As firefighters Bryce Cunningham and Andrew Hanner were giving a tour of Fire Station 73 in Newhall, an alarm sounded, accompanied by a dispatcher announcing a medical emergency.
The fire truck that Stacie House was just letting her daughter, Milana, play on was quickly boarded by firefighters and driven away to respond to the call. Duty never stops for the firefighters of the Santa Clarita Valley, even in the middle of a tour on Fire Service Day.
Saturday’s Fire Service Day allowed the public to visit and tour any fire station in the SCV, which was the first time they were able to so since the pandemic.
Hanner said having the community back and being able to come check out the station is an important part of community relations for them.
“You know, without the community we wouldn’t be here,” said Hanner. “So of course, it’s our way to show thank you and let them get an inside look of, like, what happens around here.”
Besides just seeing the equipment, the station, and what responding to a call looks like, Hanner said it’s also important for the community to get to know the firefighters themselves.
“It’s important because I mean, we’re the ones that are responding to their houses or wherever they’re at when they need us,” said Hanner. “It’s just a way for them to get to know their local firefighters and just get comfortable with coming in, pop in, and say ‘hi.’”
House, who was being given a tour of the fire station with her daughter, said this sentiment was shared from the community side and that her daughter loved coming in to check out the trucks.
“I think it was fantastic. Especially having a toddler, she’s quite interested in seeing large trucks and it’s really great to start help educating her on who our first responders are [and] the important role that they play in our community and letting her kind of get a little taste of the action,” said House.
While the Newhall station was the historic North Region headquarters and main fire station for quite some time, the firefighters there said the newer and bigger Station 126 in Valencia was something worth checking out.
The station, built in 2003, is an approximately 10,000-square-foot facility that now serves as the North Region headquarters and houses the offices of many of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s top brass. The station also houses the city’s largest trucks, known as “quints,” which combine the roles of a water-pumping fire engine and a ladder truck.
Josh Levine, who was touring Fire Station 126 with his daughter, Daeyln, also felt this was a great way for the community to engage with the Fire Department and a cool opportunity for kids to check out the big gear.
“It opens up the services that everybody pays for. So we can see kind of what they do day to day and get to experience and [witness] all the stuff that they do for the community,” said Levine. “And she has had a blast, she gets to see all the gear, and meet some of the some of the firemen, community helpers that they learned about in school.”