Where do I call if I have questions?
Here are some phone numbers for emergency issues:
|To report an emergency||911|
|Emergency call to Sheriff/Fire Department||911|
|To report a non-emergency to Sheriff||408-299-3233|
|To report a non-emergency to Fire Department||408-378-4010|
|Santa Clara Co Office of Emergency Services||408-808-7800|
|Hazardous Waste – to report a spill||911|
|Support Network for Battered Women||800-572-2782|
|“Safely Surrendered Baby Law” hotline||877-272-3327|
|Animal Control Services||650-496-5971|
|After hours Animal Control Services.||650-329-2413|
|After hours emergencies such as Roadway blockage, Storm drain, or Sewer problems||408-299-3233|
Does the Fire District have a weed abatement program?
Yes. For more information, please see the weed abatement program page.
Most of the reflectors in the middle of the road past my house are yellow, but there is one blue one. What gives?
These reflectors are sometimes referred to as cat’s eyes and may be used for lane demarcation on the road. The blue one marks the presence of a fire hydrant close to it at the side of the road. If it is of the non-reflective type, it is technically known as a Botts’ Dot.
I have a fire hydrant near my house that is an ugly shade of yellow. Can I paint it green or some other earth tone?
No. Hydrants are to be painted in a color defined by OSHA as “Safety Yellow”. This is to make them more visible at night as well as daylight hours (as opposed to the more traditional red). Maintaining their visibility is an important safety issue.
I am very concerned about my neighbor’s yard which is full of dry grass and shrubs and so forth – one spark at the height of summer and the whole neighborhood will go up in a major conflagration. What can I do about this?
Call the department’s main phone number (408.378.4010) and follow the phone tree; one of the options is for reporting a violation. This includes Hazardous Materials and Fire Code violations.
When reporting an observed violation of poorly maintainted yard growth or hazardous materials can I remain anonymous?
Yes, you can remain anonymous; call the department’s main phone number (408.378.4010) and follow the phone tree; the reporting process asks a number of questions, and when it asks for your name, simply don’t give an answer.
It is important that all of the information that you report is accurate; with an anonymous report there is no way for the department to get back in touch with you, if it turns out that some of the information you report is inaccurate or not understood.
I’d like to get in on the program where a brush-chipping crew will visit me and dispose of all the brush I have cut down in the interests of fire safety. Who do I contact?
If you are a resident of the District you will be contacted about the program. For more information please visit the Brush Chipping Program page.
I can’t find a phone number to advise the Fire Department of a non-urgent situation (i.e I don’t want to call 911) Where can I call?
To contact the Fire Department on non-emergency matters, the telephone number is 408-378-4010
I understand I can take clippings and prunings from my yard and dispose of them in some large garbage trucks which are located sometimes in a parking lot at Foothill College. When are they there?
Typically they are there in the morning of the 3rd Saturday of each month per the Green Waste collection schedule. You can call Green Waste at (650) 947-4994 for confirmation and exact details.
Is it true that a mother of an unwanted new-born baby can give it up at any fire house with no questions asked?
Yes, as per the “Safely Surrendered Baby” law (also known as “Safe Haven” law). A parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant can legally and confidentially surrender their baby within 3 days of birth at all 95 fire stations within Santa Clara County which are designated as Safe Surrender sites – in addition at any hospital emergency room. For more information you can call the Safely Surrendered Baby Law hotline at 877.272.3327.
To what frequency should I tune my radio scanner to eavesdrop on the Fire Department?
A list of frequencies as used by the Santa Clara County Fire department may be found here.
Listening in on a scanner is fine in terms of maintaining your own situational awareness in time of emergency. However it is not fine to use this knowledge for instance to “visit” the scene of a fire in progress. Doing so can only exacerbate an existing crowd or traffic problem – let the firefighters do their job and stay well away.
What is this “Firefighting Gel” that I hear talk of on the news and how can it save homes in wildland fires? Is this something I should consider?
Firefighting Gel is a type of fire-protection material that is available from a number of manufacturers for sale to homeowners. It comes in the form of a concentrated liquid that is applied by mixing it into the spray of a garden hose to cover a vulnerable structure in case of a directly impending fire danger.
The Fire Department can neither endorse nor recommend the use of firefighting gel by homeowners. Unlike installing smoke detectors, or having a fire extinguisher at hand in the house, the use of firefighting gel is not a “universal good” that every homeowner should contemplate.
For certain homeowners and under certain circumstances, you may choose to invest in this type of protection for your home. But if you do so, you should do so only with the full knowledge and understanding of both the pro’s and con’s involved in the use of firefighting gel.
Things to consider
Use of firefighting gel by a homeowner is something that should not even be contemplated unless that homeowner has already demonstrated a serious commitment to the issue of fire protection and defense. Have you already done all the other things the Fire Department recommends for you to protect your property – things like establishing (and maintaining) a defensible space around your home commensurate with the topology? Are any wooden decks blocked to fire access from underneath? Are roof vents and vents under your eaves protected from flying embers? And most critically – do you have a “Class A” roof? (This is not a complete list – just a sample of the issues that need to be taken care of.)
Unless you can answer questions like these positively, then you should not even bother trying to deal with firefighting gel. The use of gel is not going to magically “fix” or compensate for other vulnerabilities.
On the positive side, gel can save a house that might otherwise have been lost to a wildfire – but it offers absolutely no protection to the more usual fire that starts within or associated with a structure. So if you live in the hills and are surrounded by trees and you are vulnerable to a brush fire, then it is something you may wish to consider. If you live in a neighborhood where brushfires are a negligible risk, then it probably offers you no added protection. Gel is only useful as a shield against on oncoming brush fire.
On the negative side, applying gel may tempt you to “stand and fight” in the face of an oncoming brush fire when you should have already safely evacuated the scene. In the worst case, this can lead to loss of life or injury to you and/or those attempting to rescue you. At best it can result in increased chaos due to late evacuation, such as the jamming of exits routes and consequent delay of incoming fire equipment. In this case, you will have made matters worse rather than better – for you, your neighbors and the firefighters.
If you opt to invest in firefighting gel, you must incorporate it into your evacuation planning – together with removing important documents, securing domestic animals and all the other things you plan to do before you are required to evacuate.
If you expect to get any benefit from the use of firefighting gel, than you must also make the effort to understand and learn how to use it, and prepare and plan accordingly. This includes:
- Training and rehearsal of you and/or designated family members in how to use and apply the gel in an efficient and clear-headed manner, in the face of stress and potential chaos.
- Calculating how much you will need (square footage of horizontal surfaces as well as roof) and stocking an appropriate amount of Gel and applicator nozzles.
- Establishing, and regular checking/maintenance of hoses and nozzles to be able to spray the whole house in a minimum of time.
Tracking shelf life of the gel and recycling/replenishing supplies at regular intervals.
If you opt to spend the money on a supply of firefighting gel, it is to be sincerely hoped that you never have to use it. Even if there is a wildfire in your neighborhood that looks like it will threaten your property, you will need to apply it well before you have to evacuate and certainly before you can tell for certain that the fire will reach your home. So even if you did use it, it may (and it is to be hoped) have been entirely unnecessary and you then have to clean up the aftermath.
In the best case, you can let the gel dry and then brush off the powder (it is entirely biodegradable) and/or hose down your residence, and that will be the end of it, except for the cost of replenishing your supplies.
In the worst case, there have been some reports that the application of firefighting gel to older painted surfaces (e.g. where the paint has oxidized somewhat) and treated wooden decks have suffered some discoloration.