A new fire engine is in service at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison.

By Lt. Moises M. Soria, AA/PIO
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison

Chuckawalla Valley State Prison (CVSP) recently received a new fire engine.

The CVSP Fire Department serves both CVSP and Ironwood State Prison (ISP) in Blythe which encompasses approximately 1,735 acres and houses approximately 5,600 inmates. CVSP Fire Department consists of one Fire Chief, five Fire Captains, one Associate Hazardous Material Specialist, and 10 inmate firefighters. Under an auto-aid agreement with Riverside County and the Statewide Master Mutual Aid Agreement, CVSP provides a Type I engine and a minimum of 4 personnel to any structure fire, vegetation fire, hazardous materials incident, hazardous condition, technical rescue or vehicle accident response.

The community and area surrounding CVSP is mostly rural farm land, residential areas, and wild land/desert comprised of light flashy fuels and intermittent stands of trees that borders California and Arizona along the Colorado River.  There are four cities/towns in this surrounding area; Blythe with a population of 19,258, Desert Center with a population of 204, Ripley with a population of 692 and Palo Verde with a population of 171.  Local fire protection services are provided in a limited capacity by four Riverside County Fire Stations, and a volunteer fire station in the city of Blythe.

If just one of these resources is committed, CVSP Fire becomes the primary responder to Interstate 10, parts of Blythe, and the towns of Desert Center, Ripley and Palo Verde.  A two-engine response in the region shifts CVSP Fire to the role of primary responding engine to 911 dispatch for approximately a 50-mile radius for all-hazard fire, rescue and medical responses. In addition to the permanent residents and inmates, it is noted that according to the California Department of Transportation, an average of 27,000 travelers pass within three miles of the CVSP station on the Interstate 10 Freeway every day.  For approximately 20 linear miles, the CVSP engine would be first on scene for fire, rescue and medical aid.

In 2016, CVSP Fire had 462 responses to emergencies.

The stats

The Fire Engine is an HME Model 18 – Type 1 mounted on an 1871-SFO custom chassis with cab tilt and seating for five.  It’s powered by a Cummins ISL9 270 HP diesel engine and equipped with a 1,250-gallons-per-minute Hale “Q-Flo Plus” midship pump.  It utilizes a 45-degree cramp angle, a 4×2 chassis vocation and rear-wheel drive, Crossfire tire equalization system, silicone cooling system hoses, constant torque cooling system clamps, and an Allison 3000EVS automatic transmission.

Some of the features include:

  • A rear wall gear rack
  • An Avcomm SC800 intercom system
  • A flat stainless front grille
  • Electric Cab Tilt
  • Center Hosewell
  • Cross Body Compartment
  • Heavy duty pullout trays
  • HME Hydra Technology with a 36-inch side mount pump enclosure
  • 2 (1.5-inch) crosslay beds
  • 200-foot Hannay booster reel
  • Akron model 3433 “Apollo” lift off style monitor with 360 degree rotation and 1,250-gpm capabilities
  • Darley 1-1/2AGE 105-gpm portable pump, Hale “FoamLogix” 2.1 system with a 20-gallon class A internal foam tank
  • 850-gallon water T-Tank
  • 117 cubic feet of compartment space
  • 56-inch hosebed height
  • 130-inch OAL
  • Backboard storage compartment
  • Adjustable hosebed dividers
  • Four rear SCBA tubes
  • Two Worden wheel chocks
  • Thru-the-tank ladder storage
  • Adjustable shelves
  • Federal GH scene lights
  • PowerArc LED warning light package

CVSP Fire Department strives to train to the level of industry standards.  They have pioneered a training system utilizing Palo Verde College in Blythe, California in order to deliver the highest quality of training available within resources.  This includes training the inmates assigned to CVSP Fire Station in the following areas:

  • California State Fire Marshall Auto extrication
  • Confined Space Rescue Awareness
  • California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) Hazardous Materials First Responder Operations and Decontamination
  • American Red Cross Emergency Medical Responder
  • American Heart Association Basic Life Support Provider (BLS)

CVSP Fire Department is also a BLS Medical Provider for Riverside County Emergency Medical Services Agency (REMSA) with a long standing Auto Aid agreement with Riverside County Fire Department.

CVSP’s Old Fire Engine is a 1987 Weststates.

CVSP’s old engine.