Inside The Volunteer Fire Departments That Want To Save You From The Next Catastrophic Wildfire

Active911

(Bodega, CA) When I meet 93-year-old Evelyn Cassini, owner of the Casino Bar & Grill — a landmark roadhouse saloon and community touchstone in Bodega, CA, with an ancient 7 Up sign out front — she’s wrapping up a successful game of solitaire on the bartop poker machine. Stuffed raccoons and tangled deer antlers keep watch over pool tables and a scratched up hamburger grill as Cassini unceremoniously motions to an empty barstool and asks what I want to know about the Bodega Volunteer Fire Department next door.

“Everything,” I reply, tugging on a 7 Up.

She should know, given that for a long time the Casino, purchased in 1949 by Cassini and her late husband Art, served as dispatch for the fire department with Cassini fielding emergency calls on the bar phone. “I memorized all the ranchers’ numbers and would call to relay the messages,” she explains. Since her house number and the bar number were the same, her children weren’t allowed to be on the phone any more than three minutes at a time or they’d get a backhand from mom. If there was a major fire, the Casino would become a command center, and Evelyn would communicate with the California Division of Forestry in Guerneville to let them know what was needed. “It was all done by rotary telephone,” she explains, “and it worked.”

Beep beep… Bodega Bay, cliff rescue — vehicle off cliff.”

“That’s us,” Josh says calmly, grabbing his keys and walking toward the door (firefighters never run, I’m told). The waitress, aware of Josh’s credentials, understands the sudden departure. “Do you at least want a cup of coffee to go?,” she offers.

But we’re out the door and into Josh’s charcoal Chevy Silverado in a matter of seconds. A map appears on his phone via an app, Active911, which tracks all 17 volunteers and says whether they’re coming or not. Three have responded to this call: Josh; Ron Albini, the BVFD chief; and Wesley, Ron’s 20-year-old son. Others are listed as “watching,” meaning they’re not going to make it for the first truck but can come to the station to cover a second call if needed.

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Active 911 a valuable resource

Active911

(Fairmont, WV) A new phone application that is reported to help first responders is being used in Marion County.

Active 911, a smartphone application, is being used by 11 fire departments in Marion County. The app provides resources for firefighters and other first responders.

According to Masturzo, local departments can even travel around town and register the location and gallons per minute available of specific fire hydrants.

“They can put the hazmat information in for businesses, and they can actually put pictures of the businesses or residences in,” Masturzo said. “If they do that, they can also do the measurements for the length of hose (needed) or from the hydrant to the building or for ladders.”

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Austintown police expansion touted for efficiency, better service

Active911

(Austintown, OH) With expansion to the Austintown Township Police Department nearing completion, dispatchers in the building are eager to move to new space that will not only provide more elbow room, but also help improve efficiency in responding to emergencies in multiple communities.

The new space also has a common space that will include a conference table and a kitchenette for employees to use on shifts that can reach 16 hours. Security cameras will be in place in every room, and dispatchers will be able to monitor weather with live radar, and emergency response crews with a program called Active 911.

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