To Protect and Preserve

Throughout the year the Del Mar Fire Department and Solana Beach Fire Department work hard to help keep Del Sol and surrounding areas safe. Their teams of fire captains, firefighters, paramedics, and engineers constantly train to stay prepared, knowing that they could be needed at a moment’s notice. We speak with Del Mar Fire Captain Giovanni Maniscalco and Solana Beach Fire Captain Greg Wright to learn more about the day-to-day efforts that their teams put toward educating the community, preventing fires, providing emergency services, and upholding their number one priority – preserving lives and property.

Q&A with Del Mar Fire Captain Giovanni Maniscalco

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When was the Del Mar Fire Department established?
The Del Mar Fire Department was opened in 1960 under Fire Chief Cavanagh.
Approximately how many residents does the Del Mar Fire Department serve?
Approximately 5,000 residents as well as more than three million visitors annually.

Please tell us a little about your fire station. Where is it located, and what kinds of services does it offer to the local community?
The station is located at 2200 Jimmy Durante Blvd. Services offered include fire prevention inspections for residential occupancies. The department also provides classes, demonstrations, public safety education, and disaster preparedness programs. Station tours are provided upon request.

What is your role within the department?
As a fire captain, my duties include supervising personnel, fire administration, prevention, public education, inspections, and training. I respond to fire alarms as the incident commander and provide direction to all personnel. I assist in rendering aid on emergency medical responses and request additional resources as necessary. In addition, I respond to a variety of emergencies, including hazardous material incidents, rescues, natural disasters, and non-emergency incidents, which include elderly assists, vehicle lockouts with a person or pet inside, and false fire alarms.

What is the structure of the Del Mar Fire Department in terms of personnel, apparatus, and shifts?
Del Mar Fire Department is made up of nine personnel. Each shift is made up of a fire captain, fire engineer, and a firefighter/paramedic. We have a frontline fire engine and a reserve fire engine at the station.

What is your professional background and how did it lead you to your current position?
I received a B.A. in Political Science from UC Santa Barbara. I attended fire academy and paramedic school at Palomar College. I worked as a paramedic for a private ambulance. I was initially hired part-time as a student firefighter and paramedic with Del Mar Fire Department before being promoted to full-time firefighter and paramedic in 2008. I was promoted to my current position of fire captain in July of this year.

“The Del Mar Fire Department is committed to providing emergency services, fire prevention, and education in a prompt, professional, and compassionate manner. Our foremost goal is the preservation of life and property.”

How is the department organized?
The City of Del Mar contracts with the City of Encinitas for management services. This includes a total of three battalion chiefs, one on each shift for 24 hours. Battalion chiefs are responsible for overseeing eight stations spanning over Del Mar, Encinitas, and Solana Beach. Battalion chiefs respond to larger emergency incidents like structure fires and rescues but are available to respond upon request to other types of incidents. The deputy fire chief is the second in command and is in charge of operations and administrative work. The deputy chief will respond to larger scale incidents but does not work a 24 hour shift. The fire chief is responsible for the entire department and responds directly to the city managers.

cover2What is a typical day for firefighters like at the station?
We work 24 hour shifts that begin at 8 a.m., but we always arrive early for a smooth transition due to the fact that we are always available to respond to emergencies. The first thing we do is put our gear on the fire engine and check out our equipment. We speak to the off-going crew and get a turnover of relevant information from the shift prior and any special information that needs to be shared for the current shift. At this point the crew will focus on their specific duties. The captain will check the training calendar to find out what specific training events are scheduled for the shift and will create a plan for the rest of the shift. The engineer will focus on the apparatus and perform the daily pre-trip inspection and make sure it is in a constant state of readiness. The firefighter will check all the medical equipment and make sure it is in proper working order.

Once these tasks are complete there are daily chores that need to be done. We cook all of our own meals in the firehouse and everyone participates in the preparation. After lunch we perform our minimum of two hours of daily training, perform inspections, and do hydrant maintenance around town. Once these duties are complete we participate in physical fitness in the gym in our apparatus bay. This brings us to dinner, which the crew will cook. After dinner is personal time that can be used for studying, finishing up paperwork, or any other projects that were not completed throughout the day. Responding to emergencies occur anytime throughout the day and will take immediate priority over all these other tasks.

Please elaborate about the responsibilities of the department in regards to the emergency response team, prevention programs, safety, etc.

Once dispatched, the crew immediately responds to the incident on the fire engine. If there is a medical aspect involved, the closest ambulance will respond from another nearby location. If more resources are needed they will be provided by our surrounding agencies through automatic aid agreements. The crew performs annual fire inspections of businesses and multi-occupancies to ensure they are up to code and provides recommendations for correction.

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Do you offer safety classes for community members?
One of our firefighters is a certified CPR instructor and teaches CPR classes off duty. Del Mar Fire also participates in the training of Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). These are community members that are trained to become disaster workers when first responders are overwhelmed in the event of a disaster.

What mission or philosophy does the fire department hold true?
The Del Mar Fire Department is committed to providing emergency services, fire prevention, and education in a prompt, professional, and compassionate manner. Our foremost goal is the preservation of life and property.

What is the most gratifying aspect, for you, of servicing the local community?
The most gratifying aspect is that it gives me an opportunity to give back to the community while allowing me to learn more.

What challenges do you face in this particular region?
A challenge that is encountered is the large increase in population that occurs daily in the City of Del Mar.

Do you have any advice for residents about ensuring their safety?
We recommend clearing unnecessary brush and keeping a large defensible space around your home. We also recommend taking a CPR course or a refresher course if it has been a while.

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What are the most common types of calls your station responds to?
The most common types of calls that we respond to are emergency medical aids. These can include illness or accidents at home and work, or injuries resulting from medical trauma or vehicle accidents.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The most rewarding aspect is being able to use our knowledge and experience to assist people to get through a very difficult time in their life.

How can community residents schedule fire inspections or visits to the station?
Community residents are always welcome to stop by the station to schedule a station visit or inspection.

What’s in store for the fire department in the future?
The fire department is constantly training and adopting newer and better ways of performing our job more seamlessly and efficiently. If you see us around town, don’t hesitate to say hello or ask us your questions.


Del Mar Fire Captain

Name: Giovanni Maniscalco
Community: Oceanside
Education: B.A. in Political Science; paramedic
Family: Wife and two children
Interests: Spending time with family and friends, snowboarding, playing guitar, watching live music


Del Mar Fire Department

Fire Chief: Mike Daigle
Zip Codes Served: 92014, 92075, 92130
Website: www.delmar.ca.us


Q&A with Solana Beach Fire Captain Greg Wright

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When was the Solana Beach Fire Department opened?
In the 1960s, the Rancho Santa Fe Board of Directors agreed to a mutual contract to share the fire chief’s position with the Solana Beach Fire Protection District. The San Dieguito Ambulance District, also known as CSA-17, was formed by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 1969 to provide ambulance services to the cities of Encinitas, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Rancho Santa Fe. The City incorporated in 1986. The existing station was built between 1990 and 1991.

Approximately how many residents does the Solana Beach Fire Department serve?
Latest census: 13,337.

Please tell us a little about your fire station. Where is it located, and what kinds of services does it offer to the local community?
The fire station is located at 500 Lomas Santa Fe Dr. We provide all risk emergency services, fire prevention services, community education, and sponsorship of local charities/events.

What is your role within the department?
The captain performs management, supervisory, and technical work in the areas of firefighting, emergency rescue, fire inspection, fire prevention, fire training, and maintenance activities. A captain serves as the line officer responsible for command of the activities of an assigned fire company.

What is the structure of the Solana Beach Fire Department, in terms of personnel, apparatus, and shifts?
The Solana Beach Fire Department has three platoons. Each platoon is staffed 24 hours a day and operates with three firefighters on the engine and three firefighters on the ladder truck. In addition to the six firefighters that respond from this station, there is an EMT and paramedic operating an ambulance owned by American Medical Response (AMR).

“The Solana Beach Fire Department is continually evolving to provide a high level of service through effective emergency response, public education, and technical training.”

What is your professional background and how did it lead you to your current position?
In 1987, I was attending school at SDSU and working as a part-time firefighter for the City of Escondido. I was hired by the City of Solana Beach in 1989. In 1993, I was promoted to the position of engineer. In 2003, I was promoted to the position of captain.

cover3How is the department organized?
Management of the fire department is handled through a management services agreement with the City of Encinitas. Through this agreement, the department is staffed with a chief, a deputy chief, three battalion chiefs, six fire captains, six engineers and six firefighter paramedics, a management analyst, and a prevention officer.

What is a typical day for firefighters like at the station?
We typically arrive early and check out our equipment and apparatus. After this, a shift meeting takes place to discuss special projects, training for the day, and prevention duties. A workout follows. Emergency responses are always our first priority. We responded on 1,729 incidents last year.
Please elaborate about the responsibilities of the department in regards to the emergency response team, prevention programs, safety, etc.

Emergency response is handled according to the nature of the emergency with a combination of vehicles and equipment housed at the Solana Beach station and from surrounding agencies through mutual aid and automatic aid agreements. For example, a call for a structure fire would bring an engine, ladder truck, and paramedic unit from Solana Beach as well as engines from Rancho Santa Fe, Del Mar, Encinitas, and San Diego. Prevention programs include firefighters conducting business inspections, multi-family residential inspections, and pre-planned inspections of commercial buildings. The department also oversees the safety portions of new development, redevelopment, and hazardous materials use, storage, and disposal.

Do you offer safety classes for community members?
The fire department coordinates the Community Emergency response Team (CERT) for the City of Solana Beach. The CERT team educates people about disaster preparedness, potential hazards, fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. They use these life- and property-saving skills to assist the community in the event of a disaster when professional services have not yet arrived.

What mission or philosophy does the fire department hold true?
The Solana Beach Fire Department is continually evolving to provide a high level of service through effective emergency response, public education, and technical training.

What is the most gratifying aspect, for you, of servicing the local community?
Making a difference by helping someone in need.

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What challenges do you face in this particular region?
The last economic downturn presented us with an opportunity to be innovative in creating cost-effective ways to provide necessary services. Undertaking cooperative efforts (i.e. joint management services agreement) provided a solution to this challenge.

Do you have any advice for residents about ensuring their safety?
With El Niño approaching, residents should prepare their homes. Assemble or replenish emergency supply kits. In the event of a dire emergency, you need to be able to get by on your own for at least three days. Fix any leaks before the rain comes. It’s been hot and dry recently and that may have caused wood structures to warp, creating leak points. Call your roofer to check for any trouble spots and repair old leaks. Clean out your rain gutters. Check balconies and deck slopes to make sure water flows away from exterior walls and into your drainage system. Stockpile sandbags and store in a safe, dry place.

What are the most common types of calls your station responds to?
The most common calls are medical in nature. We also respond on a high number of traffic collisions due to the location of our station and Interstate 5.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
It grounds you in the sense that it gives you an appreciation and perspective for what really matters in life.

How can community members schedule fire inspections or visits to the station?
Contact us at 858-720-2407 or email auruburu@cosb.org.

What’s in store for the fire department in the future?
The fire service is a more demanding profession than it has ever been with increased call volumes, specialized training requirements, and complex legal regulations. Continued training, education, and mentoring of personnel are top priorities.


 Solana Beach Fire Captain

Name: Greg Wright
Community: Temecula
Education: SDSU, Miramar College
Family: Wife of 21 years and a daughter
Interests: Golf, the beach


Solana Beach Fire Department

Fire Chief: Mike Daigle
Zip Codes Served: 92007, 92023, 92024, 92075, 92014
Phone: 760-633-2600
Email: mdaigle@encinitasca.gov
Website: www.cityofencinitas.org

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