GMSP: SPFD Van Sciver honored as Public Safety Officer of the Quarter

June 27, 2012
Santa Paula News

A firefighter known as the department’s own “Radar” was honored as by the Santa Paula Chamber of Commerce as the Public Safety Officer of the Month at the June Good Morning Santa Paula.

The Chamber-sponsored breakfast meeting was held at historic Glen Tavern Inn and catered by the hotel’s in-house restaurant Enzo’s.

Santa Paula Fire Chief Rick Araiza said most people know honoree Andy Van Sciver, and “It’s probably easier to tell you what he hasn’t done than what he does!” Although a Reserve for five years, Araiza said Van Sciver is considered “more as a full-time firefighter, he’s at the station so often and taken on equipment, grants, radios, outside grant writing and serves on the Moonlight at the Ranch Committee and on the Santa Paula Fire Fighters Association’s (SPFFA) barbecue team. He’s also the coordinator of extra activities... he and his wife Marleen [Canniff] are an intrical part of the department.”

So valued are Van Sciver’s talents and efforts, Araiza noted, although with the department “a short time” he has also been named the SPFD Firefighter of the Year. In fact, Araiza said Van Sciver could be named the Public Safety Officer of the Quarter “probably every quarter!” 

Van Sciver “took over the radios; we were in need of an emergency operations center for the city - he has the expertise of mobile command communications and Andy and Chris Thompson (the city’s IT expert) put together the entire unit,” which was moved from City Hall to Hospital Hall for a recent drill. “Andy was right there, putting in the radios, making sure everything was working... he’s a real asset to the city” and, noted Araiza, local charitable needs that benefit from Van Sciver-organized SPFFA fundraisers such as the annual golf tournament.

For state department evaluations that determine fire insurance premiums, “Andy was here when they rated the department. They want all our training records, he knows all our equipment, they inspect our water systems... he was the lead on communications.”

Araiza said he could not yet say what the grade the fire department received, but “All your insurances in the entire city should go down. We scored much higher because of Andy.”

Van Sciver is also known as “Radar” due to his uncanny ability to score needed items that mirrors the famed “M*A*S*H” character. “We needed ladders; he got them. We needed a fire engine and Andy got us an engine. We needed hose,” vital but expensive fire fighting equipment that Araiza said is only purchased incrementally. Van Sciver, he noted, saw a dumpster of used hose from the 1970s, “and said ‘give it to me...’ and found a person that could fix it and got it fixed.”

Van Sciver and Canniff have even been working on a grant that could add more personnel to the fire department, an announcement Araiza said he hopes to make soon. “Andy is just a tremendous asset to the community... I just can’t say enough about Andy and where the department would be without him.”

Said Ben Schuck, the Good Morning Santa Paula moderator, “It’s absolutely amazing how much you know and do.... If you want to get something done, call Andy!”

“I can only do this because of Marleen and the fire department,” as, Van Sciver noted, “I’m just the conduit for getting things done.”

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