Felton Fire Protection District
Volunteer fire fighters in the community of Felton, CA, came together in 1935. In 1948, the Felton Fire Protection District was established as a Special District of the State of California. In partnership with Civil Defense, the first fire engines and firefighting equipment was acquired. In the early 1950’s, the Fire District purchased a parcel of land from the local school district and shortly thereafter the fire station was built and opened in 1954.
Felton is in unincorporated area of Santa Cruz County, CA. Felton is located on Hwy 9, 6 miles from the City of Santa Cruz. Coastal redwood trees are throughout the area. Henry Cowell and Fall Creek State Parks are located in Felton, to preserve and protect the coastal redwoods. Felton has a population of approximately 6,000. San Lorenzo Valley High School, Middle School and Elementary campus is located in Felton. A tourist attraction called Roaring Camp Railroads is in Felton offering steam locomotive rides in the redwoods and a train running between Felton and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Five camp and conference centers are served by Felton Fire District, most notably, Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center.
The Fire District is governed by an elected 5 member board of directors. Each director serves a four-year term of office. The term of office is staggered so that every two years some director seats term out, rather than having all term out at one time. The fire district has two full time personnel, the fire chief and a station maintenance position. The fire fighters are volunteers. The number of volunteer fire fighters averages 30, some years slight more than 30 and other years a little less. The fire district responds to various types of emergency and non-emergency calls for service. Approximately 60% of all calls for service are for emergency medical reasons. The fire district also responds to auto accidents, fires, rescues, and storm related emergencies (trees/wires/flooding). Felton helped start a large animal rescue program. By responding to local emergencies involving large animals, mostly horses, a training class was developed and Felton personnel have taught the class throughout the western United States. Felton has assisted numerous large animals back to a standing position. Accidents on trails, falls or sick/injured horses in stalls, trailer accidents, stuck in mud and animals down a hillside and unable to walk out are a few examples of the large animal rescues Felton Fire has been involved with.
Felton has had 5 men serve as Fire Chief. Chief Fetherston was the first. Followed by Chief Ted Toft. Chief Toft was fire chief from the formation of the fire district in 1948 until his retirement in the 1970’s. Chief John McDonnell (Mac) was the Chief after Toft and served until 1989. Chief Don Ramos served for a year and the current Chief, Ron Rickabaugh, has served as Chief from April 1991 until the present time.
Fire District Mission Statement
The Felton Fire Protection District’s mission is to be an effective emergency service organization serving the residents, business and property owners, and visitors of Felton, with quality fire suppression, emergency medical services, rescue, fire prevention and public education.
In carrying out this mission, the Felton Fire Protection District will:
- Provide priority to fire fighter safety
- Encourage the educational and personal development of fire district personnel
- Promote positive attitudes and teamwork to take full advantage of our skills, knowledge and creativity
- Communicate openly and honestly to our members and community to inspire trust and confidence
Fire District Values
- F – Felton residents, businesses and visitors. The fire district exists by public approval and our function is to serve the public interest. The fire district is committed to listening and responding to the community and the people within our organization. The fire district strives to find better ways to serve the residents, businesses and visitors of Felton.
- E – Ethical. The fire district is committed to conducting business with the highest ethical standards.
- L – Learning. The fire district values the importance of training and retaining talented personnel. Training prepares the fire fighters for safe and efficient emergency practices.
- T – Team. The fire district strives to maintain a cooperative relationship between the Board of Directors, fire chief, fire fighters and the Auxiliary. Working together as a team fosters trust, resolution of conflicts, commitment, accountability and achievement of goals.
- O – Opportunities. Opportunities are encouraged for all volunteers to develop their potential and make the best use of their abilities. Opportunities may be found in training, emergency incidents, public events, public education and more.
- N – Nurturing. The fire district believes in the importance of nurturing and maintaining positive relationships with all fire agencies and other government agencies in the County of Santa Cruz, State of California, the Federal government and other Special Districts.
- F – Firefighters. The fire district’s volunteer fire fighters are the fire district’s most valuable assets. With the active participation of the fire fighters, the Felton Fire District is able to provide a quality service to the residents, businesses and visitors of Felton. Without the fire fighters, Felton Fire District has little to nothing to offer the public.
- I – Involved in the community. The Felton Fire District strives to be an active member of the Felton community. Beyond fire and emergency services, the fire district is active in the Felton Business Association, sponsoring youth sport teams, assisting SLV Unified School District at events like football games, graduation, Grad Night and public education at the elementary schools. CPR, AED and Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) classes are offered to the public at no charge.
- R – Responsible. The fire district believes the quality of service is everyone’s responsibility. The fire district prepares for it’s response to emergencies and believes the property owners, residents, business owners and visitors should prepare for potential emergencies as well. The best outcome in an emergency situation is found when all parties have done their part to keep the emergency manageable.
- E – Equipped. The fire district places high value on equipping our fire fighters with quality equipment they need to carry out their tasks safely and effectively. To the best of the fire district’s ability, every effort will be made to provide the finest equipment possible for the fire fighters to use. This includes the purchase and on–going maintenance, as required.