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Origin and Growth.

 

In 1937, the Lockheed Fire Department existed under Vega Aircraft as a combined unit of firefighters and guards. The Fire and Guard units divided into separate departments in 1939.

World War II came and Lockheed Aircraft and Vega merged into one company in the Burbank complex. During those days Lockheed-Vega employed one hundred and fifty firefighters and used some Aircraft assemblers as auxiliary firefighters.
The Burbank complex at that time had a small fire house, one hose wagon which carried one thousand foot of hose, a booster pump and a small water tank.
There were nineteen firefighters assigned to the station each shift. Other firefighters would report in by telephone on the roof tops of the buildings, which had hose cabinets and roof monitors. Each firefighter would replace the previous shifts tags on roof monitors and risers around the plant.

Fire alarms were received in the station via a Gamewell alarm system which punched coded signals in a paper tape.

Firefighters in the plant and roof patrol received the alarm via a Claxton, which sounded the coded alarm signal throughout the plant. The firefighter would look for the location on a run card they carried and report to the specified area.

In 1945, Lockheed Aircraft company bought a new Mack 750 pumper and two Walters Crash Fire trucks. This really was the beginning of a more progressive Fire Department for Lockheed. Thanks to some progressive thinking of the Fire Chief and Lockheed management.
star_of_life1.gif (1309 bytes)In the early 60's EMS service was added with the addition of an ambulance and rescue vehicle. Expansion continued when Lockheed entered into the commercial aircraft business with the L-1011 and a new facility for assembling the L-1011 in Pamldale. This added a new fire station and eventually two Walters crash rescue vehicles, one 1500 gpm Grumman pumper, one ambulance and one patrol vehicle in Palmdale. Bringing total manpower to around 78 personnel, between the Burbank/Palmdale facilities.

UNTIL!!

Peace casualty: LOCKHEED FIRE DEPARTMENT

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Major cutbacks in the U.S defense budget have affected the well trained industrial fire department.
After 50 years of service to Lockheed Corporation, the fire suppression, EMS and hazardous materials operations were eliminated permanently.
The 50-year-old department was shut down on June 29, 1990, putting over 70 Captains and Firefighters out of work.  In early 1991 the manpower fell to 8 Firefighters in the Palmdale Skunk Works facility when the Burbank Airport CFR duties were turned over to the Tri-Cities authority.


swskunk.gif (1217 bytes)Presently at the Skunk Works facility in Palmdale all that is left of the Lockheed Fire Department is one Fire Chief and two Firefighters. No Crash Rescue, Suppression or EMS services are provided to Lockheed/Martin employees. Duties are restricted to Fireprevention only even though the Firefighters' are also California State certified Haz Mat Technicians, Firefighter I or II, some have also received an Emergency Medical Technician 1-F.S. certification and have crash, fire, rescue background and other forms of in-field fire service training.


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04/19/00

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