The Santa Clara County Fire Chiefs’ Association (SCCFCA) will host and train 22 Bomberos (firefighters) from South America and Mexico during the week of October 3. This is the fourth time since the Bombero Program began in 1972 that the SCCFCA has hosted Bomberos.
Northern and Southern California alternate the hosting of firefighters through the Bombero Program. The goal of the Bombero Program is to promote fellowship within the International Fire Service and to give the firefighters ideas and ways to strengthen fire service in their communities. International firefighters are selected to participate in the program by the Mexican Fire Chiefs’ Association. Each participating department sends two Bomberos to the United States for training, Bombero Program Advisor Phil Gonzalez said.
Los Bomberos of Northern California held an “Adopt a Bombero” program, which asked for donations toward the $350 needed to host a Bombero for the week. Eight local fire departments and associations were able to donate the funds needed to cover the cost of hosting 22 Bomberos for the week.
This year the Bomberos will train at Central County Occupational Center (CCOC) in San Jose, at the Santa Clara Fire Department Training Center and the San Jose Fire Department Training Center. The international firefighters will receive an intensive week of training in fire service courses, including Incident Command System, Vehicle Extrication Operations, Disaster Preparedness and Firefighter Survival Operations. They have also been invited to visit the San Francisco Fire Department’s Fire Boat.
The trainings are a joint effort among fire departments within the county, with each participating department providing personnel for training and/or equipment needed for training. Each Bombero will receive a certificate of participation from the SCCFCA for participating and successfully completing the program.
While they are in Santa Clara County for the week of October 3, which is also Fire Prevention Week, the Bomberos will stay with the Cal Fire, Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara County, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale Fire Departments. The program is set up so that the visiting firefighters stay at a fire department, which helps cut down on the costs of hosting the Bomberos for the week, Gonzalez said.
CCOC will hold an opening ceremony on October 4 before beginning a day of intense firefighter training on a variety of subjects, including the incident command system. CCOC has a Firefighter/First Responder Program that prepares high school juniors and seniors for a future in the firefighting/first responder field.
The Bomberos will train for two days at the Santa Clara Fire Department Training Center and learn about vehicle extrication and disaster preparedness. The international firefighters will have one free day to participate in activities coordinated by the Redwood City Fire Department and San Francisco firefighters, Gonzalez said, before returning to their home country on October 9.
Interview with Phil Gonzalez, Bombero Program Advisor.
Santa Clara County Fire Chiefs’ Association Meeting Agenda, 8-31-10.
“Bomberos History,” Web.Me.com.