News Details

OCFA and OCSD Announce Joint Air Operations Plan

MISSION VIEJO, Ca. (August 15, 2018)  - The Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) and Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) released today an operating plan for Air Search and Rescue that outlines how air operations will be coordinated between the two public service agencies.


Air search and rescue responsibilities are, by California government code 26614 and the Cal-OES Model Operating Plan, the primary responsibility of the Sheriff with authority for the Sheriff to request assistance from any public safety organization for search and rescue activity.  For the past several months, leaders from OCFA and OCSD have worked cooperatively to develop the operating plan and have been successfully operating under the principles of the agreement. 


“Much of the credit for today’s agreement goes to the leadership of OCFA’s Fire Chief Brian Fennessy,” said Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens. “The goal of our collaboration is not to duplicate efforts, but to compliment capabilities, fill in gaps, and serve as a force multiplier during catastrophic events. Ultimately, cooperation between our agencies makes Orange County safer.”


“Today marks an important milestone in the relationship between the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County Fire Authority,” said OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy, “it sets a framework and a course forward for both of these elite agencies to work together to serve the people of Orange County and provide the very best public safety services to our communities.”


The vision of Chief Fennessy and Sheriff Hutchens is for the operating plan to focus on patient-centered care and service delivery, and that safety is never compromised. The goals and objectives outlined in the plan include short, medium and long-term plans with delineated responsibilities and increased communication between the two agencies.


The newly adopted operating plan enhances public safety for all Orange County residents and ensures that taxpayer resources are used in a manner that is both efficient and effective. Used as a guideline, the operating plan will allow both agencies to operate seamlessly with maximized collaboration.


The operating plan will be updated annually, or more frequently as needed, to provide operational guidelines to Air Support Operations, Incident Commanders and rescue personnel. A copy of the OCFA/OCSD Air Support Unit and Air Operations Operating Plan is available at and



( View PDF )