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ORANGE COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY



Our Mission

We enhance public safety and meet the evolving needs of our communities through education, prevention, and emergency response.

Customer Service Motto

OCFA is a premier public safety agency providing superior services that result in no lives or property lost. We reach this through exceptional teamwork and strong partnerships in our community.

OCFA Every member of the Orange County Fire Authority contributes to the quality of life within our community. We protect and support the needs of our "neighbors" to the fullest extent possible while helping and supporting ourselves. We believe in our proud traditions and our dynamic future. Our community respects and values our services and we constantly reinforce that the responsibilities with which we are entrusted are well placed.

The Orange County Fire Authority is a regional fire service agency that serves 23 cities in Orange County and all unincorporated areas. The OCFA protects over 1,680,000 residents from its 71 fire stations located throughout Orange County. OCFA Reserve Firefighters work 10 stations throughout Orange County.

Fire Chief Message
Jeff Bowman, OCFA Fire Chief

I'd like to welcome you to the face of our new Web site. We hope that you'll find it easier to read and, more importantly, easier to access areas that are important to you. A tremendous amount of time and research went into how the homepage is structured; from the banner categories and updates, to layout, icons and photography.

In many ways, the new Web site also represents a fresh start for the Orange County Fire Authority. I have shared my feelings about leading a fire service organization with staff, and I've given them a little insight about how I conduct myself in the workplace. I'd like to do the same here for you.

There are three behaviors that I expect from all members of the OCFA, from the newest firefighter through the ranks to fire chief, and from all who labor behind the scenes every day in their work environment to make this department the best it can be.

Leadership

I believe that every day we come to work we have an opportunity to display leadership. From the newest employee to the most veteran, we have choices to make—a simple barometer is whether your family would be proud of the action you're pondering; if so, do it. If not, see Accountability.

Trust

Trust means believing and behaving in the manner described under leadership: that one attempted to do the right thing. Oftentimes stones are cast without understanding the issues behind a decision or action. Let's give each other the benefit of the doubt first, get the facts, and then choose to grow from our successes and failures. Many forget that trust is earned and not given, and has nothing to do with the title on our badge or position in the organization.

Accountability

This is simply accepting the responsibility for what we've done—both good and bad. While we all like the good, bad things sometimes happen—even to people with the best of intentions. When they do, we'll deal with them. You should also know that, whenever possible, discipline for me means changing behavior, not necessarily punishing! I will always seek first to improve employees, not harm them. Those who don't learn the first time will be dealt with appropriately.

These traits are ones that I hope exist in all who choose to work for OCFA. The culture of every organization starts at the top, but it is imperative that it filter throughout the ranks. I can't think of a better opportunity than the one I've been given as OCFA's newest fire chief to help lead the organization along these lines.

Our new Web site is a way in which we present ourselves to you, so I hope you like our new look. As is the case with any Web site, we will be working on a regular basis to make it a better place to access information and to tell our story. Please let us know how we're doing!

Jeff Bowman

Fire Chief

Brief History
Prior and Current OCFA Headquarters


Prior to May, 1980, fire service for the cities of Cypress, Irvine, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Placentia, San Juan Capistrano, Tustin, Villa Park, and Yorba Linda along with the County unincorporated areas was provided by the California Department of Forestry (CDF)*. However, on May 16, 1980, the Orange County Fire Department (OCFD) was formed as a county department reporting to the Board of Supervisors. Its fire chief was Larry Holms. Fifty-two percent of the 518,483 residents served by the OCFD lived in unincorporated areas of the County.

However, over the course of the next decade, five new cities were formed from unincorporated territory and two additional cities decided to contract with OCFD for fire service. As a result, by January 1, 1991, over 80% of OCFD's service population of 808,139 lived within these sixteen cities. Yet their fire service was still governed by the Board of Supervisors. The cities wanted greater input into how their emergency services were provided. Clearly a new form of governance was needed for these new circumstances.

During 1991, the OCFD was on its way exploring the possibility of forming a special district as an independent entity governed by a board of directors representing the member cities and the County. The California Government Code dealing with special districts was studied, other fire protection districts were contacted, and services the new agency would need to provide were identified (i.e. investment services, employee benefits, payroll, and purchasing). Discussions had begun with the County about transferring title of the fire stations to the new organization. However, although a great deal of enthusiasm and effort was poured into this project, unforeseen difficulties prevented the formation of a special district.

Nevertheless, the dream did not die and the momentum was soon recaptured. A new governance structure, a Joint Powers Authority (JPA), was selected. Much of the previous work was used in this endeavor. By 1994 the plans and structure of the new agency were well underway. The County Board of Supervisors, the various City Councils, the OCFD labor groups, and management were all pulling together to launch the new JPA. Then on December 6, 1994, the County of Orange declared bankruptcy. Yet, in spite of this almost insurmountable obstacle, the dreams and plans were brought to fruition and the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), under Interim Fire Chief Ken Mcleod, was formed on March 1, 1995. The County bankruptcy, which was merely coincidental to the JPA formation, had not derailed the efforts.

Since then, the OCFA has continued to grow. Three more cities contracted with the OCFA for service and three new cities incorporated. The helicopter program was begun in 1995 and in 1997 Chip Prather was appointed the new Fire Chief. The move to the recently completed Regional Fire and Operations Training Center (RFOTC) finished in May of 2004 and in 2009 Keith Richter became the OCFA's third Fire Chief.

* - In 1980, the cities of Anaheim, Brea, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, La Habra, Newport Beach, Orange, San Clemente, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, and Westminster had their own municipal fire departments. Since then, Buena Park, San Clemente, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Stanton, and Westminster joined the OCFD/OCFA.

Service Area