Santa Clara encompasses 18.4 square miles in the heart of Northern California’s Santa Clara County, also known as Silicon Valley, in recognition of the region’s leadership in technology innovations that changed the way the world lives, works, learns and plays. It is part of the burgeoning South Bay metropolitan area that includes the City of San Jose, the 10th largest city in the U.S., and the wider nine county San Francisco Bay Area that is the fastest growing region in the state. Santa Clara City has its own power utility enterprise, Silicon Valley Power.
The 2018 population of the City of Santa Clara is estimated at 129,604 and is one of the most diverse in the nation with over 42% of residents born outside the U.S. Over half of the population is non-Caucasian. The residents are also highly skilled and educated with 56.7% of adults holding bachelor degree or higher. The median age is 34 and median household income is $102,533.
The Santa Clara Fire Department was first established in 1854 with Columbia Hose Company, a volunteer fire company. Several more volunteer companies were formed in the years following until 1908 when the individual hose companies combined to form one fire department. In 1949 the first fire station was built and in 1951 the first paid firefighters were hired.
Today the Santa Clara Fire Department has 167 paid employees (132 of them in the Suppression Division), as well as a robust Volunteer/Reserve Firefighter program. Available for emergency response 24 hours a day the SCFD has 8 fire engines, 2 truck companies, 1 haz mat apparatus, 1 rescue apparatus, 2 medic units capable of transport, 1 battalion chief and 1 assistant training officer. We have ten fire stations and one training center for the department.
The Fire Department responds to over 9,000 calls for service annually. 70% of those calls are for emergency medical services, 5% for injuries due to vehicle accidents, 2% for fires, 2% for hazardous materials, less than 1% for rescue calls and 20% for calls classified as “other.” The Fire Department protects a diverse array of occupancies in our community, including Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara University, Mission College, the Santa Clara Convention Center, Westfield Valley Fair Mall, and several high rise hotels. Many Silicon Valley high tech businesses have their headquarters in Santa Clara. We have one major freeway (Hwy 101) that intersects our city and are bordered by three more freeways (Hwy 880, Hwy 280, Hwy 237), as well as the San Jose International Airport. The SCFD provides mutual aid response annually for local and regional wildfires across the State of California by staffing three fire engines designated for this response. We staff a Type 2 Haz Mat Team
The Fire Department budget for Fiscal Year 2018/2019 is $46.6 million out of an overall City operating budget of $860.9 million. Starting salary for an entry-level Firefighter I is $90,780 per year. Firefighter II salary after 3 years on the job is $121,488 per year. Starting salary for the promoted position of Driver-Engineer is $130,752 per year and starting salary for a promoted position of Fire Captain is $147,720 per year. Salary for a top-step Fire Captain after five years in the position is $179,592. Paramedic premium pay for those assigned to perform as fire paramedics is an additional $15,252 per year added to your position salary.