Running Springs Fire Department History
In October 1962, fire protection became the second service provided for the Running Springs community by the District at a local level. Until that time, fire protection for the area had been provided by an all-volunteer fire department comprised of a group of concerned citizens that began in 1951. As the needs of the community outgrew the ability of the volunteer fire department to provide and maintain this service, there was a recognized need for change. Because of the increased community need, a comprehensive study was conducted to determine the best method of providing fire protection. The study concluded that the District had the authority and the ability to provide fire protection services. Primarily, it was determined this would be the most cost effective alternative, while at the same time, would allow local control by an already established locally elected governmental agency.
While the fundamental purpose of the District's Fire Department is the protection of life and property from fire, several operational functions are provided by the Fire Department as well. These functions include a variety of public assistance services, field emergency medical care services, ambulance transportation services, hazard abatement, community education and awareness programs. Of the services provided, the greatest public emphasis and need has been in the area of field emergency medical care and ambulance transportation.
Over the years, medical aid responses have grown to the point where they significantly outnumber fire related responses. In an attempt to provide better service and better meet the needs of the community, in September 1978 the District's Fire Department implemented advanced life support (ALS or paramedics) into its medical care services. With the implementation of advanced life support services, the District's Fire Department became the first fire agency in the San Bernardino Mountains to provide a 24-hour continuous paramedic program.
To enhance its emergency medical care system, the District’s Board of Directors authorized the Fire Department to provide ambulance transportation services. Until this time, ambulance service had been provided by the Lake Arrowhead Fire Protection District. Improved patient care, public need and economics were the primary reasons for the Director’s authorization of this additional service. The ambulance service boundary includes Running Springs, Smiley Park, Arrowbear, Green Valley Lake, Snow Valley and along State Highway 18 to Lake View Point. The ambulance coverage also includes State Highway 330 to City Creek Ranger Station. The Running Springs Fire Department operates from two local fire stations.
The existing Running Springs Fire Department Fire Availability Fee is a Special Tax that owners of developed property in the Running Springs Water District service area pay to help fund the locally controlled operation of the Running Springs Fire Department. The voters approved this $65 per year fee which was put into effect on March 11, 1980 by Ordinance No. 9. If adjusted for inflation the fee would currently be $163 per year.
The RSFD infrastructure and apparatus includes two Fire Stations, two Type 1 Fire Engines, one Brush Engine, one Squad, three Ambulances and two snow cats. Fulltime RSFD personnel includes two Chief Officers, one Firefighter Captain/Paramedic, two Firefighter Engineer/Paramedics, three Firefighter Paramedics and 12 part time Paid Call Firefighters which respond to emergencies to supplement the fulltime 4-0 staffing. RSFD staffing is always 4-0 with four personnel 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. RSFD also has a Cooperative Agreement with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) which staffs out of the Running Springs Fire Station 51.