September 22, 2023

February Learning Partner: Santa Monica Fire Department

CSU is proud to recognize the Santa Monica, California Fire Department as our Learning Partner of the Month for February.

Assistant Chief Jose M. Torres accepted the award from CSU Outreach representative Ernie Smith on a recent visit to the department. Torres has recently accepted a position as a fire chief in Illinois and is looking forward to telling his new department about the benefits that Santa Monica receives as a learning partner with CSU.

Torres was able to complete his undergraduate degree online and has seen firsthand the advantages a formal education can yield.

“Getting my degree opened the door for me to complete the next step, which for me was becoming the fire chief of a department.”

He saw the opportunity that CSU’s affordable, flexible education offers those who are looking to move into leadership positions within a department. “Getting a formal education will help them to grow and to promote within the organization, and it is also important for their own self-knowledge, self-development and improvement,” Torres added.

The Santa Monica Fire Department was organized long ago in 1875, when six local citizens formed the Crawford Hook and Ladder Company. The city grew, and in 1889 the town formed the Santa Monica Hose and Ladder Company, known as the Santa Monica Fire Department today.

Gone are the days of the horse-drawn carriages and steam pumpers. Those have been replaced with turbo-charged diesel engines capable of delivering more than 2,000 gallons of water per minute when called upon to protect life and property in Santa Monica. Today, under the direction of Fire Chief Scott Ferguson, the Santa Monica Fire Department and its team of more than 100 members protects more than 92,000 residents.

In 1974, the SMFD became the first fire department in the United Sates to deliver emergency paramedic care to its citizens from a fire engine company, a model embraced by departments across the country today. In addition to providing paramedic services, the SMFD includes a Hazardous Materials Response Team, an Urban Search and Rescue Team, and a dedicated airport response unit in addition to providing life, fire and safety education in the local schools.