California Fire Museum - Safety Learning Center, update
By: Don Croucher, President, CFM- SLC The California Fire Museum - Safety Learning Center (CFM Safety Learning Center) started its quest for a building at the former MCAS El Toro back in 1999 when the base was closed and future use was being discussed and managed by the Orange County Redevelopment Authority. Along with other interested local nonprofits, we submitted a formal letter of request to the County for possible use of an existing empty military building to house our fire museum safety learning center.
As we all know, the end result would turn out much different. After many years of elections and debates, the base was sold to a developer with a large piece of land donated for use as a park, now known as the Orange County Great Park, managed by the Great Park Corporation (GP) and the City of Irvine. Amongst all these changes, our quests for a place to house our facility did not falter. Our persistence carried us through many Great Park board meetings, stakeholder meetings, outreach seminars, special events, presentations, and all the steps it has taken to put together a world class community park. Our persistence saw us successful through the many GP selection steps, including GP Evaluation Summary, recommended for GP Schematic Design, listed as a GP Priority Program to undergo a Feasibility Study, listed as a GP Stakeholder Organization, GP approved Level-1 Feasibility Study, GP approved Level-2 Feasibility Study, GP approved 3 acres of property for our building, GP approved as a community partner for many GP events.
At present, we are halfway through a Great Park & Great Park Foundation Affiliate Agreement. Once the Affiliate Agreement is completed, we will be embarking on our seed money funding campaign to fund our Master Plan.
As we move forward in our museum planning, our next phase will be compiling our Master Plan. No building funding can be initiated until we have our Master Plan which requires a high level of expertise to assemble.
Howard Lovering of Logic, our consultant, has selected the team of experts to cover all aspects necessary to complete this Master Plan. This team has worked on some of the country’s top projects to include: Museum of Flight, Seattle Washington; Lincoln Museum, Ft Wayne, IN; National Steinbeck Center, Salinas, CA; Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, KY; LeMay Museum of Vintage Automobiles, Tacoma, WA; McAulitte – Shepard Discovery Museum, Concord NH; Historic Belmont Safety Learning Center & Fire Museum, Portland, OR; Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara, CA; UC Davis Museum of Art, Davis, CA; Northwest African American Museum; Glacier National Park St Mary Visitor Center; Grand Canyon National Park Visitor Center; Armed Forces & Aerospace Museum; Tucson Children’s Museum graphic design; The USS Missouri Memorial Interpretive Exhibits; Arches National Park, Moab, UT.
The team is assembled and ready to go to work and produce a first class CFM Safety Learning Center Master Plan which will rival any we have seen so far at the Great Park.
The Great Park staff has chosen CFM as the first program to go through the Affiliate Agreement process. GP Staff from the top down have reviewed this Affiliate Letter and has sent a DRAFT for us to go over and approve. The CFM consultant (Logic), Affiliate committee, and CFM Board have reviewed the letter, made a few suggestions and returned it to the GP Staff and are awaiting the final version. Once we have the approved CFM –GP Affiliate Agreement Letter, we will embark on an aggressive Master Plan funding campaign.
We are looking for sponsors to help us fund this Master Plan, which will cost upwards of $150,000. This is a very reasonable cost for such a project considering the quality of the team and the complexity of this Safety Learning Center, which will benefit the children of Orange County in these difficult economic times. Fire departments are cutting back on fire prevention education programs, along with firefighting personal and equipment.
This is where the CFM Safety Learning Center can be of great assistance to the community by providing a place, where children and adults alike, can come and gain knowledge regarding not only fire safety, but all aspects of safety in the home and community.
The display of historic fire equipment and memorabilia from the history of firefighting in southern California will be of community interest and help educate students of all ages on the importance of community fire safety, emergency preparedness, and injury risk reduction. The CFM-SLC is not about us, per se. It is about the community that we serve and about teaching people how to live safely and well, and to avoid risk of injury. Although the fire service plays a huge role in public safety--and that will be our emphasis--there are still numerous other agencies, such as law enforcement, utilities, Red Cross, the Emergency Management Bureau, CERT Teams, school districts, and the public themselves, who have a role as partners in community safety.
To accomplish this huge task, CFM has put together a program called the Road to Safety, which will be the focus of our Safety Learning Center. The Road to Safety will encompass all aspects of fire, home and community safety. Some of the items we will focus on in our Road to Safety will include:
Pool & Water Safety – at the pool, the beach, the river, in the home and yard
Gas & Electric Hazards – in the home, outdoors, work & play
Train & Rail Crossing Safety – trains, light rail & subways
Wildland Fire Safety & Preparedness – around the home and community
Disaster Preparedness – home, work and vacation
Fire & Burn Prevention – home, work and play
Life Safety/Hazards – falls, furniture, windows, driveway, drugs, bicyclists
Dangerous Wildlife & Gun Safety – animals, insects and guns
Emergency Vehicle Safety – pull to the right
Make the Right Call 911 – proper use and teachings
We ask, are you ready, prepared and educated on all the aspects of life safety in the home, work and play? If not, come to the CFM Safety Learning Center. When you go through the Road to Safety program, you will be much better prepared in all aspects of fire and life safety.
To better acquaint the community with our CFM Safety Center programs and plans, we have, and will continue to, participate in special events throughout southern California with our information booth, handouts and our vintage historical fire apparatus. The events include Cruisin’ for a Cure Car Show, along with many other cars shows, parades, children’s special educational events, and a number of annual events at the Orange County Great Park.