Saturday, February 3, 2018

CFM web site & Newsletter

Check out our new web site where you can see all that is happening and also download a copy of our recent CFM Newsletter.

Our newest addition to our CFM apparatus fleet is this 1972 American La France hauler. Pictured at the Cruisin' For A Cure 2017 with our 1957 GMC Rescue Panel on board.

A Look Back at 2017 Events

Friday, February 2, 2018

Where have we been ??

I had not been on for some time and when I tried to get back on the blog did not recognize my user name or password.  After many tries and no time to keep trying, I finally got on.

Friday, July 19, 2013

CFM Mission Viejo Shop

 Some of the apparatus at our Shop
 More of the shop apparatus
The shop has give us a place to maintain our

CFM update July 2013

California Fire Museum – Safety Learning Center

Update 7-19-2013

By: Don Croucher, President

The progress of the California fire Museum-Safety Learning Center (CFM) has ramped up so much so, it has been difficult to find time to write articles, as well as the newsletter. In the past several months things have really begun to happen for CFM. One of the problems we had in the past was the donation to us of many vintage fire apparatus which we felt necessary to accept and save. The problem is to save vintage apparatus, you need space to store, people to work on them, and if you are going to use them, you need to continue registration with the DMV, plus  have them insured. Much of this is costly in which the more you have, the more money it costs. When a rig is offered, especially if there is some sort of historical significance, it is very hard to turn it down. Because once you turn it down, usually it moves on to someone else or is scrapped because the owner can no longer afford to keep it. Usually if it moves on with someone else, it could migrate to another part of the country where it never may be seen again. 

At present CFM has 20 fire apparatus on our roster, give or take.  I say give or take because some are on loan to other organizations and some are in the process of being donated to other organizations and some may end up being scrapped. A handful are in operation and used at events and special requests. Some are in pretty rough shape, but hold a significant historical value and must be evaluated as to whether they should be restored or not.

We have a 1960 Seagrave pumper that originally came from the Anaheim Fire Department, was donated to a volunteer fire department in Northern California which in turn donated it to CFM several years ago. At present we are in negotiations to donate this back to the Anaheim Fire Department. The bottom line is, we are in the business of trying to save our fire service history, whether it be apparatus, memorabilia, or photographs. And, if in the process, we can facilitate any of this back to its original department, we will do so. Otherwise, we will save it, store it and use it in our future museum exhibits, archives or presentations.

Recently we were able to negotiate with the Santa Margarita Water District the use of a vacant building which contains a number of rooms with inside and outside storage areas for our fire apparatus. This has been a huge advancement for us regarding storage and a place to work on our fire apparatus. Plus, after some renovation, we were able to construct a large meeting room, a tool storage and workshop with inside storage area for some of our larger hand-drawn apparatus, such as our 1900’s hose cart, Badger extinguisher cart and our 9/11 steel  exhibit cart. This facility has also given us a place to store all our event displays, exhibits, tables and chairs, plus all supplies needed for our museum-without-walls events. We call our new facility our “CFM Shop,” which is located in Mission Viejo, just off the end of La Paz Rd.  This facility has also generated much more interest in our project with people coming by to see our apparatus collection, volunteer their time to help out restoring, maintaining and cleaning our fleet of apparatus. It has also given us a room where we can now hold our monthly board meetings, store some of our records and work on projects.

At present we have moved 10 of our fire apparatus to our new shop location and are in the process of moving several more. By having most of our fire apparatus in one location, it has tremendously reduced our workload and the process of keeping track of all of our fire apparatus. We have already had a number of work party days where we worked on bringing the facility up to a workable condition by painting, cleaning, organizing and updating the general appearance.

Setting up a facility such as this, we found a huge need for all kinds of items to make it usable and to maintain the facility and the apparatus. We put out a list of needs to our membership and others, listing all the items needed which included simple things like brooms, dust pans, tool racks, toolboxes, tools, ladders, trash cans, and much more. The response was tremendous. We now have almost everything we need to do business at our new facility. A big thanks goes out to all who answered our request and donated items. 

Orange County Great Park and our building

We are still working with our museum planner, Howard Lovering, of logic Inc., to get all our ducks in a row, so we can continue raising the funds needed for our Master Plan. Howard has put together an excellent master plan team and has estimated we will need around $200,000 to fund the master plan. A master plan is needed before you can do any building fund campaign. When you start asking for high-end dollars for a building campaign, you need to show them what it is they will be donating to, and this is where the master plan comes in. Howard has continued to supply us with needed information and documents to present to the Great Park on our behalf, dealing with all aspects of planning and funding for fire Museum building.

Our plans with the Great Park are continuing with some changes regarding the location that was originally designated as part of our feasibility study. Due to ongoing negotiations with Five Point Communities (Lennar), there may be some major changes in the Great Park Master Plan that was originally put together years ago by Ken Smith, the Great Park architect. There was talk of moving our building location from next to the Balloon parking lot, over to the future Cultural Terrace where the Air Museum, amphitheater, arts and culture, and other Great Park amenities are planned in the future. However, recent plans to move OCFA fire station 20 from its temporary location on Trabuco Road to a location inside the Great Park, has presented some other possibilities for locating our fire museum. CFM has been included in a meeting with the City of Irvine, Great Park staff, Orange County Fire Authority and the Irvine Company. This meeting is one of several planned to discuss the location of fire station 20 on Great Park property, and also the possibility of including CFM and safety learning center nearby. We are bringing Howard Lovering down from Seattle Washington to attend this meeting with us to answer any in-depth questions which may arise regarding our project.

By the time this article is published, we should have a better idea of how things may work out regarding this new location at the Great Park. We are hoping this can work out to be very beneficial for CFM with hopefully some possible additional funding towards our project. But we will have to wait and see how things pan out.

Speaking of funding, we would like to thank Orange County Fire Service Association for a recent $5,000 donation to help with our ongoing expenses. We also want to thank the Orange County Fire Authority Firefighter Union IAFF Local 3631 for an additional $5,000 donation.

The California Fire Museum, Orange County Division, would like to invite all Orange County city fire departments to also participate in our project. Our plans are to have space in our future fire museum to feature every city fire department in Orange County. Because of the constant flux and changing of the fire services, we feel it is very important to be able to save the history of those departments which have been disbanded and no longer exist. They need to be remembered for the services they provided and those who served with these city departments. Recently, some of the oldest departments have been disbanded, such as the Santa Ana City Fire Department, one of Orange County's oldest departments, which originated back in 1883.

We are looking for representatives from each existing city fire department to join with us to help preserve and exhibit the history of your department. We are also looking for representatives from fire departments that have been disbanded over the past years.

City fire departments that no longer exist include: Tustin, Seal Beach, Westminster, Buena Park, Stanton, Placentia, San Clemente, La Habra, MCAS El Toro, MCAS Tustin.

If you have photos, memorabilia or written history from any of the above disbanded fire departments, or if you are with a city fire department and would like to help with a committee to include your department in the California Fire Museum at the Orange County Great Park, please contact Don Croucher at 949-493-8718 or e-mail: We want to include each and every fire department in Orange County in the Orange County Fire Services history section.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

CFM May 2012 Update

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.