During the week, Ron Redden is the environmental health and safety
specialist for WesternU, responsible for all Cal OSHA compliance
regarding employee safety and student safety as well as hazardous
chemical, storage and disposal.
But more recently, his life has become a bit more adventurous than
usual. Redden, a volunteer for the Riverside County Fire Department, was
called on to help battle the fires in San Bernardino County last month.
Redden, a retired firefighter for the city of Glendale, was part of
a strike team sent to Waterman Canyon, an area hit hard by the so-called
Old Fire. Redden is an engineer — he drives the fire engine and runs the
pumps on the truck.
“”I had no idea the extent of it until we got out there and got
thrown into the middle of it,”” Redden said this week in describing the
fire’s destruction. “”It’s like a war zone — the noise level, the
Redden spent two weekends as a member of the firefighting team.
“”For an adrenaline junkie, it’s neat. But at the same time, it’s
nerve racking,”” he said.
His previous firefighting experience included the devastating Malibu
fires 10 years ago.
“”You knew it was going to end? once it reached the Pacific Ocean,
Redden said. “”But this fire has got plenty of property.””
Redden admits that despite his previous firefighting experience, he
gets scared. Yet, the knowledge of being an active part in fighting the
blazes outweighs the fear and apprehension.
“”I think what gets into your system is knowing that you’re doing
something that makes a difference,”” he said. “”I’m sorry this is going on
but I’m glad I was there to do something. It would be really frustrating
to watch this going on and not be able to help. Fortunately, I can do
something and that’s a good feeling.””