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CAL FIRE Station 73 – Shasta College

WRITTEN BY BEAU ANDERSEN

Cal Fires Fire Station 73 is one of the most predominant features on Shasta College’s campus, and one of the most distinguished for the work they do in Northern California. Their jurisdictional range extends into the far regions of Jones Valley, Bella Vista, Lakehead and the outskirts of the Shasta College campus. However, where the brave men and women of Fire Station 73 most often serve is always taken into conjunction with Cal Fire, and the greatest needs the state can offer. Their ability to be dispatched anywhere in California, to meet the needs of whatever natural disaster or emergency might occur, is what people might find most interesting. Especially when you stop to consider the Department provides emergency services in more than half of the 58 counties in California. Cal Fire is designed to operate year round and functions as an “all risk” agency. In the event of emergency firemen from different stations can be dispatched to accommodate whatever disaster is taking place, in locations other than their local post.

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To get in the door at Cal Fire there are classes for the fire academy which take place right next door to Station 73. While the program is completely ran by Shasta College, the academy requires cadets to meet standards which fall in line with jobs like Cal Fire. Cadets have to work hard toward achieving these certificates in order to work at one of numerous fire stations spread across Northern California, including Station 73. During my first interview with Captain Chadlynn Trafton I had the chance to ask several important questions which gave me an idea of how this program functions, she went on to state:

When you sign up for the academy, it’s all through Shasta College, the way the academy is designed is that once you graduate the academy, you have all the certificates needed to apply for Cal Fire, or apply for the Forest Service, or Bureau of Land Management, wherever you want to go.

            After taking a brief moment to get acquainted with Cal Fireman, Jake Dean, who was born and raised in Shasta County, I was interested to find out how he had come to work at Station 73 for Cal Fire. He stated, “I did the fire academy here at Shasta College, and then got a job with Cal Fire out of the fire academy in 2006.” When I asked him what had motivated him to do this line of work, he stated:

It was something I did in the Regional Occupational Program in high school, I was working for Sierra Pacific and worked at different jobs, this always intrigued me. I knew that Sierra Pacific wasn’t going to be the best thing for me in the long run, so I decided to get involved with this.

Knowing the opportunities that Cal Fire can offer students in the fire academy can be the major draw. After noticing this impact Cal Fire has on students I inquired into how Station 73 came to exist. Captain Chadlynn Traton commented, “Station 73’s location comes from Shasta College’s need to have fire protection during the winter. Because they are a community college, they require a high amount of safety. Cal Fire is contracted by Shasta College to provide this service.” For the duration of the interview with Captain Chadlynn Trafton, and Cal Fireman Jake Dean I was interested in understanding further, the holistic design and operational planning which goes into Cal Fires well-oiled machine. After listening to the strategic, tactical, and operational awareness Cal Fire operates by, it’s no wonder many of the men and women who leave having received their certificates from Shasta Colleges fire academy will go onto seek employment with Cal Fire. Both Cal Fireman Captain Chadlynn Trafton and Jake Dean went on to comment about this level of diversity students will get to experience in their work field after graduation. There is a big opportunity to utilize these skills on vegetation fires, tending to victims in need of medical aid, and working toward fire prevention through education.

When asked what his favorite part of the job was, a former Fire Academy student told me “the diversity of work” is what came to mind. With the fire season windows typically last from June 1st through to October 1st. But, with the lack of rain anticipated this winter, the window will likely become broadened to include April on through December.

After putting in twenty-five seasons with Cal Fire starting at the age of nineteen, Chadlynn Trafton is a well of knowledge about fire prevention, having fought numerous fires which were caused a large amount of time by human error. She was gracious in allowing me to question her about a few tips to leave the readers with. She stated:              

Most fires are human caused, the biggest prevention side of it, is in the drought, many people are letting their lawns or pastures go without water. Making sure to keep your clearance around your houses and mowing [your lawn] at the right times [is important]. It doesn’t take much in the dry conditions to get a spark.

After completing the interview I felt a sense of gratitude in knowing the quality of people who serve the community through California’s very own Cal Fire. Where else will you find such a unique group of people who live out their mutual affection and desire to serve others on a daily basis? I paused to reflect over the message I felt conveyed to me by people who live it, and was glad for the honor and privilege to have them share their experiences with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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