COMMUNITY UPDATE: Central County Fire Millbrae Training Center and Station 37
Central County Fire has a regional training division that provides training for fire departments from Belmont to San Bruno, and everything in between. They also are the primary coordinators of our county-wide fire academy. Training is something they have to constantly be aware of. Not only for safety and competency, but to ensure they meet the federal, state and local mandates required for operational and emergency medical applications.
One example of how critical it is, is when the San Bruno pipeline explosion occurred Central County Fire teams were audited by several federal agencies. In addition, they had their training records subpoenaed to ensure their firefighters had all of the mandated training relating to pipeline emergencies. They did, and it was documented.
When any accident happens in the fire service the first things that occurs is a request for training relative to the incident. It is critical that Central County Fire provides better-than-adequate training, and documents its activities and certifications.
Their training division (Central San Mateo County Training Division – CSMCTD) has been at the forefront in bringing the latest techniques and tools to Bay Area firefighters. Some areas that they have been leaders in have been transitional attack (a safer and more effective firefighting technique), and active shooter/intruder (how to ensure that firefighters can interact with law enforcement to provide lifesaving care under potentially dangerous situations).
Recently, renovations and updates were completed to Central County Fire's Millbrae Training Center at Station 37. The City of Millbrae can take pride in knowing that Central County Fire has a state-of-the-art training classroom, here in our city, that ensures our firefighters get the best training possible so our residents get the best service possible. Training Division Chief Kevin McWhirter, a 30-year veteran of the former-Millbrae Fire Department, and also a Millbrae resident, has been the leader of this endeavor and deserves much of the credit for making it happen.
The training center used to serve as Millbrae Fire’s administrative office, as well as an operational fire station. When Central County Fire contracted with the City of Millbrae, Station 37 was used as an active fire station, but left its administrative offices empty.
Their growth prompted the need for more space for administration, and because of the drill tower and space in the back of the station, it made sense to put training there. Some of the office space was remodeled from a small 10-person meeting area into a classroom capable of holding up to 30 students.
It is important to state that the majority of the expenses for the remodel were paid for by the training division, as they felt it was important that the enhancements were not shouldered by the City of Millbrae since it’s a shared cooperative. That said, there was great collaboration between public works and building inspectors to ensure all of the work was performed to code, with proper approvals, in a timely manner. Specifically, Public Works Director Ray Chan helped greatly with the engineering component.
The entire project was truly a team effort.