Thank Your Firefighters! Join Me at OCFA’s Fire Station Open House in Irvine on Sat., Oct. 14!

Come meet your local firefighters!

Designated Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Fire Stations will be hosting Open Houses for the public from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm on Saturday, October 14, 2017.

OCFA’s station Open Houses will give visitors an opportunity to meet and greet their neighborhood firefighters, tour their local fire stations, and hear about ways they can stay fire safe.

It will also be a great opportunity to thank your firefighters for their everyday heroism and tell them that you appreciate their bravery and professionalism in containing the recent Canyon Fires!

In Irvine, the fire stations that will be open to the public are:

Station 4

2 California Avenue, Irvine CA 92612

Station 26

4691 Walnut Avenue, Irvine CA 92604

Station 27

12400 Portola Springs Road, Irvine CA 92618

Station 36

301 E. Yale Loop, Irvine CA 92604

As Irvine’s representative on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority, my goal is to visit each of the Irvine fire stations on Saturday and thank each of the firefighters!

I hope to see you there!

Irvine Should Provide Storage for the Irreplaceable Collection of the California Fire Museum 

I was recently unable to convince a majority of my colleagues on the Great Park Board of Directors (i.e., the Irvine City Council) to provide a safe and secure place for the temporary storage of the irreplaceable collection of fire engines, trucks, and other priceless artifacts of the non-profit California Fire Museum.

I had proposed that an unoccupied and uninhabitable hanger be leased to the California Fire Museum for $1.00 a year.

Only Boardmember/Councilmember Christina Shea joined me in approving the Fire Museum’s request for help in preserving their collection from damage from vandalism and the elements, instead deciding that a potential income of $16,000 from the rental of an unoccupied hangar at the Great Park by a for-profit car company was more important than preserving the heritage of our California firefighters.

Here is the comment posted on Facebook by Don Forsyth, President of the California Fire Museum and former Battalion Chief at the Orange County Fire Authority (and one of the heroes of the recent shootings in Las Vegas):

“Another disappointing day at the Orange County Great Park Board Meeting! We had our hopes dashed once again!

After attendance and speaking at almost every single Board Meeting for the last 13 years, and after voicing at these meeting at least 10+ times over the last 5 years, our request to be able to use a building that has sat vacant for over 10+ years for temporary storage, we finally had this request placed on the agenda for today’s Board Meeting, by one of the Directors, Melissa Fox! Everyone was excited as this is the very first step in the last 13 years showing us via action, that the OC Great Park Board really wishes to help us build our California Fire Museum and Safety Learning Center (CFM-SLC) within their Great Park.

However, after further discussion, again, the OC Great Park Board voted 3-2 against directing City Staff to negotiate a lease with CFM-SLC for use of Hangar 295 to be able to finally get a location where we can store our 40+ vintage fire apparatus indoors, instead of where they are now stored, outdoors, and constantly being vandalized and deteriorating in the outdoor harsh weather!

We are at a loss for words, and wonder if these are any indications that we should move on, and begin looking elsewhere to build our world-class Public Safety Learning Center and Fire Museum where all of our hard work will be appreciated.”

I, too, am greatly disappointed by the Great Park Board’s decision.

I urge everyone interested in preserving our California firefighter heritage to contact Irvine’s Mayor and the members of the City Council to tell them to provide the California Fire Museum with use of the hangar for storage of their irreplaceable collection.

Join Me at OCFA’s “Day of Remembrance” Ceremony Honoring Those We Lost on September 11, 2001

The sky was falling and streaked with blood
I heard you calling me, then you disappeared into the dust
Up the stairs, into the fire . . . 
May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love.

Please join me, the brave men and women of the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA), and other members of the OCFA Board of Directors at a special “Day of Remembrance” Ceremony at OCFA Headquarters in Irvine, honoring those lost on September 11, 2001.

The ceremony is in memory of all of those lost at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

This service will provide an opportunity for the OCFA to conduct an organizational salute to all of those who lost their lives and pay a special tribute to the following uniformed services:

• 343 fallen members of F.D.N.Y.

• 23 fallen members of N.Y.P.D.

• 37 fallen members of the NY Port Authority Police

Speakers include OCFA Senior Chaplain Dave Keehn, OCFA Acting Fire Chief Dave Anderson, OCFA Board Chair Beth Swift, OCFA Board Vice-Chair Ed Sachs, Third District OC Supervisor and Board Director Todd Spitzer.

The OCFA’s Honor Guard will be present.

The ceremony will include a bell ringing by OCFA Honor Guard Member Mike Patterson and the playing of “Amazing Grace” by OCFA Bagpiper Marc Stone.

The services will start at 8:40 a.m. on Monday, September 11, 2017, and conclude at 9:10 a.m.

OCFA Headquarters is located at 1 Fire Authority Road, Irvine, CA 92602

For more information, please contact Captain Steve Concialdi, OC Fire Authority PIO,  at (714) 357-7782 or steveconcialdi@ocfa.org.

Save a Life — Be a Water Watcher!

Summer is a time for fun in the water, especially here in Southern California.

But far too often this summer, as a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority, I have received a notice that there has been another drowning or near drowning at our local swimming pools.

Irvine Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson with Water Watcher Tag.

The news was particularly devastating this past Sunday: A 5-year-old girl was drowned in an Irvine swimming pool. She was found at 4:23 p.m. in a community pool at 120 Spring Valley.  Fire Captain Larry Kurtz said there were “lots of other kids in the pool when she was discovered” and that a nurse pulled her from the water and performed CPR.  It was too late.

Please, please, please be vigilant and assign a Water Watcher at all times near water, so these tragedies can be prevented!

Drownings occur without a sound, quickly and silently. Drowning continues to be the leading cause of accidental death among children age five and under. The majority of drowning and near drowning incidents occur in residential swimming pools and in open water sites. Drowning usually occurs quickly and silently.  Drownings and near-drownings can happen in a matter of seconds.

The good news is that drowning is 100% preventable!

To combat this needless tragedy, never swim alone and volunteer to be a Water Watcher.

A Water Watcher is a responsible adult who agrees to watch the children in the water without distractions, and to wear a Water Watcher tag.

The Water Watcher wears a tag stating:

Wearing this tag, I accept responsibility to supervise the children in and around the water, keeping them in sight at all times.  To prevent children from drowning, I’ll avoid distractions such as talking on the phone, reading, or poolside chats.  Before I leave the area, I will give this tag to the next adult water watcher who can swim.”

After a certain amount of time (such as 15-minutes), the Water Watcher card is passed to another adult, who is then responsible for the active supervision.

Water Watcher tags are available at your nearest Orange County Fire Authority Fire Station.

You can also call OCFA at 714-573-6200.

If you’re in Irvine, I will bring Water Watcher tags to you. Send me an email at mefox@cityofirvine.org.

Drowning is preventable.  Let’s prevent it from happening in our communities.

Let’s make Irvine the nation’s Safest City for Swimming!

 

 

Let’s Make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capital!

Three fatal adult drownings in the last three weeks in Orange County brings our fatality drowning total to 17 deaths just six months into the year.  In addition to the adult fatalities – another child just four years or younger drowned in the same three-week time-frame, yet with a non-fatal outcome, bringing that age group’s non-fatal drowning total in Orange County for 2017 to five, according to official County statistics.  Total 2017 drowning incidents (fatal and non-fatal) for Orange County so far are at 29 – with 60% of the 17 fatalities being adults age 50 and older.

“Orange County has a problem,” according to Captain Steve Concialdi, a spokesman with the Orange County Fire Authority. “We’re one of the leading counties in the nation for drowning incidents.”

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury and death in children under the age of five and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14.

More than 80 percent of these drownings occur in residential backyard pools or spas, but drownings can occur anywhere there is water.

Drowning can happen quickly, without warning, without a splash and without a cry for help.

These deaths are preventable!

“Most drowning deaths are preventable,” said Orange County Fire Authority Captain Public Information Officer Larry Kurtz. “When you look at all of the different drowning calls – from small children to the elderly, the circumstances for each one is a little different. What they all have in common though are a series of small events or omissions that occur that add up to become a crisis or a tragedy.”

“If we can educate people to take out one domino in the series – we can hopefully prevent that tragedy from occurring,” Kurtz said. “Like being a ‘Water Watcher’ or someone teaching their child how to swim. Learning CPR or not combining drugs and alcohol with swimming or water. Drowning crosses age and socioeconomic lines and it does not discriminate.  It is up to people to take responsibility for themselves, family and people they care about to prevent drowning.”

Swimming is fun and healthy, and we’re blessed here in Irvine with terrific weather for swimming much of the year.  Now let’s do everything we can to protect our children and enjoy our swimming pools safely.

Taking a few simple steps will save lives!

Here are the ABCs of Water Safety:

Active adult supervision: make sure to actively watch children in water. Adults should also make sure that someone is watching them or swimming with them. Regardless of your age or swimming ability — don’t swim alone!

Barriers: make sure pools have a tall-enough fence to keep children from wandering in.

Classes: learn to swim, and learn first aid and CPR.

In addition, following these simple rules for pool safety will help prevent drownings:

  • Swim with a buddy in a supervised area. Regardless of your age or swimming ability, never swim alone.
  • Avoid entrapment: suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer under water.
  • Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.
  • Do not let children sit or play on pool drains.
  • Keep toys away from the pool, when not in use, to prevent young children from falling in after a toy.
  • Keep a telephone outside the pool area. Post the 9-1-1 emergency number on the telephone.

Everyone should know how to swim! 

The City of Irvine’s Learn-To-Swim Program offers lessons for all ages and swimming abilities. Classes are available for infants through adults.

Click here for details about The City of Irvine’s Learn-To-Swim Program.

Let’s make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capitol!

Melissa Fox’s City Council Agency and Committee Appointments 2017

I am pleased to report that I have been appointed by Irvine Mayor Don Wagner and my City Council colleagues to serve as Irvine’s representative on the Board of Directors of the Orange County Fire Authority and other regional and local agencies and committees.

Below is a complete list of my appointments to regional and local agencies and committees.  I am particularly pleased with my energy, watershed, wildlife, environmental, childcare and infrastructure appointments, since I have a longstanding interest in moving forward in these areas of policy.  I am also particularly pleased to join the Library Advisory Board, since my mother was a librarian and taught me the importance of community access to literature and information.

Appointments to Outside Agencies

sj-preserve-1005Community Energy Partnership (Aspen Accord)

Established to forge effective strategies and programs to foster smart energy management, build positive relationships between cities, energy consumers and their serving utilities and to educate communities about sustainable energy efficiency in Southern California.

Irvine Child Care Project (NonProfit JPA between City and Irvine USD)

Non-profit joint powers agency that provides after school care at all elementary schools in the City. Note: Alternate for Lynn Schott.

Library Advisory Board (LAB) of Orange County Library System (Formerly County-Wide Library Task Force, name-change in 2006)

Participating cities appoint members to attend and represent the City’s interests.

Laguna Canyon Foundation

Reflects a unique partnership between community and environmental activists, civic and municipal leaders, and private property owners and developers. Note: Irvine is no longer a voting member and only participates on a semi-annual or quarterly basis in large stakeholders meetings only.

Newport Bay Watershed Executive Committee

An agreement with the County of Orange to monitor sediment discharge within the watershed, with the costs shared by all parties, except the Department of Fish and Game.

One Water One Watershed (OWOW) Steering Committee

(Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority “SAWPA”)

Next generation of integrated regional watershed planning is under development to solve water issues on a regional scale and give all water interests a voice in the planning process. Note: Appointee will be considered for vacancy subject to final approval by OCCOG

San Joaquin Marsh Wildlife Sanctuary

Committee coordinated by the Irvine Ranch Water District to manage the Sea and Sage contract for the marsh program.

Santa Ana River Flood Protection Agency Commission

The purpose of this commission is the dissemination of flood hazard information; unanimity among the citizens of Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties on flood protection alternatives; and promotion of federal project authorization.

 Orange County Fire Authority

Serves 22 cities in Orange County and all unincorporated areas. The OCFA protects over 1,300,000 residents from its 60 fire stations located throughout Orange County. Stipend: $100 per meeting per day; maximum of $300 per month for voting member in attendance (No mileage).

Appointments to Irvine Commissions and Committees

Irvine Green Ribbon Environmental Committee

Seeks to increase public participation in energy conservation and sustainable practices, helping the City serve the community through advancing environmental policy initiatives and programs. I am glad to work on this Commission with my appointee, Krishna Hammond, and others.

Industrial Development Authority (IDA)

Functions in accomplishment of the purpose provided in the California Industrial Development Financing Act (Title 10, commencing with Section 91500 of the Government Code of the State of California) and to carry out and complete projects and perform and exercise derivative obligations and powers as set forth in the Act.

Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT)

Created by the City of Irvine to provide secure, high-quality affordable housing through the operation of a non-profit community land trust, securing and retaining title to land on which permanently affordable rental, ownership and special needs housing will be constructed and maintained for the benefit of income-eligible families.

Irvine Child Care Project (NonProfit JPA between City and Irvine USD)

Non-profit joint powers agency that provides after school care at all elementary schools in the City. Note: Alternate for Lynn Schott.

Irvine Public Facilities and Infrastructure Authority (IPFIA)

Provides for the financing and refinancing of public capital improvements of the City, through the Purchase by the Authority of obligations of the City pursuant to a bond purchase.

Note: There is no additional pay or stipend for service on any of these agencies and committees except as specifically indicated.

If you have questions or concerns regarding any of these agencies and committees, or on any matter regarding the City of Irvine, please do not hesitate to contact me at my official Irvine City Council email at mefox@cityofirvine.org. All correspondence is public record.

Let’s Make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capital!

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“Orange County has a problem,” according to Captain Steve Concialdi, a spokesman with the Orange County Fire Authority. “We’re one of the leading counties in the nation for drowning incidents.”

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental injury and death in children under the age of five and the second leading cause of death in children under the age of 14.

More than 80 percent of these drownings occur in residential backyard pools or spas. Drowning can happen quickly, without warning, without a splash and without a cry for help. Already this year, the county has seen 15 fatal drownings. In 2015, 50 people fatally drowned in Orange County.

These deaths are preventable!

Swimming is fun and healthy, and we’re blessed here in Irvine with terrific weather for swimming much of the year.  Now let’s do everything we can to protect our children and enjoy our swimming pools safely.

Taking a few simple steps will save young lives.

Here are the ABCs of pool safety:

poolsafety-03Active supervision: make sure to actively watch children in water. Adults should also make sure that someone is watching them or swimming with them. Don’t swim alone!

Barriers: make sure pools have a tall-enough fence to keep children from wandering in.

Classes: learn to swim, and learn first aid and CPR.

The City of Irvine’s Learn-To-Swim Program offers lessons for all swimming abilities. Classes are available for infants through adults.

Click here to view details about Learn-to-Swim levels.

  • Lessons are offered in two or four week sessions.
  • Please check schedules for dates.
  • Winter & Spring session classes are offered Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 25 or 40 minutes.
  • Summer session classes are offered Monday-Thursday for 25 minutes or Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 40 minutes.
  • Duckling classes are two weeks on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday for 25 minutes.
  • Adult and Teen classes are offered Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday and are 40 minutes.
  • Saturday session classes are 25 minutes for children; 40 minutes for Adults.
  • Private instruction is 25 minutes.

To make our swimming pools as safe as possible, please practice Irvine’s suggested pool safety guidelines, learn CPR, and teach your children how to swim.

Here are Irvine’s Swimming Pool Safety guidelines:

SECURE THE POOL AREA

Professionally install a pool fence that is five feet high around all four sides of the pool. The fence should not have openings. Tables, chairs, tree branches or other protrusions should be moved away from the fence to prevent a young child from getting over, under or through the fence.

Gates should be self-closing and self-latching, opening outward, away from the pool. The gate latch should be placed at the top of the gate and be inaccessible from the outside by small children.

All doors and windows leading to the pool should always be secured and locked at all times.

Additional “layers of protection” include safety covers, alarms on doors and motion-detection devices.

Safety equipment, such as a ring buoy and shepherd’s crook, should always be available.

ALWAYS HAVE ADULT SUPERVISION

Swim lessons, flotation devices and safety equipment should never be substitutes for proper adult supervision at all times. Twenty-five percent of all drowning victims have had swimming lessons.

NEVER leave children alone in or near the pool, even for a moment.

Assign an adult Water Watcher to supervise the pool/spa area, especially during social gatherings.

Babysitters and guardians should always be instructed about potential hazards in and around the pool.

If a child is missing, check the pool first.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Set water safety rules for the whole family before entering the water, including:

  • Always enter the water feet first and look before you leap.
  • Swim with a buddy in a supervised area. Never swim alone.
  • Avoid entrapment: suction from pool and spa drains can trap a swimmer under water.
  • Do not use a pool or spa if there are broken or missing drain covers.
  • Do not let children sit or play on pool drains.
  • Keep toys away from the pool, when not in use, to prevent young children from falling in after a toy.
  • Keep a telephone outside the pool area. Post the 9-1-1 emergency number on the telephone.

Now let’s make Irvine America’s Safe Swimming Capital!