Ever wonder why the "big fire truck" goes on medical calls or why you see fire personnel from all over the State responding to fires outside their jurisdiction? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions section to learn more about the Fire Service. If you have a question, let us know.


Why do I see firefighters from all other the State responding to local wildland fires?

The deployment of firefighters and equipment in the State of California is an example of one of the best managed fire service models in the nation. When a large fire requires more firefighters than are locally available, local communities can request assistance through the California Master Mutual Aid system. This allows communities to staff and equip their local fire department to address routine emergency response level needs rather than staffing based on disaster-level needs. This is a tremendous value to local communities throughout California. Learn more here...


How do our local fire departments support each other?

When a large incident strikes, you local fire departments work together to maximize our resources, coverage, and capabilities. Learn more about the mutual aid provided among the fire departments in San Luis Obispo County here..


Why does the big fire truck go to medical calls?

San Luis Obispo Fire Chief Garret Olson talks about the efficiency and effectiveness of this aspect of the emergency response model...


Where do those firefighting aircraft come from and how are they coordinated?

Special aircraft, equipped to slow the spread of fire and allow ground crews to extinguish hot spots, are critical assets during wildland fire operations. Learn more about these aircraft and the fire retardant they deploy here...


What's up with those five yellow fire engines used by local fire departments but owned by the State?

Five local fire departments (CAL FIRE, Five Cities Fire Authority, Morro Bay Fire, Paso Robles Department of Emergency Services, and San Luis Obispo City Fire) participate in a program with the State of California Office of Emergency Services. This program provides State-owned fire equipment to local departments. This equipment can be used for local needs and can be activated in the event of a larger incident anywhere in the State. Learn more here...


If I have fire sprinklers in my home or business, is it going to "flood" and ruin everything I have if there is a fire?

With very few exceptions, fire suppression sprinkler systems are designed so that water flows only through those sprinkler heads in closest proximity to the fire.  Unfortunately, most Hollywood movies make commercial and residential fire suppression sprinkler activation look much more dramatic than in real life.  Once again, don't believe everything you see in the movies and on TV!

If a fire occurs in a home or office equipped with sprinklers, the heat from the fire essentially opens the flow of water from those sprinkler heads closest to the fire.  In many cases, only one head is activated.  Sprinkler systems are designed to hold a fire in check so that it does not spread.  These systems have water-flow alarms built into them, which directly or indirectly result in the Fire Department responding to completely extinguish the fire.  A single fire sprinkler discharges about 20-40 gallons of water per minute, much less than the 100-250 gallons per minute discharged by a fire hose.