Faces of our Community
Montecito Fire Department
Interview with Christina Favuzzi, Public Information Officer
What does the Montecito Fire Department do for our community?
Montecito Fire provides a wide variety of services to protect and care for our community. Our fire personnel respond to all types of incidents including, but not limited to: all fires, medical emergencies, vehicle crashes, alarms ringing, trail rescues, hazardous material situations and public service assists. The fire department is involved in mutual aid within the local area as well as statewide through the Office of Emergency Services.
Montecito Fire also houses the South Coast Dispatch Center which provides dispatching services for the communities of Montecito, Carpinteria & Summerland.
Montecito Fire is governed by a Board of Directors who are elected by our community members.
What makes Montecito Fire Department different or unique?
Montecito Fire’s connection with the community is truly unique. We are extremely fortunate to receive such resounding support and gratitude from our community. Our residents play a key role in protecting, responding to, and recovering from emergencies in our community. We are grateful to serve a community that strongly supports our mission and is committed to preparedness and resiliency.
What advice or resources do you have for homeowners in our area to help keep their homes protected from fire?
Montecito Fire offers numerous fire prevention resources for our community members.
First & foremost, we encourage everyone to review Ready! Set! Go! This guide is a helpful resource to create defensible space around your home, build an emergency supply kit, and develop your family’s evacuation plan.
Additionally, members of Montecito Fire’s Prevention Bureau are available to visit properties and conduct complimentary Defensible Space Surveys. Our Wildland Fire Specialists will inspect the property for 100 feet of defensible space, as required by law, and suggest opportunities for the homeowner to further protect and harden their home. We can guide homeowners on how to effectively harden their home against wildfire with ember-resistant materials and fire-resistant landscaping.
In 2021, Montecito Fire launched its first Vent Retrofit Program, an effort to go beyond defensible space by hardening homes in Montecito and making them more resilient to wildfire. To reduce the impacts of future wildfires in our community, the Montecito Fire Department allocated budget funds to initiate a Home Hardening Assistance Program. Last March, we accepted applications from interested homeowners for our 2021 Vent Retrofit Grant Program. Then, our Wildland Fire Specialists identified multiple properties within Montecito that would benefit from upgrading their vents based on their risk of being adversely affected by a future wildfire. The 2021 Vent Retrofit Program proved to be a success in our community in its first year and we encourage residents to participate in this free service next year.
To schedule a complimentary Defensible Space Survey and inquire about home-hardening strategies, contact our Prevention Bureau at 805-969-7762 or visit montecitofire.com for additional resources.
What are some interesting or exciting things you see on the horizon? i.e. New technologies or strategies for keeping the community safe.
We are excited to expand our Vent Retrofit Program in 2022 as well as our long-standing Neighborhood Chipping Program.
After the success of our Vent Retrofit pilot program this year, we received significant interest from community members hoping to upgrade their vents. Our goal is to double, or even, triple the number of homes we are able to provide with new, ember-resistant vents in 2022.
Our Neighborhood Chipping Program is more than two decades old yet continues to expand and improve each year. The Chipping Program is a free service for residents, funded by the Montecito Fire Department’s annual Wildland Fire Prevention budget and the California Climate Investments Fire Prevention Grant Program. Through the program, excess vegetation was cleared, and defensible space was created at over 100 more homes in the community this year than last year! The 10-week program began in late February, running every other week through the end of June. We added the School House Rd. neighborhood to the program in 2021 after residents there took requested their fire department’s help making their slice of Montecito safer.
What is the best way to say thank you to a fire station & crew?
We sincerely appreciate every single “thank you” we receive from our community. On the South Coast, people are extremely kind and generous in expressing their gratitude. We love it when people wave at our fire engines as they drive by and we enjoy having community members visit the fire stations. Please know that the most simple and small expression of thanks brightens our day and makes us feel so grateful to serve this community. We couldn’t possibly ask for anything more.
What can we do as a community to support local firefighters?
As a community, the best way to support your firefighters is by being prepared for wildfire and any other emergency the South Coast may face. By having your emergency action plan in place and well-practiced, you are enabling your firefighters to be better able to achieve their mission of mitigating the hazard, whether it be a fire, earthquake or debris flow.
Regardless of the type of emergency, Ready! Set! Go! serves as an excellent guide to prepare your family to react quickly and appropriate to any risk.
Sign up for emergency alerts at ReadySBC.org to receive immediate notification of an incident and directions from authorities on how to respond accordingly.
Fire Station locations
Fire Station 1: 595 San Ysidro Rd
Fire Station 2: 2300 Sycamore Canyon Rd.
Social media/Ways to stay informed
Please follow us on social media! We are on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as @montecitofire. We are also engaged on NextDoor as a Public Agency. Visit our website montecitofire.com for in-depth fire prevention resources.