PASADENA—Leaders of the Pasadena Armenian National Committee held a productive meeting regarding public safety issues with Pasadena Fire Chief Dennis Down on July 26. The meeting, held at the Pasadena Fire Department’s headquarters, included the participation of Deputy Fire Chief Calvin E. Wells and Battalion Chief Kevin Costa. Participating on behalf of the Pasadena ANC were Donnig Donabedian, Vatche Derderian, Chairman of the Homenetmen Pasadena “Azadamard” Chapter Berj Bedoyan and Hrair Derderian.
“Our meeting with Chief Downs was a very good one,” commented Pasadena ANC activist Vatche Derderian after the meeting. “We covered a lot of ground and focused squarely on how the Pasadena ANC can work with the Pasadena Fire Department to improve the safety and welfare of our community. For example, we discussed how we could effectively reach youngsters in our community to educate them on fire safety issues. Clearly, there is a lot of good work we can do with the Pasadena Fire Department” Derderian added.
Chief Downs discussed a number of ways in which the Armenian American community and his department can work together to address public safety issues facing city residents. For example, he suggested that the Pasadena ANC might consider hosting a safety seminar for community members, with a special focus on the need for homes to be equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. He also shared that his department has a Pasadena Explorers Program, which gives individuals between the ages of 14 to 21 the opportunity to learn more about a career as a firefighter. The chief embraced the prospect of members of the Armenian American community applying for this progressive educational program, which is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America.
The Pasadena ANC looks forward to working with the local Armenian American community and the Pasadena Fire Department to improve public safety for young and old alike in our community. For more information on the good work on the Fire Department, individuals are encouraged to visit their website at: http://cityofpasadena.net/Fire/
At present, the Pasadena Fire Department (PFD) consists of 177 full time employees, 147 shift personnel, 30 Bureau / Administrative personnel.
Chief Downs came to Pasadena on April 5, 2004, becoming the City’s 13th Fire Chief. He began his public safety career with the Fresno Police Department in 1974, starting off as a Police Cadet and was later promoted to Police Officer. In 1979, Chief Downs was hired by the Fresno Fire Department as a Firefighter. He worked his way through the ranks, ultimately being appointed as Fresno’s Interim Fire Chief in 1994. That same year, Chief Downs was selected to be Ventura City’s Fire Chief, where he remained until coming to Pasadena in 2004.
In Pasadena, Chief Downs manages a $40.3 million dollar budget, provides leadership to over 170 employees, and oversees eight fire stations, as well as Fire Department Headquarters. Key projects include: development and administration of the Fire Department’s 2005 – 2010 Strategic Plan, enhancing disaster preparedness for Pasadena community members, enhancing emergency medical services, and relocating the headquarters office from leased space to a location that is more “customer friendly.” Chief Downs holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Business and Management from Azusa Pacific University, and an Associate in Science Degree in Fire Science from Fresno City College.
The Pasadena ANC advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the area’s Armenian American community and promotes increased Armenian American civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.