Active Calls:

Ask Robby Q&A

Robby Web Banner

Ever wonder about VCFD's fire, emergency, medical or rescue services? Have a burning question about fire safety and daily operations? In the questions below, Firefighter Robby answers our community's questions. "Robby to the Rescue!" is designed to engage and educate the community on a variety of fire safety topics with the help of its VCFD fire family members

News Release: Robby to Rescue

Oprima aquí para la versión en español.

Do you have a question for VCFD? Hit the ‘Ask Robby’ button to submit your question for a future "Robby to the Rescue" episode! 

Follow VCFD on social media and join the conversation by using the hashtag #AskRobby to learn about Robby's adventures.

 Ask Robby Button


Gasoline container storage:
Can we store a 2-gallon container of gasoline outside our house, under a tree that keeps it always in shade? Or does it have to be in either the garage or a shed?

-Jodi, Westlake Village
Answer: Storing gasoline and other highly flammable liquids at home is dangerous if not done properly. The best way to store gasoline is in a well-ventilated area separate from the house. The location should have no electrical equipment, open flames, or other sources of ignition present. In addition, the location should be protected from the heat of the summer sun to keep evaporation to a minimum.

Do not store gasoline in the basement of your home or in a utility room. The furnace, water heater, clothes dryer, or any of several other items could ignite fumes that may leak from the can and travel considerable distances. If you do not have a suitable storage area, consider building a cabinet outside your house for storage or purchasing a commercially available flammable liquid storage cabinet, available from safety equipment suppliers. In addition, never put gasoline or any other nonfood material in a container that resembles a food container. Keep gasoline and other dangerous materials locked up. These practices will prevent children from getting to the material and being accidentally poisoned.


PulsePoint Unit Abbreviations:
What do all the abbreviations on Pulse Point dispatching for Ventura County stand for?

-Bill, Simi Valley

Here is a full list of the PulsePoint abbreviations and their definitions. For additional information on PulsePoint visit our website at


Fire extinguishers:
I have 3 fire extinguishers (thankfully, never had to use them) that are dated 1985. I assume they are well past expiration. How do I dispose of them?

-June, Ojai

Thank you for that question.  To see if they are still good, take a look at the fire extinguisher needle. If it is in the green area then they’re still good. If not, to properly dispose of your fire extinguishers, go to one of your local hazardous materials collection sites. Please do not throw it away in your trash can!

Be sure to check out my video: Robby to the Rescue! Fire Extinguishers and for more information visit


Fire hazard?:
My neighbor's trees cover the entire house and you cannot see the house. Is this a fire hazard, and what can we do anonymously?

-Gloria, Thousand Oaks

Thank you for that question.  This is always a tough one for us to answer because there is not much the fire department can do.  If the house is within 500 feet of open space then we can encourage the property owner to trim the tree; 10 feet away from the chimney, 10 feet off the ground, and rake all associated leaves.  However, if they are outside of that area we do not have jurisdiction to ask the property owner to trim that tree.  You would need to contact the local law enforcement authorities, but even they will not have too much power in making changes. 

For the tree to be a fire hazard depends on many factors, here are just a few:

  • Type of tree
  • Has the tree been properly watered or is it dead and drying out
  • Potential fire threat around the tree

Here is a document that may help in understanding fire hazard vegetation:


Brush clearing:
When is brush required to be cleared by, within 100 feet of structures?

-Cindy, Newbury Park

Recently, VCFD sent homeowners and property managers Fire Hazard Reduction Program (FHRP) notices. This notice reminds Ventura County residents to clear 100 feet of brush away from their properties by June 1, 2020, advising people to remove dry brush near open land where wildfires may occur.  

You can view the informational press release here:

Ventura County Fire requires homeowners and property managers to clear brush away from nearby buildings and maintain 100 feet of defensible space. Dead trees, poorly maintained properties and dry brush greatly increases the risk of fast-spreading, dangerous wildfires. To find out if a parcel has been approved, visit

For more information about how to better prepare your home and property before a wildfire occurs, download a Ready, Set, Go! Brochure, in English or Spanish.  

For additional information on the Fire Hazard Reduction Program, call (805) 389-9759 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..    


Strong odor from the oven:
My question is, when I turn on my oven, there is a strong odor. It doesn’t go away right away. Does the fire dept come to check that out or does the gas co? And what could be the problem?

-Heather, Oxnard

If you suspect a gas leak, evacuate the area and call either 911 or the gas company at 1-800-427-2200.

In order to keep your natural gas appliances operating safely and efficiently, it's important to perform regular maintenance and repairs. While maintaining your natural gas appliances is ultimately your responsibility. You can contact SoCalGas or a qualified appliance repair person to inspect your natural gas appliances.


Home fire locations?
Where is a fire most likely to break out in your home?

-Andy, Camarillo

According to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), fires start for a variety of reasons. The top causes of fires are cooking, heating, electrical, smoking and candles. Follow this link for additional information.


Carbon Monoxide alarms
Carbon monoxide monitor continues to go off- Who do we contact?

-Ralph, Ventura

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.

If the CO alarm sounds, immediately move to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door. Make sure everyone inside the home is accounted for. Call for help (911) from a fresh air location and stay there until emergency personnel declares that it is safe to re-enter the home.

If your CO alarm is intermittently beeping you can read on the back of the unit what the beeps mean. Many times it is an indication that you simply need to replace your CO alarm, as they are only good for so many years. For example:

1 beep every minute: This means that the alarm has low batteries and you should replace them.

5 beeps every minute: This means your alarm has reached the end of its life and needs to be replaced with a new carbon monoxide alarm.



Smoke Alarms in the home
Why do you put a smoke alarm in every bedroom? I want to know because when the smoke alarm went off at our house in my mom's and dad’s bedroom (because a bug was in it), you could hear it through the whole house.

-Scout, Ojai

That is a great question.  The reason there are smoke alarms in every room is so everyone gets alerted early about smoke anywhere inside the home.  Check our web page about smoke alarms and watch me and Captain Stan talk more about home fire safety


Stored gas cans during a fire
I live at top of hill in the Hobson heights area hit hard by the Thomas Fire. My question is, should another fire come into the area where we are asked to evacuate, where should I put any stored gas before I leave. Should I leave in the garage or shed or move these cans to the street away from the home?

-Crystal, Ventura

Never store gasoline in your house. Gasoline is dangerous. Keep your fuel stored in a shed, free-standing garage, or another secure well-ventilated outbuilding away from the house.  Never smoke or have any open flame in your fuel storage structure and keep a fire extinguisher for flammable liquids on hand.