PAFD Captain Rocky Hull at the SLAC Fire Station
(Photo by Diana Rogers)
By Linda DuShane White
To adhere with Department of Energy (DOE) requirements,
SLAC has its own fire station. Station 7 of the City of Palo Alto Fire
Department (PAFD) provides fire services under a Stanford University
contract. Captain Rocky Hull, a firefighter for 26 years, is a fervent
advocate for safety. Enthusiasm for his profession shines through as he
speaks of the high level of skill required of firefighters and the
continuous training they must undergo.
Hull has worked as a firefighter, engineer and captain
with the PAFD for over 22 years. After being at SLAC for two years, he
will tell anyone who will listen that he is impressed with how the people
at SLAC work to have a safe environment. "They take the time to make sure
things are put away, that hazardous materials are stored properly, that
their machinery is off when they’re gone, that they wear their safety
equipment, and this all adds up to fewer accidents," Hull said. "It’s not
the same in the rest of the world." In the last two years there have been
250-300 inspections at SLAC with almost no violations. "I would like to
personally compliment everyone here at SLAC for making my job safer," he
Learn How to Use a Fire Extinguisher
On the first Wednesday of each month fire extinguisher
demonstrations are held at the Fire Station at 1:30 p.m.
(Sign up through the ES&H Web site.)
Firefighters are on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week
through three eight-hour shifts. Duties comprise emergency medical
services, working with the SLAC medical office, handling hazardous
material spills as well as fire suppression. At the station, a 3-bed
dormitory accommodates duty staff.
Scheduling is done at Station 7 daily for the entire PAFD
Suppression Division. A report is generated delineating drills, training,
assignments, vacation and sick leave schedules. A thorough equipment check
is carried out and, on most days, there is training on topics such as fire
suppression, confined space rescue techniques (used if a person is caught
in a tunnel, for example), and medical techniques including triage
training for major emergencies.
There are two vehicles at Station 7. Engine 7 is a Class A
Triple Combination Pumper—a fire engine, not a fire truck. Fire trucks
have ladders while fire engines have hoses and spray water. Engine 7 is
prepared for almost any emergency. It has several compartments carrying
items including protective gear, air packs, maps, pump, hoses, water, a
high voltage protection wand (to make sure power is off), a radiological
monitor, rope harnesses, anchors, air bags, special lifting equipment,
medical supplies, air monitoring systems, defibrillators, C-spine
equipment and a medical bag.
The second truck is a Wild Land Engine Type 4 Patrol Unit,
special to SLAC, which can go off-road. It is used on the often rugged
grassy areas on and around SLAC.
The Fire Department works closely with SLAC fire alarm
techs. "I really can’t say enough about them," says Hull. "They are a real
asset to us. They do an excellent job." Any alarm from SLAC comes directly
to the Fire Station and, for backup, to PADF Communications. There is a
screen in Station 7 showing exactly where the alarm is coming from.
Response time is about 4 minutes. Hull says, "Our priorities are life
safety first, and then property conservation." They also interact
frequently with SLAC’s Safety and Security, MCC and the Medical
Hull appreciates being at SLAC. "This is a really great
place. When I came up here I didn’t know what to expect. There is a lot of
cool stuff that happens at SLAC, a lot of great stuff that goes on that
you never really hear about unless you have this contact. You walk in
there and see this accelerator, it’s a pretty amazing thing."
"There’s no other place like it. It’s nice to feel that we
are a part of the SLAC community," Hull added.