Boulder Creek Fire Department
13230 Central Avenue Boulder Creek, CA 95006


How long does it take a fire engine to get to a fire or medical emergency after 911 has been called?

Typically it takes between 3-5 minutes for engines to arrive on scene after a 911 call has been placed. In some rural areas, it can take between 8-10 minutes for an engine to arrive.

Why do I have to dial 911? Can’t I call the fire station directly and save time?

The 911 emergency system is designed to save valuable seconds. When you dial 911, the system routes the police or fire unit that is closest to your home. Fire stations are not properly equipped to take emergency calls and calling the station directly actually wastes response time.

Why can’t I go to any hospital that I want?

In Santa Cruz County, patients have the choice between Dominican or Watsonville Community. However, depending on the severity of a patient’s condition we have the ability to transport patients to the nearest trauma center either by helicopter or ground ambulance depending on weather conditions.  Patients must meet certain criteria to be considered for trauma center transport.  We cannot transport to Santa Cruz Medical Clinic, Sutter, or other hospitals such as Kaiser.

What can I do to protect my home from wildland fires?

To protect your home from wildfires you must create a safety zone or firebreak by reducing the amount of dead or dying fuel (vegetation) around your home. This does not necessarily mean all vegetation should be removed. In fact, having fire-resistant plants and trees around your home that are properly trimmed and well watered can serve as a firebreak. For a list of things to do to protect your home from wildfires and more information visit

How do I go about drawing up an escape plan for my home/business?

The four basic steps to draw up an escape plan for your home includes:

  1. Draw a floor-plan of your home;
  2. Agree on a meeting place;
  3. Practice your escape plan; and
  4. Make your exit drill realistic.

You can also refer to for information including how to survive alive, tour the survival house, fire and life safety information, and kids & teachers information.

A member of my family is disabled. What does he/she do during a fire?

Assure that you have a well-defined escape plan. Make sure that people who are confined to a wheelchair have immediate access to their wheelchair when an emergency occurs. Call the police department to make sure the person’s special needs are in the 911 dispatch system.

What is the best thing to do for a burn?

Cool a burn with water. Do not use ointments, butter or other substances. For minor burns contact a physician. For serious burns, dial 911 immediately.

What kind of fire extinguisher should I buy?

Homeowners should buy an extinguisher that can handle class A-B-C fires. They should be designed to extinguish fires that usually occur in homes; including wood, paper, flammable liquids and electrical fires.

Do I need to put a smoke detector in every room? How many do I need?

Smoke detectors should be placed outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. On floors without bedrooms, detectors should be installed in or near living areas such as dens, living rooms, or family rooms.

How often should I change the batteries in my smoke detector?

You should change your batteries at least twice a year. An easy way to remember to change your batteries is when you change your clocks for daylight saving time in the spring and fall.

What should I do during an earthquake?

If you are indoors, stay there. Get under a desk or table, or crouch down along an inside wall or hallway. If you are outdoors, get into an open area away from trees, buildings, walls or power lines. If you are driving, pull your car to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses or power lines. Remain inside until shaking is over. If you are in a high-rise building, stay away from windows and outside walls. Get under a table. Do not use elevators. Here are some earthquake resources to learn more:

Is there a difference between a fire engine and a fire truck?

Yes, there is. A fire engine has hose, a water tank, a pump (to pump water), hose, and a small assortment of ladders. A fire truck usually does not have a pump, hose, or water tank, but has a tall ladder fixed to the truck and over 100 feet of portable ladders along with additional equipment. The fire truck most often thought of is the “Hook and Ladder” with a tiller-man steering the rear of the trailer section of the ladder.

Why are there fire trucks at the grocery store?

Because firefighters are required to work a 48-hour tour of duty they shop for and prepare their lunch and dinner each day. They do this because it is more convenient when responding to emergency calls.

Why do they always send a fire truck when I only called for paramedics?

Most medical emergencies require multiple personnel to perform the various tasks associated with patient care.