Big Bear City, CA — The Big Bear City Fire Department welcomed two new paid-call firefighters to their team, as Mason Perry and James Senecal were sworn in by Fire Chief Jeff Willis at last night’s meeting of the Board of Directors for the Big Bear City Community Services District. With the addition of PCFs Perry and Senecal, Bear City Fire now has 15 paid-call firefighters, in addition to the full-time firefighting staff of 20.
The entire crew of the Big Bear City Fire Department, per Chief Willis’s January 2010 report, was busy during the storms, despite the mutual aid assistance from CalFire crews, which assisted with snow removal from the over 1,000 fire hydrants in Bear City Fire’s jurisdiction. CSD’s Water and Sewer Departments’ snow removal equipment was also utilized during January storms, to clear snow berms from around hydrants, while a 30-year-old snowcat was also used for service calls, particularly in the upper Moonridge area, when roads were yet impassable. Like the Big Bear Lake Fire Protection District, the heavy snowfall resulted in an exponentially greater number of incidents for crews from the Big Bear City Fire Department during the local disaster.
In other fire department news from the CSD meeting of March 1, CSD Directors approved an expenditure of $4,300 from fire reserve funds, to upgrade a new emergency vehicle driving simulator that is being custom built for use by both the Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake Fire Departments. The initial cost of the simulator, at $215,000, was largely funded by a FEMA Assistance for Firefighter grant, with both of our local agencies supplying 5% (or roughly $5,400) in matching funds which, for Bear City Fire, were taken from the 2008/2009 “grant matching funds” budget. The additional expenditure approved last night which, per Willis is “ultimately in the best interest of the taxpayers,” will allow for the simulator to have additional capabilities specific to the Big Bear Valley, such as narrow mountain roads. The emergency vehicle simulator will be used by Bear City and Bear Lake firefighters, though will be housed at the department in Big Bear Lake.