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Christmas with Santa Barbara City Fire prepared in case of emergency

Santa Barbara City Firefighters
Blake DeVine/KEYT
Santa Barbara City Firefighters’ new backpacks allow for extra food and gear to be carried while they’re working for extended periods of time.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — Not everyone is able to take Christmas off. For Santa Barbara first responders, Christmas, like other holidays, is just another day on the calendar. Santa Barbara City Fire officials said they have their station fully staffed in case of an emergency.

Christmas at Santa Barbara Fire Department, it's business as usual.

Battalion Chief Jim McCoy said, “Our shop is open 24/7 365. There’s no closed days and the public expects the same things.”

Battalion Chief McCoy said the calls they respond to align with how people celebrate the holiday.

“Oven fires, people cooking," said Battalion Chief McCoy. "Turkey fires, you know with the grease splattering in ovens. And that starts. And the unfortunately as the day goes on sometimes what we’ll see is people will drink too much and kind of the problems that go with drinking too much.” 

But between calls the firefighters are able to have a little extra fun and get into the holiday spirit.

Rookie firefighter, Garrett Cuffel said, “We have the tree set up, we have all of the decorations. You know everybody is a little bit more relaxed for sure. We try to take in the holiday spirit. We did a gift exchange earlier.”

This is Cuffel's first Christmas at the fire station. He said it’s his families that help make working the holidays easier.

“My family is really flexible," said Cuffel. "They allow me to come down and celebrate on days that aren’t necessarily the holiday and then it’s cool because this is a little family here at the department too. So it’s kind of like you get the best of both worlds. It doesn’t feel like you’re away from home even when you’re here.”

McCoy said on the holidays they ease up on some of the to-do lists to make working the holiday easier. They allow their firefighters more free time to be used to work out or watch basketball and football games on TV.

During normal years the fire station tend to get more visitors delivering them gifts and treats. This Christmas American Rivera Bank is expected to drop off Christmas dinner. And for those celebrating Battalion Chief McCoy urges them to do so smartly and safely.

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Scott Sheahen

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