UC Davis Fire Department

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© UC Davis
Fire Department
One Shields Ave.
Davis, CA 95616
UCDMC (916)734-3036

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The UC Davis Fire Department ensures the University's primary mission of research, teaching, and public service is maintained by safeguarding lives, property, and the environment against the injurious effects of accidents or uncontrolled panic, fire, hazardous materials releases, and natural disasters. Through a program of testing and inspecting built-in protections systems, and by maintaining strong and comprehensive fire prevention, code enforcement, and public education programs, the department seeks to prevent such uncontrolled hazards from occurring.


The need to provide fire protection for the Davis Campus was first recognized by the Dean of the College of Agriculture in 1917. Several hand-drawn hose carts were purchased and strategically located throughout the small campus, which was then clustered around the Quad. Groups of students and professors were assigned to each cart and when a fire broke out, a steam whistle on the Creamery Building (located where Olson Hall now stands) was blown to summon the brigade. By 1939, a fire station and three pieces of motorized fire apparatus served the fire fighting needs of the campus with students, staff, and faculty making up the total volunteer department.

The Department established its current resident firefighter program in 1949, and by the mid 50's, began hiring career firefighters. In 1959, Charles Prather was hired as the department's first career Fire Chief, replacing volunteer Chief Leonard McKinnon. By 1974, the potential complexity of emergency problems posed by the developing research campus had reached a magnitude requiring a level of training and 24-hour per day commitment beyond that attainable with volunteer firefighters and this portion of the staff was disbanded.

Today, the Department has state-of-the-art equipment, rigorous training and fire prevention programs, and highly qualified staff capable of mitigating emergencies far beyond the imagination of the volunteers of 1917. The University has come a long way since then, and so has the UC Davis Fire Department.


Emphasis in emergency mitigation is placed on achieving control before the incident becomes large by shortening discovery and reporting times, preferably through automatic means, and by attacking the emergency situation quickly and aggressively with professionally trained and equipped teams.

The Department also enjoys the benefits of an excellent working relationship with the City of Davis Fire Department as well as other Yolo and Solano County Fire Departments through formal automatic aid agreements. This agreement automatically provides the campus with needed emergency response resources should we experience a major emergency. In exchange for this assistance, the University Fire Department routinely responds off-campus to aid our neighbors with emergencies involving fire, rescue, medical aid, or hazardous materials.

In addition to emergency mitigation and fire prevention activities, the Department also features a unique Student Resident Firefighter program that strives to teach firefighting skills to a select group of UC Davis students while accentuating the Department's emergency response capabilities.

For more information feel free to contact the UC Davis Fire Department during normal working hours at (530)752-1236.