Tag Archives: Fire Department

Defensible space inspections help keep homeowners safe in San Marcos

Defensible space inspections help keep homeowners safe in San Marcos

San Marcos, CA –In the last year, the San Marcos Fire Department (SMFD) conducted nearly 830 defensible space inspections of properties located in the city’s highest wildfire risk areas, as determined by the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

Photo caption: San Marcos Fire Inspector Randy Hill conducts a defensible space audit on a home in a high fire risk area.  

Since January, the San Marcos Fire Department has sent notices to 250 properties asking owners to remove dead and overgrown vegetation and maintain the required 150 feet around a home to help reduce or slow the spread of wildfire.

“San Marcos is no stranger to wildfire and it is up to all of us to help keep ourselves, our property and the community safe,” said Fire Chief Brett VanWey.

During the defensible space audits, recommendations on how to improve or maintain defensible space are provided to the homeowner using a checklist and photos based on an inspection of the property.  If a homeowner is not home or cannot participate in the inspection while fire department personnel are on site, a copy of the report will be mailed to the owner.

Free of charge, homeowners do not need to be present as inspectors are able to assess defensible space requirements from the street or an adjacent property. Inspections are conducted only by uniformed fire department personnel to help educate homeowners on opportunities to minimize risk of wildfire.

“Creating defensible space is critical for a home’s chance of surviving a wildfire and reduces risk to our firefighters responding,” continued VanWey.


Photo Caption: Defensible space saved this home during the May 2014 Cocos Fire.

In addition to local inspections, CALFIRE will coordinate inspections with SMFD for residents living in the State Responsibility Area. CALFIRE’s main goal will be to educate homeowners and evaluate properties to ensure owners maintain the required defensible space – 100 feet for homes built prior to 2005 and 150 feet for homes built after 2005.

Homeowners can use the following tips to help homes survive a wildfire:

  • Maintain 150-feet of defensible space around all structures (100 feet for homes built prior to 2005).
  • Clear all needles and leaves from roofs, eaves and rain gutters.
  • Trim tree branches 6 feet from the ground.
  • Use trimming, mowing and power equipment before 10 a.m.
  • Landscape with fire resistant and drought tolerant plants that require little water.
  • Remove branches away from roofs and 10 feet from the chimney.
  • Keep wood piles and flammable materials at least 30 feet from the home.
  • Use fire ignition resistant building material.

For more emergency preparedness information, visit www.san-marcos.net/beprepared or call the San Marcos Fire Department at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3410.

San Marcos residents encouraged to attend annual Fourth of July Firework Extravaganza

Leave fireworks to the experts

Residents encouraged to attend annual Fourth of July Firework Extravaganza

With Fourth of July only a few days away, the San Marcos Fire Department reminds all residents that fireworks are best left to experts.

“Fireworks are extremely dangerous, unpredictable and capable of causing serious burns and disfiguring injuries,” said San Marcos Fire Chief Brett Van Wey. “They can also ignite dry brush, grasses and dead tree material and cause serious fires in our community.”

All residents should know that all fireworks — even those labeled “consumer” or “safe and sane” — are illegal in San Diego County. This includes cone fountains, cylindrical fountains, roman candles, skyrockets, firecrackers, mine and shells, helicopter-type rockets, sparklers, poppers and revolving wheels.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, thousands of people, including children and teens, are injured every year while using consumer fireworks. Even something as “harmless” as a sparkler, which burns at over 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, can cause critical injuries and pose a serious fire hazard. Additionally, two out of five fires reported on Independence Day are started by fireworks.

Residents are encouraged to enjoy the city’s FREE professional fireworks show during the annual Fourth of July Firework Extravaganza at Bradley Park, 1587 Linda Vista Drive, on Tuesday, July 4.

Entertainment and festivities begin at 6 pm with the firework show at 9 pm. The evening’s free entertainment featuring Liquid Blue, a show band, will begin at 6 pm.  Children’s activities include face painting, party jumps and more.  Food concessions will include hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, snow cones and more.

“Offered for more than 36 years of spirited family fun, this annual event offers residents a way to safely enjoy fireworks while celebrating our nation’s independence,” said Community Services Director Buck Martin. “With children’s activities, food for purchase and a great pyrotechnic display, this event has something for everyone.”

The fireworks show is entirely dependent on community donations.  To contribute, please send tax-deductible donations by June 26 to: San Marcos Fireworks Fund, 3 Civic Center Drive, San Marcos 92069.  Donations of $25 or more will receive a commemorative item.

For more fire prevention information, contact the San Marcos Fire Department at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3410.

To learn more about the city’s Fourth of July celebration or to donate to the fireworks show, visit www.gofundme.com/SM2017Fireworks.

San Marcos to host mass casualty drill on Thursday

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The City of San Marcos will host a large-scale mass casualty drill for San Diego’s “North Zone” fire departments on Thursday, March 20 at 9:30 am. The cities of San Marcos, Escondido, Vista, Carlsbad, Fallbrook, Rancho Santa Fe, Encinitas and Cal FIRE will participate in the drill, which will be a rescue traffic accident with mass casualties. The drill will take place at the terminus of Las Posas Road in San Marcos, as illustrated in the map below.

Nearby residents and motorists in the area may notice a number of public safety vehicles in the area participating in the drill, including the San Marcos Fire Department’s mobile emergency operations center trailer and two helicopters from Mercy Air.

The drill should conclude around 11 am.

“This exercise provides a unique opportunity for the region’s fire resources to come together and train as one team,” said San Marcos Division Chief Chuck Morton, who is coordinating the drill.

For more information, please call the San Marcos Fire Department at (760) 744-1050.

City of San Marcos, CA: San Marcos to participate in countywide “Sidewalk CPR” event

The San Marcos Fire Department will host three “Sidewalk CPR” public awareness events on Thursday, June 7, 2012 from 10 am to 2 pm. These events will help commemorate National Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) Awareness Week, which runs June 3 to 9, 2012.

The fire department will have mannequins and educators on-site to teach participants how to perform “hands-only” CPR at Albertsons, 151 Woodland Parkway; Albertsons, 1929 West San Marcos Blvd; and Creekside Marketplace, 595 Grand Avenue.

Hands-only CPR is conducted without mouth-to-mouth breaths and can be used on adults who are unresponsive and not breathing. Correct chest compressions are an effective way to continue the flow of oxygen-enriched blood to vital organs in the first few minutes of a sudden cardiac arrest. The AHA does not recommend hands-only CPR with pediatrics. They also recommend everyone take a full CPR course.

“With more than 300,000 people nationwide suffering a sudden cardiac arrest annually, immediate CPR and a shock from an AED within the first three to five minutes increases the survival rate from 48 to 74 percent,” explained San Marcos Fire Chief Todd Newman. “Everyone should be armed with the knowledge and ability to save a life, and hands-only CPR is one way we can all increase the chance of survival for friends and neighbors in our community.”

This event is being held in partnership with the American Heart Association (AHA), San Diego Project Heart Beat (PHB), the American Red Cross (ARC) and the County of San Diego.

To learn more about hands-only CPR, please visit www.handsonlycpr.org.For more information on conventional CPR or to find a CPR class near you, please visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org or the American Red Cross at www.sdarc.org.