For her day job, Alexandra Solano manages the Used Oil Recycling Program for Anaheim Fire & Rescue.
But in a sign of her agency’s commitment to setting the standard for excellence and leadership in the fire service industry, Solano also wears another hat:
President of the Orange County Fire Prevention Officers Section.
OK, it’s not the catchiest name.
But the organization, which turns 50 this year, provides a critical role in the fire service industry: offering training and educational programs to all fire personnel in Orange and surrounding counties.
Solano, a 13-year veteran of Anaheim Fire & Rescue, is the 50th person sworn in to led the OCFPOS, which is part of the Orange County Fire Chiefs Association, whose current president is Randy Bruegman, chief of Anaheim Fire & Rescue.
The Orange County Fire Chiefs Association is comprised of 11 fire agencies that collectively have more than 2,000 fire and paramedic personnel at 138 fire stations throughout the county.
Solano’s volunteer term as president of the Orange County Fire Prevention Officers Section runs through 2016, and marks her fourth position with the organization, which began as treasurer, then secretary, then vice president.
After Solano’s current term ends, she will conclude her five-year commitment to OCFPS by serving as past-president in 2017.
The experience, she says, has been rewarding — both professionally and personally.
In addition to being able to stay on top of best practices for the fire services industry, Solano met her wedding planner through OCFPOS. That would be Past President Christy Thompson, who recruited Solano to the organization five years ago and, four years ago, served as Solano’s wedding planner when she tied the knot.
“The people I get to meet and the connections I have made with professionals from many different organizations have made this very enjoyable for me,” Solano says of her role as president — and past positions — at OCFPOS.
She checks her smart phone to look up some information.
Her phone case?
A replica of the novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray.”
You don’t see that every day.
“I’m a huge literature fan,” says Solano, who grew up in Whittier and still lives there (although in a different house).
“I’ve loved reading since I was a little girl.”
Solano is partial to Edgar Allen Poe and Jane Austin. And some guy named Shakespeare.
“I’m a big collector of old books,” Solano says. “My Shakespeare collection is from 1759.”
Professionally, Solano is helping to write the book, so to speak, on Anaheim Fire & Rescue’s commitment to excellence and giving back to the fire service industry.
Every month, the Orange County Fire Prevention Officers Section meets to discuss fire prevention-related issues in cities in and around O.C., as well as issues of concern. For example, at a recent meeting someone brought up the problem of scam artists posing as fire inspectors who are trying to fleece money from businesses.
After a general discussion, the meeting segues into some type of training — say, the latest in hazardous materials, or changes in fire codes.
The organization’s biggest training event of the year is right around the corner: aerial and pyrotechnic training at the Honda Center on June 22. Last year’s event at the City National Grove drew more than 100 inspectors from different agencies — even one from Avalon, on Santa Catalina Island.
This year’s pyrotechnics training is likely to draw even more people at the much-larger Honda Center, says Solano, who earned her associate’s degree in environmental technology from Rio Hondo College in Whittier and now is working on her bachelor’s degree in environmental management.
Prior to joining AF&R in 2003, Solano worked for nearly two years in the Environmental Health Division of the Orange County Health Care Agency.
As the largest municipal fire department in Orange County, Anaheim Fire & Rescue takes seriously its commitment to excellence, says Solano, the second AF&R employee in recent years to serve on the board of the Orange County Fire Prevention Officers Section.
Adam Graef, a fire inspector, served as past president last year.
Solano picks up her badge holder from the table in the conference room.
It’s no ordinary badge holder.
It’s a Hello Kitty-decorated one.
OK, maybe not classic literature, but still a lot of fun.