In the event of a fire, an accident, or when a rescue is required in the city limits of Madera, the Madera City Fire Department will likely be among the first to respond.
“We go to fires, we go to hazardous material calls,” said Madera FIre Capt. Lisa Nino. “Basically, we go to just about any type of call that someone would call 911 for other than a police call.”
Contracted with Cal Fire, the Madera City Fire Department, with 14 people on duty, is the first line of defense whenever a house catches fire in Madera and are the responders to go forward when all others must fall back in an emergency.
In preparation for whatever work firefighters are called to in their 48-hour shifts, they must always train — no two days are the same for them.
“We do a lot of training, and then we do a 48-hour shift, so we come on duty at 8 a.m. at the beginning of every shift, and we’re on for 48 hours,” Nino said. “Generally, between 8 a.m.-5 p.m., we’re painting a hydrant, flowing hydrants, doing inspections, whatever. During that 48 hours, we’re always on call, so, if we are out painting hydrants, and we get a call, then we drop what we’re doing and we run the call. Anywhere we go, we’re on the engine and we’re responding.”
In addition, a Madera City firefighter, as a Cal Fire employee, must also be ready to help fight fires in the wild. If on duty, firefighters will remain at their station for the people of Madera, but this will not stop them from receiving a call to the hills on their days off.
According to Nino, however, providing emergency service to more than 65,000 people with 14 firefighters is a task which is nothing short of monumental. This why, above all things else, the Madera City Fire Department stresses prevention of disasters over response. One of the biggest steps to this, Nino said, is education.
“We’re very regularly doing school programs, whether it’s at a preschool level, or at a high school level, we go out into the community and do programs,” she said.
They also provide education to adults, stressing the importance of proper sprinkler systems and smoke detectors, and how to prepare families for the unthinkable.
Whatever the call, however, whether it’s a burning house or car wreck on duty, or a forest fire off-duty, the Madera City Fire Department is always training, and always prepared.