Get to know your fire department
By Fire Marshal Tray Palmer
In 2019, The Reno Fire Department (RFD) responded to 43,383 calls for service. The RFD provides all risk emergency services in the most efficient way possible. In addition to responding to fires, we also provide rescue capabilities for almost any type of emergency. This includes emergency medical care, a regional hazardous materials team, urban search and rescue, water entry, and arson investigation.
The two primary stations serving the Somersett community are Station 11 located at 7105 Mae Anne Avenue, and Station 19 located at 2105 Hawk Meadow Trail.
Station 11 provides Paramedic level service (ALS) with 4 firefighters and currently houses one fire engine, one brush truck and the department’s Hazardous Materials Mobile Laboratory. Station 11 responded to 1,492 calls for service in 2019.
Station 19 is staffed with 2 firefighters and currently houses one ambulance, referred to as a Rescue. Rescue 19 provides Intermediate Emergency Medical Service (ILS) to the Somerset area. Station 19 responded to 298 calls for service in 2019.
So far, COVID-19 has not affected RFD staffing or emergency response to our community. The City of Reno continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and has emergency procedures in place in case the situation changes. However, there are several things you can do to help us in the efficient protection of our community.
Though the hot summer fire season will be soon upon us, remember that wildfire knows no boundaries. On November 18, 2011, heavy winds caused a power line to arc, igniting an evergreen tree below it. Winds of 30-60 mph quickly pushed this fire into the Caughlin Ranch community. This fire burned 1,935 acres, destroying 28 homes, and damaging an additional 15 homes.
Some of these structures were miles apart, ignited by hot embers carried by the wind and landing on juniper shrubs and combustible ground cover against exterior walls.
Preparing for summer
The Somerset community borders a high hazard wildland-urban interface area. As vegetation dries out, the potential of uncontrolled fire increases. It only takes one spark. Wildfire knows no boundary. A fire in Verdi can quickly spread and threaten your home here in the Somerset community.
Simple property maintenance will slow the spread of fire when the next wildfire occurs.
- Keep hot embers from entering your attic and living space by clearing juniper, pine shrubs, and combustible ground covers like pine needles, leaf litter, and wood chips at least 5 feet away from your exterior walls and decks.
- Make sure the protective flashing at the bottom of your exterior walls is intact.
- Keep your rain gutter free of leaves, needles, and debris.
- Remove tree limbs that are within 6 feet of the roof, and remove evergreen tree limbs that are close to the ground to keep a ground cover fire from progressing into a larger crowning fire.
Make sure we can quickly get to you in the event of an emergency. Make sure your address is clearly posted from street view and in contrasting color. Make sure your closest fire hydrant is unobstructed. A firefighter needs a clear space of three feet around the entire hydrant to connect a hose and turn on the valve. Any vegetation planted within 3 feet of the hydrant must be removed. Don’t park in front of emergency access gates or fire lanes. Our apparatuses need a minimum of 20 feet width on access roads to correctly respond to and set up suppression operations.
If you evacuate
In the event of an evacuation and if there is time:
- Close all interior doors and windows.
- Remove combustible curtains from around your windows.
- Turn off all pilot lights to gas appliances.
- Move overstuffed furniture to the center of the room.
- Turn off air conditioning.
- Turn on outside lights.
- Leave exterior gates unlocked.
- Place an “EVACUATED” sign in the front window or on the main door.
If authorities issue an evacuation notice, be ready to leave with your important documents, pets, medications and spare clothing if possible. Do not wait until it is too late to leave the area. Any delay in deciding whether to evacuate or not can lead to tragic consequences.
The Reno Fire Department is always looking for better and more efficient ways to better serve our community. We recently rolled out a new program called Community Connect. Community Connect is a free, secure, and easy to use platform that allows you to share critical information about your household that will aid first responders and emergency response personnel when responding to your residence. By providing information about your household that you feel is important for us to know about at the time of an emergency, we can ensure you and everything you care about is protected to the best of our ability. Please visit https://www.communityconnect.io/info/nv-reno to create your profile.
Fire is everyone’s fight. Help keep this Somersett community safe by doing your part.
Tray Palmer is a resident of Somersett.