A Brief History of the Fire Department

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Organized fire fighting began in Santa Monica in October of 1875 when six citizens organized The Crawford Hook and Ladder Company. As the city grew so did the fires, and the Fire Department; on March 22, 1889 a group of citizens gathered at the town hall to adopt the Constitution of the newly formed Santa Monica Hose and Ladder Company. Thus, the Santa Monica Fire Department found its roots: armed with axes, ladders and a mere 1,000 feet of hose.

During the next 100 years the methods and resources of fire service experienced many changes; hand drawn carts and leather buckets were replaced with horse drawn vehicles and steam pumpers, which shortly gave way to gasoline engines. In 1974 the SMFD became the first fire department in the nation to deliver paramedic services via a fire engine company, and has been on the cutting edge of the wide breath of fire services ever since.

Today, complete with 1,300 feet of hose and powerful turbo charged diesel engines each fire engine of the Santa Monica Fire Department is capable of delivering over two thousand gallons of water each minute. The SMFD is highly specialized providing; paramedic services, full time Hazardous materials response, an urban search & rescue team, as well as a dedicated airport response unit. The Santa Monica Fire Department consistently works to promote fire & life safety education initiatives such as the I’ve Got 7 program, and most recently, the Put it Down distracted driving campaign.

The Santa Monica Fire Department protects more than 92,000 residents in an area of 8.3 square miles, and consists of over 110 civilian and Firefighting staff members under the command of Chief Bill Walker.

The Santa Monica Fire Department is dedicated to preventing the loss of life, property, and the environment from fire, medical, and other natural or man-made disasters through aggressive prevention, training, public education, and emergency response.
City of Santa Monica © 2019
1685 Main St., Santa Monica, CA 90401 · (310) 458-8411 · TTY (310) 917-6626