The Orange County Fire Services Association began as the Orange County
Firemen’s Association and was organized in December 1913.
A group of officers in north Orange County met in Fullerton to discuss the formation of the Orange County Firemen’s Association. Notices were sent to all of the departments in Orange County requesting a meeting in Fullerton. The response was excellent; and, as a result the Orange County Fireman’s Association was formed. It was recorded as the first County Fireman’s Association west of Denver, Colorado. It preceded and assisted in the formation of the California State Fireman’s Association.
In 1927 Captain William C. Fox, Engine Co. #2, Santa Ana Fire Department, Took the initiative to form the group into an organization for the betterment of the Fire Service and to “render aid to Cities in distress”. The Association grew from a few Charter Members, including Brea, Buena Park, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Orange, Tustin and Santa Ana into an organization of 16 departments. Those later joining the Association were Anaheim, Garden Grove, Laguna Beach, La Habra, Placentia, San Clemente, Cypress, and Costa Mesa.
In 1964 The Orange County Firemen’s Association incorporated and re-filed articles of incorporation in 1970 to amend the by-laws with the clause of dissolution with the assets going to the California State Firemen’s Association.In 1965 Father John Sammon was officially appointed as the Orange County Firemen’s Association Chaplain. In 1973 The Orange County Firemen’s Association donated the first of three vehicles to Father Sammon.
In 1979 Our Association joined hands with the Orange County Fire Chiefs Association to co-sponsor an annual dinner and awards night for those involved in the fire service to be honored by their peers for their achievements during the past year. The first such night was held in 1980 and has been an annual event every year since with over 25 individuals or organizations such as explorer posts, and honor guard units being included for their dedication to the fire services.
In 1980 the Association researched the idea of building a monument dedicated to fallen firefighters here in Orange County. July 1, 1993 a construction permit was obtained and groundbreaking ceremonies were held at the site located in civic center on Broadway in the city of Santa Ana. Oct. 9, 1993 the monument was dedicated, and statue depicting Monsignor John Sammon was added and dedicated July 12, 1995. Each year there is a memorial service held honoring those who have passed on the prior year. The annual service is now held on September 11th.
In 1992 the Association began a project teaching children fire safety with our talking fire engine known as “Big John” the talking fire engine.There were 109 programs presented during the 8 month period between Sept. 2001 through April 2002 with some 3,335 children being instructed. In addition to the presentation by the talking engine, there is also a personal presentation by a firefighter teaching all aspects of fire safety such as the stop, drop, & roll, how to dial for emergency services, as well as fire prevention and fire safety. The program lasts one hour, and has been quite well received. Every year, we improve upon the program and reach more kids.
The Orange County Firemen’s Association name was changed to Orange County Fire Service Association in 1996 to avoid confusion with the Orange County Fire Department, which has renamed itself Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA). OCFSA is a 501-C-3 nonprofit organization.Today the Association is active in many ways, assisting educational programs and helping organizations. We publish a quarterly magazine titled, “The Orange County Firefighter”, which goes to every fire station in Orange County, to all public libraries, City Halls, and to all of our members as a means of communicating with the public.
Orange County Fire Services Association has set goals of reaching out to even more kids, and is dedicated to making an impact in our community for the safety and well being of our members, the men and women serving our community, and members of the community at large. To do this our new purpose is to establish a Fire Museum and Public Safety Education Center here in Orange County, The fire museum will represent and honor all the fire services in Orange County including City, County, State, Federal and Military. We will also have a special exhibit to honor Monsignor Sammon and his wishes to bring together the “Fire Family”.