It was Throwback Thursday for the Santa Paula Fire Department, which quickly got into the spirit of Facebook and posted this photo of the department circa 1988. The SPFD Facebook page, launched last week, will mix fire business and safety tips, nostalgia, current events and trivia.

SPFD: Celebrates 111th birthday
by launching Facebook page

May 14, 2014
Santa Paula News

The Santa Paula Fire Department celebrated its 111th Birthday in a big way... on May 7 the department launched its first Facebook page, a mix of fire business and safety tips, nostalgia, current events and trivia.

And the Likes are already burning up the page where close to 1,000 people have already given it a thumbs up.

Fire Chief Rick Araiza said SPFD decided to create a Facebook page because “It’s a great form of communication... Andy VanSciver,” a reserve firefighter, “developed it and launched it Wednesday night... we had a soft launch first,” including emailing staff and working with captains who will be posting items.

Said Araiza, “We were talking about it that Wednesday afternoon and decided let’s just open it up.”

Not only is the page replete with links to newspaper articles about past fires and incidents the department was involved in, but it also shows charitable efforts on the part of the Santa Paula Fire Fighters Association. 

Araiza said the latter is important not for bragging rights-although he noted, “We do donate a lot of money”-but also to let nonprofit groups know that the SPFFA is eager and at the ready to help their nonprofit fundraise. 

VanSciver said the page “Is a good opportunity to let people know they should change the batteries in their smoke detectors,” as well as offer safety warnings.

Araiza said through the page, “We can let people know about our school programs, when and where the Smokehouse,” that teaches children fire safety and evacuation measures, “is going to be... the Facebook page is great for community awareness. We’re already being asked about Sidewalk CPR,” instruction schedules that Araiza said will be posted.

The Facebook page could also be used in time of emergency for notifications.

“Captain Dustin Lazenby is doing emergency preparedness now,” taking over the primary duties of his father Captain Steve Lazenby, who has retired but will be a consultant to the city.

Araiza and Van Sciver said the public has already started commenting on the posts that include 30 to 40 news articles culled from the beginning of the year. 

Araiza said, “We will have to be careful of legal privacy issues,” and not post names of those receiving medical aid or involved in other incidents handled by the fire department.

So far, “The feedback has been tremendous... Andy even posted a Throwback Thursday photo, a group shot of the department from 1988... and we still have a lot of people in the department in that picture! 

“We’ve had responses form Virginia and Oregon from people that had been associated with the Santa Paula Fire Department... even former Fire Marshal Bob Hall,” who retired in the 1990s after 20 years with the SPFD.

“Bob’s wife Linda posted from Oregon,” said Araiza.

“We look forward to Facebooking... it’s a great professional tool, another way to inform, educate and engage the public.”

Said VanSciver, “Like us on Facebook!” www.facebook.com/santapaulafire





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