Today I had a pleasant conversation with Fire Chief Pendergrass. The new fire chief of Hanford, California, has been a firefighter for many years. A family man, Chief Pendergrass, has been the fire chief since October 21st of 2019.
We spoke about his role in the community and how he thinks the city can be improved upon by him. Chief Pendergrass said of Hanford, “The soul of the city is just good. The community response has been generally positive towards the newly minted fire chief”.
Covid-19 and Hanford’s Fire Department.
Since the start of the pandemic, Chief Pendergrass has been implementing new safety procedures to limit the possibility of infection. One such new process is the use of D-7. This sanitizing chemical is very potent, in the stations, and on pretty much everything.
The fire department saw a decrease in call volume at the start pandemic by roughly 30 percent in the last three to six weeks; however, that volume has gone up significantly. The way calls are responded to have been affected and limit exposure between the firefighters and the community they serve. Some new policies and procedures have been implemented.
One unexpected positive from this pandemic is that the department saw it’s first female fire marshal by the name of Christy Whittington. When asked about the first female fire marshal as the shining star of the department, Chief Pendergrass mentioned the Firefighter of the year, Connor Kurtz.
Hanford Firefighter of the year.
Connor Kurtz is a firefighter for the Hanford city Fire Department. Most known for his absolute dedication to the community, Kurtz has been involved with several out reach programs and the local SPCA. He works hard to raise funds for local charities and puts in the volunteer time as well.
With almost five years under his belt in the department, Kurtz has joined the Fire and Arson investigation unit as well as became involved in the Fire Explorer program. Firefighter Kurtz has become a Certified Passenger Safety Technician through the Kings County Safe Kids program out side of work.
The level of service that’s able to be given depends on the city itself. The Fire Chief mentioned the need to build a new station on the east side of Hanford as that’s the area with the longest response time. The goal is to have an under five minute response time to an emergency call.
Having a standard of cover and a five-year plan that aligns with the city’s is a portion of how Fire Chief Pendergrass intends to improve Hanford’s city. The Fire Chief plans on developing the Arson investigation unit further.
Five individuals within the Fire Department have been recently promoted. The chief mentioned he had six or seven persons who may see a promotion in their future. The in-school programs that have been on hold since the start of the pandemic will hopefully be resumed. As currently stands, the use of the chemical D-7 will continue as an extra layer of protection against contagions.
To end the interview on a high note, I asked Chief Pendergrass what positive things he has noticed directly caused by this pandemic. His response was to say that he can spend more time with his family. While he ‘likes to manage chaos’ as he put it, being able to have extra time to build memories with his family has been a significant morale boost.
The Take away.
While this world may seem like it’s going crazy, we must stick close to our friends and family even if it’s by staying six feet apart. Our first responders are at the front line of this pandemic, and while they fight to keep us safe, we can’t forget them. Talking to the city of Hanford’s Fire Chief has been enlightening, and I can’t wait to see how Hanford grows in his care.