as additional resources to other
incidents. They hold 500 gallons of water and are equipped with foam, a
better fire protectant for threatened structures, vegetation and vehicle
fires because it penetrates better than water.
Rescue 44 is the vehicle you see most often. It responds to medical
calls and vehicle accidents. It is equipped with gear for over-the-side
rescues, auto extrication and medical emergencies. Based on a Ford F450,
it was built to specifications to meet the needs of our response area.
Engine 44 and the rescue vehicles are housed at Station 44 on Old
Attack 48 is an older vehicle that will soon be replaced by a new
truck that we are able to purchase as a result of fundraising efforts
and private donations. Attack 48 is a four-wheel drive vehicle that
carries 350 gallons water, medical gear and tools. This is a smaller
truck that is used for calls on the east side of our territory (Old San
Jose/Mt. Bache area). The 4x4 design makes off-road areas more
accessible for us.
Our new attack vehicle will be a Ford 4x4 F550 capable of
transporting patients from inaccessible areas to awaiting ambulances. It
will be outfitted with a compressed air foam (CAF) unit and housed at
Station 48 near Summit Woods on Old San/Jose Soquel Road.
Engine 1768, a four wheel drive "brush rig," operated and
owned by CDF, responds from Burrell Station. These paid firefighters
staff Burrell year round. A seamless relationship includes monthly
training shared by the two departments for smoother execution on the
fireground. When you need burn permits, call to request them from
Loma Prieta Volunteer Fire responds to all 911 calls in our response
area 24 hours a day. We cover a 25-square mile area. Our territory
includes Loma Prieta Ridge (Summit Road) from Mt. Bache to the Bear
Creek/Araki Road area. On Highway 17, we respond from Summit Road South
to Laurel Curve. We cover down Old San Jose/Soquel Road as far as
Enchanted Valley. We have also responded as part of an OES Strike Team
to major wildfires as far away as Los Angeles and Sonora in the Sierras.
We respond to between 300 and 400 calls per year. Forty-five percent
of our calls are for vehicle accidents on Highway 17. Thanks to
increasing CHP enforcement, accidents involving injuries have dropped
The rescue unit and one engine are equipped with defibrillator units.
The defibrillators have been extremely valuable. They have saved three
out of three patients with shockable rhythms. Due to the remote nature
of our area, we often need air ambulances. Multiple landing sites are
available throughout the area.
We respond, train and work closely with Station 47 (Burrell CDF) and
are included in the mutual response area with Scotts Valley Fire
Department, Santa Cruz County Central Fire Protection District and
occasionally with Santa Clara County Fire Department in Redwood Estates.
During the summer, additional CDF stations at Alma and on San
Jose/Soquel Road also support our area.
Funding for the team comes from two sources. A part of your property
tax payment funds the County Fire Department, whose job it is to ensure
that all areas are covered with basic protection.
The volunteer team raises additional income through grants, matching
fund proposals and fundraising activities to improve the level of
service. All monies generated by volunteer efforts go directly into the
maintenance of our stations and equipment. Loma Prieta Fire has a wish
list on the Web site that details some of the items we need along with
their approximate cost. These items include handi-talkies, an additional
defibrillator unit, medical gloves and our mapping project.
But we need more than equipment. We need volunteers. Maintaining a
force large enough to respond day in and day out is not easy. Not
everybody can respond at all times, and the passage of a new law that
prohibits paid firefighters from volunteering has cut into our ranks. In
order for a modern volunteer force to survive, it requires a balance
between young career bound firefighters and those who have their roots
deep in the community. The paradox is that those who have the most free
time to devote often move on into paid duty, thus shifting the weight to
those with full time employment and family obligations. Prospective
volunteers should consider the investment in training.
On the plus side, volunteers enjoy tremendous satisfaction. Gaining
the knowledge required and putting it to use to benefit your neighbors
and community leads to substantial fulfillment. Nobody ever leaves the
team because they donít like the mission. Those who are interested in
taking the leap should call one of the officers listed below. You can
also log on to the Web site to gather additional information.
We welcome all prospective volunteers, male and female. You must live
in the response area and be at least 18 years of age. There are a series
of classes and training you must attend to be able to respond on calls.
All required training is available through CDF, which will put you
through a volunteer academy, first responder (medical) training, safety
orientation, hazardous materials and confined space training. There is
no cost for the training.