The Carpinteria-Summerland Fire Protection District just got a new fire marshal, and he has been fighting fires for about thirty years.
Robert Rappaport was sworn in and received his fire marshal badge on Oct. 24, but this is not his first time receiving such a badge. During the 10 years he was with the Redondo Beach Fire Department, he was fire marshal for almost seven years before becoming division chief, which was his most recent position. His career fighting fires, however, extend beyond the past decade.
“I’ve been in the fire service for quite a while and worked in various positions,” said Mr. Rappaport, who told the News-Press that he started as a fire-fighter and worked his way up as an engineer, arson investigator, fire captain and then division chief. This trajectory began 26 years ago.
The duties of a fire marshall typically include fire code enforcement and investigating the origin and cause of fires.
“We do many things to help support the community to make the Carp-Summerland area as safe as possible. Things don’t just happen in other places. They happen close to home,” said Mr. Rappaport, referring to the natural disasters that the area has seen recently.
The department also seems to do what it can to help out even when disasters are not local.
“We have one of our engines and battalion team up North helping out,” Mr. Rappaport told the News-Press.
To prevent fires as much as possible, Mr. Rappaport and his team keep an eye on vegetation which could catch fire.
“Throughout the year, all the vegetation grows…we encourage our residents, especially during the springtime, to trim things back and clean pine needles out of the roof,” said Mr. Rappaport, who added that there are some high risk areas near the wildland-urban interface.
According to Mr. Rappaport, he and his team will take a more hands-on approach around June to conduct inspections and assist residents with the vegetation. Grant money will also be used to hire private contractors to remove some of the dead wood and low overhanging tree limbs.
In addition to Redondo Beach, Mr. Rappaport has worked in Riverside and Alhambra, where his firefighting career began. A San Fernando Valley native from Woodland Hills, Mr. Rappaport has two children, one of whom is a firefighter paramedic.