Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Fund the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Firehawk

SBC Firehawk


Responding to more than 15,000 incidents annually, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department identified a Firehawk helicopter as their greatest need in 2019. Fewer than two years later, Copter 964 can be seen flying throughout Santa Barbara County as crews train extensively on the advanced aircraft. The Copter is slated to be in service for the 2021 fire season but must first complete Firehawk retrofitting.

Once complete, the Firehawk will be capable of delivering 1,000 gallons of water per airdrop and carrying a crew of up to 15 people, increases of 70 and 75 percent, respectively, over its predecessor, the Huey.

Resources will be used for the following needs (in order of priority):

  • Fixed belly tank $2,485,000
  • Hoist Extension $50,000
  • Air Intake Filters $250,000
  • Additional Tank Hose (3 Count) $22,500
  • Additional Tank Snorkel $212,000

Installation of the fixed belly tank will be a game changer for fighting fires. Crews will target a one minute turnaround time with the Firehawk thanks to its fixed tank and retractable hose. This eliminates the need for a suspended water bucket so frequently seen on older Huey helicopters. Compared with a five to ten minute turnaround time, sixty seconds is a significant advantage when battling fires that can grow at nearly one acre every second as was the case with the Thomas Fire. The fixed tank provides more stability, increased speed, and the ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances.

The hoist extension will allow the crew to fully utilize the mechanical capabilities of the hoist, rather than relying on a manual process and increased wear on the hoist cable. The Firehawk will be able to accommodate up to 15 individuals for search and rescue, medical emergencies, and other life threatening missions.

Air Intake Filters are needed to better protect the aircraft’s engine from embers during low-flying firefighting missions which could otherwise result in million dollar engine replacements and service interruptions.

Tank hoses will need to be replaced occasionally due to wear from normal operation. Replacements will be kept in stock for the in-house maintenance team to replace as needed.

A retractable Tank Snorkel will be kept in stock due to its necessity and limited availability. Through normal operation, a snorkel may become unable to retract, reducing speed and response time.

Please join Direct Relief as we support the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and encourage private philanthropic resources to support this critical project to benefit the people of our community. Direct Relief is serving as the fiscal agent for this project.

Total amount raised to fund the Santa Barbara County Fire Department Firehawk: $125,119.21

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SBCFD Firehawk Fund
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