The 14-member Westmont Fire Brigade has completed a 40-hour, national wildland firefighter training academy hosted at Pepperdine University. The training included classroom instruction in fire behavior, fire suppression, risk management and preparedness. The Westmont volunteers also spent two days conducting field exercises, such as using firefighting hand tools, fire containment line construction, and fire hose deployments.
“I am pleased with the accomplishment of our volunteers,” says Tom Bauer, Westmont chief of public safety. “As the next fire season approaches, it’s great to know that Westmont has this trained and equipped force to defend and protect our campus.”
The volunteers will not be involved in battling structural fires but will enable officials to better protect the college’s shelter-in-place program in the event of another wildfire.
Less than three months after the devastating Tea Fire in 2008, Westmont purchased a 350-gallon, water-pumper truck. A year after that, the college acquired another 2,000-gallon pumper truck. The Tea Fire destroyed 210 homes in the local community as well as eight Westmont buildings and 15 faculty homes, displacing 62 students, 18 faculty and nine staff members.