Salinas Fire Department

fire guys in yellow
Training 1
Sparky on Engine

Mission Statement

The Salinas Fire Department is dedicated to preserving and protecting the safety of our community with integrity, pride, and commitment. We will do this with diversity of thought and people while ensuring fiscal responsibility. 

Chief's Message

Fire Chief Sam-Portrait

It is my true honor to serve the over 165,000 residents of Salinas and over 115 fire department professionals whose dedication to our mission is clearly demonstrated tens of thousands of times each and every year.

As your Fire Chief, I pledge my commitment to this vibrant and diverse community in assuring respect, transparency, and accountability, while continuing to innovate, evolve, and grow with the needs of those we serve. We do this by holding true to our mission and core values in everything we do.

Not unlike many fire departments around the state and our country, the Salinas Fire Department faces significant societal and economic challenges that tax our response resources. I am especially proud of the men and women of the Salinas Fire Department who serve with grit and grace in the face of these challenges before them.

We will always measure our effectiveness and efficiency against nationally recognized and accepted standards and emergency services best practices to deliver the highest possible level of service and professional competency equally and inclusively for all residents, businesses, and visitors to our beautiful city.

It has been our honor and pleasure to serve you for the last 150 years!

-Fire Chief Sam Klemek

150th Year Anniversary

Group Picture

The Salinas Fire Department stands with immense pride as it commemorates a remarkable 150 years of dedicated service to the community. Since its inception, the department has been a symbol of courage, resilience, and unwavering commitment to safeguarding lives and property. Through the years, the firefighters of Salinas have faced countless challenges with determination, demonstrating their selflessness and valor in the face of emergencies. This significant milestone is a testament to the department's enduring legacy and its vital role in ensuring the safety and well-being of the Salinas community. As the department reflects on its 150-year journey, it does so with a profound sense of accomplishment and gratitude for the trust and support of the community it serves. Here's to the Salinas Fire Department—150 years of heroism, sacrifice, and community dedication!




The Fire Department Master Plan(PDF, 9MB)  serves as a strategic roadmap that equips the City of Salinas to proactively address the dynamic risks and challenges facing the community. By analyzing existing data, assessing community risk profiles, and anticipating growth patterns, the plan aims to ensure that the City's fire department evolves in tandem with the community it serves. In essence, this Master Plan is designed to prevent the fire department from falling behind as the community grows and changes, and to facilitate policy and budgeting decisions for elected officials.


Department Programs

SWAT Tactical Paramedics

SWAT Medic  Swat Training

The Salinas Fire Department created the Tactical Paramedic program in 2014. The paramedics in this program provide medical support to the Salinas Police Department SWAT team during high-risk operations. This is in addition to their regular duty of responding to 9-1-1 calls for medical services on a fire engine. Tactical Paramedics have received specialized training and equipment which allows them to operate in law enforcement “Hot Zones”. By doing this, the paramedics can provide life-saving measures in faster response times during violent, or potentially violent, incidents. Examples of these types of calls include active shooter incidents, hostage situations, standoffs with barricaded suspects, and high-risk warrant services. Due to the nature of these incidents, Tactical Paramedics must remain in peak physical condition and regularly participate in advanced training.  

Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Techs

Training 2

In order to be prepared for winter weather events that involve fast moving bodies of water, the Salinas Fire Department has a team of 8 personnel that are trained to the Swiftwater Rescue Technician level. These personnel assist in the training of the department on flood and river rescue at the awareness level and are ready to respond if there is an emergency within the city limits involving persons or vehicles trapped in bodies of water in Salinas. The members attend annual training that better prepares the department for emergencies of this nature. 

Drone Program 


The implementation of the drone program within the Salinas Fire Department has significantly enhanced our capabilities, particularly concerning fireworks-related incidents. Drones offer a bird's-eye view, allowing us to monitor firework displays and detect any instances of illegal activity swiftly and efficiently. This aerial perspective provides crucial insights into crowd dynamics, fire spread patterns, and potential hazards, enabling us to respond effectively to emergencies. Moreover, drones equipped with thermal imaging technology can detect heat signatures, aiding in the identification of hidden fires or hotspots amidst firework debris. By integrating drones into our operations, we've elevated our ability to ensure public safety during firework events, minimizing risks and enhancing overall situational awareness for our firefighters and the community.

2023 Fireworks Operations: During the recent firework patrol operation, SFD deployed a team of six skilled drone pilots equipped with a fleet of drones to monitor the 4th of July night. This strategic deployment allowed members to cover a wide area efficiently, ensuring comprehensive surveillance of firework activities. Through diligent monitoring, the team successfully identified multiple instances of illegal firework usage, resulting in the issuance of citations totaling an impressive $84,000.

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and Peer Support Team 

IMG_7619.jpg  CISM Team

Over the last 20+ years, the fire service has made progress in recognizing the effects that exposure to significant events can have on firefighters' mental health and well-being. In 2008, the Salinas Fire Department took steps to implement a CISM Program with several members of the organization at that time. Since then, the team has evolved into a Peer Support based model utilizing the CISM component. Team members are trained at a minimum to the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF) CISM course and the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Peer Support Class. There are currently 18 members on the team comprised of all ranks from Firefighters to Battalion Chiefs who any member of the department can reach out to at any given time. In addition to this, the department contracts with First Alarm Wellness to provide informational classes and therapy to all members of the department and partners with Human Resources to make sure that city sponsored EPA is always available. 

Crisis Response K9 Program 

In 2022, the department’s first Therapy K9, Cruz, was welcomed into the department! He is the first “badged” four-legged member of the Salinas Fire Department and works as a component of the CISM/Peer Support Team. Cruz has a primary handler and a back-up handler, and their job is to provide K9 therapeutically services for firefighters after traumatic events and/or on an everyday basis to relieve stress of the members of the organization. Check out his social media and give him a follow!  cruz_salinasfd_facilityk9. 

Taffy 1

Please help us in officially welcoming the newest member of the Salinas Fire Department, Taffy! Taffy comes to us from Next Steps Service Dogs. An organization that provides canines for Military Veterans and First Responders as service and facility dogs. The facility dogs are currently partnering with first responder agencies throughout the state of California as a resource for crisis intervention and therapeutic treatment.  We are excited to have Taffy be a part of our Critical Incident Stress Management/Peer Support Team. And thank Gina from @nextstepservicedogs for helping us with the process along the way!  Firefighter Devin Kile, Engineer Mike Mizer, Probationary Firefighter Kyle Pletzke, SFD K9 Cruz @cruz_salinasfd_facilityk9 have trained with Taffy in San Diego and here in Salinas. Together, they have been certified to the highest level possible. They are officially an (ADI) Assistance Dogs International team. If you would like to follow Taffy on her adventures, give her a follow @taffy_salinasfd_facilityk9 or if you see her in person—come say hi!

Fire Explorers Post #202

Explorer Program Picture.jpeg

In February 2023, the first Explorer meeting in 20+ years was held with 15 new Explorers! The Explorer program is designed to give teenagers and young adults, aged 14-20, an opportunity to explore a career in the fire service. Explorers attend one monthly meeting on Sunday afternoons and are allowed to do a select number of ride-a-longs per year. They learn the basics of the fire service that includes, but is not limited to, fire service history, hose lays, ladder throws, extinguishers, and more. Explorers also volunteer their time at department sponsored events to assist where needed. 

Tractor/Tiller Cadre

tiller truck.jpg

The Salinas Fire Department has two front-line tractor driven tiller ladder trucks: Ladder 1 and Ladder 2. L1 was put in service in 2014 and is located at Fire Station One. L2 first saw service in 2017 and is stationed at Fire Station Five. Other names for this apparatus are “truck companies” or “hook and ladder companies.” This is a specialized piece of equipment that requires countless hours driving in both the tractor position (front) and the tiller box (rear). This cadre consists of 8 individuals that are certified trainers and teach our firefighters from the time they are off probation how to operate this piece of equipment. All members of the fire department (except those firefighters that are in their 18-month probation periods) are trained to this level and standard. Techniques taught also include the positioning (spotting) of the apparatus for various emergencies, I.e., rescues, defensive fire operations, aerial ladder operations, etc.  

Recruitment Task Force

Recruitment Task Force   Recruitment Task Force 2

Formed in 2022, this group is responsible for the recruitment of firefighters and the education of our local school children. The group participates in multiple school events and career fairs per year at all levels from elementary to college. It is important to instill into children from a young age that becoming a firefighter can be a reality if they would like to pursue the profession. These members work diligently to reach out and educate our community on the importance of firefighting and fire prevention as well as education about how to become a firefighter. If you have any interest in pursuing a career in the fire service and have questions pertaining to this, then email with your questions and a member of the cadre will be happy to answer them. 

State Certified Instructors 

Truck Training  Truck training 2

Several members of the department are trained to the level of Instructor 1 through the State Fire Marshall's Office (OSFM). These members can host classes and train firefighters from around the state to the California State Fire Training curriculum. These topics include Hazardous Materials FRA and FRO, RIC and Firefighter Survival, Driver Operator 1A, Driver Operator 1B, ICS and more. 

Firefighter of the Year

YEAR: 2023 

Division Chief/Fire Marshal - Christopher Knapp 

Knapp 1

 Honoring our Firefighter of the Year!  

Division Chief/Fire Marshal Knapp is a graduate of the MPC Fire Academy Class 2006-2 and was recognized as the "Most Dedicated" by his peers. He came to the SFD in June of 2008 after spending time as a seasonal firefighter with CalFire at the Bear Valley Helitack base.

At SFD, he has built a substantial tenure as a key member of the hazmat team, serving as the lead instructor for forcible entry and ventilation. Additionally, he has held the role of SFD fire academy coordinator twice and is a state-certified fire instructor.

He maintains active involvement in the Training Work Group, Operations Work Group, and the work group dedicated to establishing the new SFD training facility. Throughout previous and recent administrative duties, he meticulously refined department-wide task books and spearheaded the development of the SFD Command Doctrine, playing a pivotal role in guiding all department members through this significant cultural evolution. 

We are honored to recognize your accomplishments, Chris Knapp. Well-deserved and wishing you continued success in your remarkable career!

#FireFighterOfTheYear #CommunityHero #SalinasFirefighters #Firefighters #JoinSFD #FireCareers

YEAR: 2022 

Fire Captain/Paramedic Steven Criste

Criste 1

The Firefighter of the Year award is given to someone who consistently goes above and beyond, exemplifies a strong work ethic, and inspires other firefighters. Collectively, Fire Captain/Paramedic Steven Criste, was voted and honored by his peers.

Captain Criste was hired in October 2011 and brought with him years of experience working as a firefighter and paramedic. He was promoted to the rank of fire captain in January 2018.

Currently, he serves as a program leader for several initiatives within our organization, including CISM peer support, tactical paramedic, EMS platoon training coordinator, and more! He is also deployable at the state level through Cal OES as a strike team leader, safety officer, and fire line medic.

In addition to all of this, Captain Criste continues to ride as captain and lead paramedic on our busiest engine company, Engine One, which serves the communities of South Salinas. He is a great role model for our members, both new and seasoned.

Please join the Salinas Fire Department in congratulating Captain Criste! Thank you for all your dedication and hard work! We are proud of you! #salinasfirefighters #salinasfiredepartment

Year: 2021 

Fire Captain/Paramedic Jesus Ramirez-Regalado 

Ramirez 2

Firefighter Ramirez grew up on the East Side in Salinas and graduated from Alisal High School in 2007. He proudly served in the Marine Corps as a Mortarman and worked up the ranks to become a Mortar Leader. He was honorably discharged as a Sergeant upon completion of his contract.

Upon his return to Salinas Firefighter Ramirez explored the prospect of joining the fire service. He was selected and hired by his hometown fire department, Salinas Fire Department in October of 2014. In seven short years Firefighter Ramirez has become a Paramedic through the AFG Grant program, HazMat Specialist and is a member of the HazMat Team, is the Team Leader in our Honor Guard, took the lead for our Hose Cadre and teaches many subjects in our recruit firefighter academies. He has recently become involved in the leadership of L1270 and works hard to maintain a good working relationship with L1270 members as well as our management staff.

Firefighter Ramirez is a humble individual and works hard to make Salinas Fire Department a better place for our members and future members while providing the highest standard of service to our community.

Firefighter Ramirez has a can do will do attitude and inspires others to do the same. He has a passion for the city he works and lives in. He is a proud representative of our city and department.

Please join us in congratulating Firefighter Ramirez on being named Salinas Fire Department Firefighter of the Year. His name will be forwarded to the Monterey County Fire Chief’s association for consideration on being named Monterey County Firefighter of the Year. Congratulations, well deserved!

YEAR: 2020

Fire Engineer Shannon Bryant


Congratulations to Fire Engineer Shannon Bryant for being selected as our 2020 Firefighter of the Year!

Engineer Bryant has been with the SFD for 18 years where his every day willingness to step up and fix what needs to be fixed regardless of what time of day it is, is always appreciated. Engineer Bryant does his job and more with a positive attitude day in and day out.

Outside of work, Engineer Bryant constantly seeks opportunity to help those in need- he has built homes in Mississippi and Fort Luis in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, rebuilt a home for a San Diego Fire Captain after it was lost in the Witch Creek Fire, and built school furniture for an orphanage after the devastating 7.0 earthquake in Haiti.

His skills, talents and community dedication is nothing short of outstanding. Aside from being our 2020 Firefighter of the Year, he also received Monterey County Firefighter of the Year! We are so proud to have him in our organization. He consistently brings positive energy and a helping hand. Thank you Shannon for all of your hard work! Congratulations!  




Phone Number: 831-758-7261 

Location: 65 W Alisal Street, Salinas, CA 93901 


instagram logo.PNG

facebook logo.PNG