By Susan A. Neufeld
San Bernardino, CA – Each year San Bernardino County Fire dedicates the second full week in April to those who serve as public safety dispatchers and communications personnel. The honorees are the dedicated dispatchers of the Consolidated Fire Agencies of San Bernardino County (CONFIRE) who serve as the first, first responders when county residents and visitors dial 9-1-1.
The week-long event, known as National Public Safety Telecommunications Week, was initially set up in 1981 by Patricia Anderson of the Contra Costa County (CA) Sheriff’s Office. It gained popularity over the years and was eventually recognized by Congress. By 1994 it was officially proclaimed as an annual national event.
The joint powers authority, known as CONFIRE, is the communications and dispatch hub for multiple fire agencies within San Bernardino County, including San Bernardino County Fire, Colton, Loma Linda, Redlands, Rialto and Rancho Cucamonga Fire Departments. CONFIRE provides dispatch services by contract for Apple Valley Fire Protection District, Big Bear Fire Authority, Running Springs, San Manuel, Montclair and Baker Ambulance, and the San Bernardino Transportation/Flood Control Department. CONFIRE also functions as the operational area dispatch for the County of San Bernardino, where they are responsible for coordinating mutual aid needs within the county and processing mutual requests to and from the Region VI Office of Emergency Services Operations Center.
They received over 212,000 calls for service in 2017, and are expecting to handle even more this year. CONFIRE plays a significant role in organizing and tracking all Strike Teams and resources, sent around the county and the state, to assist with large scale emergencies. These types of major incidents require CONFIRE employees to keep multiple agencies in contact with each other and deploy coordinated resources where needed.
In 2012, CONFIRE was recognized as an Accredited Center of Excellence by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch. In September 2015, their accreditation was renewed for another three years and remains one of only 16 accredited centers in California and one 160 worldwide. In April 2017, CONFIRE was recognized by the California Public Safety Radio Association (CPRA), in Ontario, during their 29th annual awards banquet.
San Bernardino County Fire thanks the CONFIRE team for their hard work and dedication to safety and excellence. We wouldn’t be able to do it without you.