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Murray Fire Department marks dynamic year with Fire Prevention Week

Dec 01, 2017 08:01AM ● Published by Shaun Delliskave

Murray Fire Battalion Chief Chad Pascua (center) prepares to deploy with other members of Utah’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT) to Houston. (Photo/Chad Pascua)

New headquarters, an increase in service calls, Hurricane Harvey responders and ways to teach Murray residents about fire prevention were all noted in Murray Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Week October 8-14. 

The City Council noted in their resolution that the fire department works closely with the public services department in fire prevention through new project plan reviews, construction inspections, new business license inspections, and fire sprinkler and fire alarm system plan reviews and inspections. The fire department conducts routine business fire inspections as well as fire hydrant maintenance and inspections.

The city council recognized the department for teaching first aid, CPR, and CERT classes. They also recognized the efforts of fire prevention as a way to leverage taxpayer’s dollars since it is more cost effective to prevent a fire than to respond to one.

“The calls for service are continually on the rise which is keeping our crews extremely busy,” noted Chief Gil Rodriguez.

Rodriguez stated that trying to keep up with Murray’s growth and trying to anticipate its needs will be his chief concern.

How does Rodriguez plan to manage the growth? 

“Really just involvement with our community and working with our city and its projected growth,” he said. “Right now we are anticipating breaking ground to relocate Station 81, our headquarter’s station.”

Station 81 sits at 40 East and 4800 South, currently in the downtown master redevelopment plan district. The projected move will be to a few hundred feet west of the current location on the southwest corner of Box Elder and 4800 South, where a vacant lot has remained for years.

Also, brought to the City Council’s attention was that Murray Fire Department has had one of its members participate in recovery efforts in one of the nation’s hurricane disaster zones this year. Battalion Chief and Murray resident Chad Pascua was sent to Houston, Texas to help with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. 

That experience left Pascua with a positive impression on how national and state agencies collaborated on disaster recovery. Pascua is a member of the Utah Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT), a non-military team that is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“I think it was a great learning experience. I think in Utah, our people as a state, we want to help people and we’ll make time out of our busy day or schedules or to go out of our way to help people, out of our own area,” observed Pascua.

This was DMAT’s first deployment. The group responds on short-term notice when disaster strikes to provide physicians, nurses, paramedics and medical specialists. The team’s primary mission is to supplement the medical needs in the areas heavily impacted by the hurricane. Utah’s team was formed 10 years ago and until now, had never been deployed as a whole team.

As deputy team commander, Pascua had to oversee logistics in setting up field hospitals. Pascua was given a 72-hour notice before Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast, to be ready to be positioned in Dallas, where his team would receive their assignment in the affected area. 

Pascua and his team were partnered with a DMAT team from Ohio that went to George Bush International Airport to set up treatment center. They were then assigned providing care to people sheltered in the Houston George R. Brown Convention Center. He estimated they treated up to 300 people a day while stationed there.

“Watching the team interacting with patients and filling out forms and providing treatment and doing things that they were actually trained for was awesome,” Pascua said.

He and the team were involved in providing medical service for several days during the recovery effort, until a new DMAT team was rotated in, and the Utah team went home. Pascua noted the sacrifice his team made for the operation.

“The biggest thing (to be impressed about the DMAT team) is probably the degree of what people do for others and in helping others. I know our doctors and nurses are busy people, and we’re taking time out away from their family and professional schedules to go help the people in Houston. My hat is off to them.” 

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