Pasadena Firefighters Help Out Public Works Felling Trees, Train to Become Certified “Fallers”

Published : Monday, April 8, 2019 | 4:57 AM

Images courtesy City of Pasadena

Firefighters from the Pasadena Fire Department are undergoing a tree-felling training program that would allow them to be certified as “fallers,” highly skilled chainsaw operators who specialize in the safe felling of hazardous snags and burning or damaged trees.

Pasadena Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Frieders pointed out that nationwide, at least two firefighters were killed last year from falling branches.

“This training gives our firefighters a higher level of situational awareness when called upon to battle wildfires,” Frieders said.

The training program makes use of tree-removal operations scheduled by the Parks and Natural Resources Division (PNR) which presents an opportunity for fire department personnel to practice operating chainsaws and felling trees safely.

The training is conducted In cooperation with the City’s Department of Public Works.

Public Works Director Ara Maloyan said the goal of the training program is for the Pasadena Fire Department to become a true all-risk agency when sent to wildfires throughout the state.

The Pasadena Fire Department belongs to Area C within the state of California, which covers 14 other fire departments with a total of 48 fire stations and approximately 900 fire personnel. Of this personnel, only one firefighter is certified as a faller.

Maloyan said the training curriculum includes an overview of personal protective equipment for chainsaw operation, work zone and common targets such as overhead and underground utilities, verbal and non-verbal communication, felling notches, pressure and tension troubleshooting from tree stress points, rigging for safe felling, and tree climbing.

The training is also being coordinated with the National Wildlife Coordinating Group, an operational group designed to coordinate programs of different agencies participating in wildfire management.

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