Full Name and Title:
Tyler Ruiz-Engineer Paramedic
How long have you worked for NCFPD?
I have been Employed by NCFPD since 2008, working as a Reserve Firefighter, Firefighter, and Engineer.
What does a typical day look like?
My day starts bright and early at home where I get prepared to leave for my set of days at work which is a minimum of 48 hours, but can be as long as 2 weeks if we get deployed on an assignment during fire season. I say goodbye to my family and head in to relieve the off going crew who is completing their 48 hour shift. Our shift starts at 0800 but we attempt to relieve the off going crew at 0700-0730 if possible.
We will get a turnover from the off going crew which is a description of what happened during their shift. What types of calls were ran, equipment used, apparatus/equipment deficiencies, training performed, station issues and any other pertinent information. Our job as firefighters is a dynamic one, and we have to be ready to respond to every call that comes in at a moment’s notice without fail. The 43,000 lb. fire engine carries all of our tools and equipment and enables us to perform our job efficiently.
Our number one priority is operational readiness and each crew member has a specific set of responsibilities. As an Engineer, I am responsible for making sure the fire engine is mechanically sound and the equipment it carries is present, operational and ready for the next emergency. I perform what is called a pre-trip inspection which is a detailed and thorough assessment of the fire truck’s engine, fluid levels, drive train, emergency lights, brake system, fire pump and all of the equipment it houses.
After our morning checks we will meet up as a crew and discuss the needs of each individual and what is planned for the rest of the day. We have a multi-faceted job which requires us to be proficient in various skills. We train and practice these Fire/Medical skills on a regular basis so we can perform them in emergency situations. We conduct fire inspections at local businesses, have physical fitness training, and station chores/maintenance. This is all done on top of running our 911 calls.
Are you involved in any programs (explorer program/volunteer etc.)?
Yes, I am involved with our rescue cadre which provides training for our department as well as other surrounding departments. Working with other fire departments is a great way for all the agencies involved to create strong working relationships and be on the cutting edge of training. We host and participate in hands on technical rescue drills focusing on confined space rescue, rope rescue, and trench rescue. We call these types of calls “low frequency, high risk”: they aren’t very common, but have a higher potential for things to go wrong. We want to have the training and experience to handle any situation professionally and safely. I am also involved in our public relations committee and new hire training cadre. I am an active member within our Firefighter’s Association heading up our presence at the annual vintage car show held here in Fallbrook.
In your own words, what would you describe the needs to be for NCFPD?
We are committed to providing the highest level of care to our community and do so with highly trained personnel, modern firefighting equipment, apparatus, and ALS level (paramedic) care on every unit. In order to maintain this high level of care that our community expects, and stay a sophisticated, professional organization, we need an adequate home base. For us this is our fire station where we live a minimum of 120 days out of the year. Unfortunately some of our stations and facilities are in need of improvements and upgrades due to years of deferred maintenance from budgetary constraints.
Are the conditions of the current stations hindering your work, and if so, how?
A modern fire station needs to operate in an efficient and safe manner just like the personnel, equipment, and apparatus that are housed there. When we have to travel through two doors and walk a distance to our engine for a call, it slows our response time ultimately delaying our on-scene time. We have a diverse workforce and lack adequate privacy in certain stations for male and female firefighters. Because most of our stations were constructed decades ago, they don’t have the space to adequately decontaminate our equipment like they should be. For example, cancer prevention is a major topic in the fire service today and one that influences how modern fire stations are designed and constructed. We have learned that our turnouts will retain products of combustion that can lead to cancer. Some of our stations have our training equipment, supplies and workout equipment in the apparatus bay where diesel particulates inevitably accumulate, further compounding our exposure to carcinogens.
What do you like most about working for NCFPD?
NCFPD is a second home for me and the relationships I’ve gained here go far beyond that of a co-worker, they are a second family. When I come to work, I take pride in serving our community and helping people in their time of need. This job has given me the opportunity to provide a positive impact to the community of Fallbrook, Bonsall, and Rainbow, none of which would be possible without the continued support of our community.