Santa Paula Times

GMSP: SPFD Engineer Arana honored as Public Safety Officer of the Quarter

June 25, 2010
Santa Paula News

A member of an “all Santa Paula crew” of firefighters was honored as the Public Safety Officer of the Quarter at the June Good Morning Santa Paula.

The Chamber of Commerce-sponsored breakfast meeting, hosted by Santa Clara Valley Disposal/E. J. Harrison & Sons, was held at Logsdon’s at the Santa Paula Airport.

Fire Chief Rick Araiza introduced Safety Officer of the Quarter Engineer Carlos Arana. Married, with an 18-month-old son Gavin, Araiza said Arana graduated from Santa Paula High School and received a degree in sociology from the University of California Santa Barbara.

“Carlos has been with the department since 2000 when he was a Reserve, and he became full-time in 2005” and serves as an engineer at Station 82. “Carlos was instrumental this last quarter” in getting more residents involved in an important preparedness program.

More than 600 Santa Paulans have been trained for CERT, but Araiza said all classes were in English until Arana “stepped up and is running the only bilingual CERT class in California.” Arana participated in a CERT recruitment effort held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, where he provided an initial presentation on the program in Spanish.

“A few showed up,” but then Araiza said as word spread the class was “inundated” with hundreds of CERT trainees. “I went to the recent CERT graduation at the church and when I walked up there were hundreds” who had completed the program.... These people were amazing, really striving to help the community be prepared for an emergency.”

Araiza noted that Santa Paula’s Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Captain Steve Lazenby, who stars in a CERT training video, has become nationally known - another “amazing” feather in the city and its fire department’s cap. Araiza also introduced Arana’s crewmates, Captain Dustin Lazenby - a past Public Safety of the Quarter recipient - and Firefighter David Leon, also city natives: “This crew today is an all Santa Paula crew,” joked Araiza.

GMSP Moderator Ben Schuck said he has known Arana for “a really long time” and admires his devotion to duty.

CERT, said Arana, “is great to prepare ourselves for any emergency. We might think we’re prepared, but when you take the class” it demonstrates all actions that must be considered in an emergency - from shutting down utilities to having food and other supplies always on hand.

Araiza said participants also learn “leverage, how to lift things, how to get out of the rubble, how to be safe going into a situation,” and how to handle a fire extinguisher, among other subjects. CERT is a highly regarded and appreciated training course that, with its rotating schedule, allows flexibility of attendance.

“We appreciate you and your service,” and Schuck told Arana he hopes he has a long career with the SPFD. Schuck thanked John Macik/Santa Paula Chevrolet for their support of the Chamber by providing the monthly award plaques. Schuck also thanked the SPFD for “doing such a great job for the community for so little money.”