The Hermosa Beach Fire Department will be disbanded on Saturday, December 30, 2017, at 8 am. Firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department will start protecting Hermosa Beach at that time.

Hermosa Beach will be the 59th city which is contracting with the county fire department for firefighting protection and paramedic level emergency medical protection.

The current Hermosa Beach fire station will be re-designated county fire station #100. Station 100 will have 2 vehicles. Squad 100, a county paramedic squad truck will have 2 firefighter paramedics. Engine 100, a county paramedic assessment fire engine will have 3 firefighters — a firefighter paramedic, a captain, and an engineer. The Hermosa Beach city government will contract with a private ambulance company to transport emergency medical patients to the hospital. A firefighter paramedic will ride in the ambulance with the patient if the patient needs continuing medical care on the way to the hospital.

Squad 100 will be a paramedic rescue squad truck with 2 firefighter paramedics. This truck is similar to the one which was featured in the television drama, “Emergency!”. Squad 100 will not have pumps, hoses, or ladders for fighting fires.

Engine 100 will be a paramedic assessment fire engine with 3 firefighters — a firefighter paramedic, a captain, and an engineer. The crew of Engine 100 can perform many, but not all of the functions of a 2 person paramedic team. A unit with 2 firefighter paramedics will be dispatched to medical emergencies, simultaneously with Engine 100. Engine 100’s crew can perform many of the functions of a paramedic team, while they are waiting for the other paramedic unit to arrive. Engine 100’s crew does not have enough firefighters to fight interior structure fires by themselves, although they can team up with other firefighters to fight interior structure fires.

The Hermosa Beach city government had the option of paying more money in order to have a paramedic engine based in Hermosa Beach. Los Angeles County Fire Department paramedic engines have 4 firefighters. Two of those firefighters are firefighter paramedics. The other 2 firefighters are the captain and the engineer.

If the county firefighters from the Hermosa Beach fire station are tied up for more than 30 minutes, the county fire department will send another unit to the Hermosa Beach fire station to be available for handling emergencies.

The Hermosa Beach Fire Department currently participates in some mutual aid agreements with other fire departments in the South Bay area. The county fire department will participate in those agreements.

The county fire department will hire any Hermosa Beach firefighter who has passed probation with the city fire department, who passes a county background check, and who passes a medical exam. However, some of them will work at other fire stations. The city fire chief will not go to the county fire department. The city fire chief was already retired and was only brought back on a temporary basis. It is not known if the Hermosa Beach Fire Department’s civilian employees will join the county fire department. The Hermosa Beach Firefighters Association supported the decision to merge the 2 fire departments.

The county fire department will only buy one vehicle from the Hermosa Beach Fire Department — a 2014 Pierce “Velocity” Type I fire engine — which is painted a non-typical, wine red-over-white color scheme. The county may charge the Hermosa Beach city government for the cost of buying a new paramedic squad truck to station at the Hermosa Beach fire station.

The website for the Hermosa Beach Fire Department has several documents including an unsigned copy of the merger agreement and a feasibility study by the county fire department regarding the proposed merger.

Several decades ago, the county fire department had a different fire station which was numbered “Station 100”. That fire station was in an unincorporated area, near the city of Vernon. Eventually, the city of Vernon annexed the unincorporated area, and the Vernon Fire Department used the fire station. Vernon originally called their new fire station “Station 4”, but Vernon has renumbered its fire station since then.

Los Angeles County Fire Department ocean lifeguards have already been protecting Hermosa Beach’s coast for many years. At least a few of those lifeguards are on duty 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

Hermosa Beach currently has its own police department, but there has been some speculation that the fire department contract might open the door to having the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department replace the Hermosa Beach Police Department. The Los Angeles County government operates a branch library in Hermosa Beach. Most cities in Los Angeles County, including Hermosa Beach, utilize the county health department for protection.

Credit: Dominick Falzone, SCMA Member