Harold Schapelhouman is currently the Fire Chief of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, which proudly serves more than 90,000 residents in the communities of Atherton, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and sections of unincorporated San Mateo County. He has been with the Fire District since June of 1981 and has held the positions of Firefighter, Dispatcher, Engine Driver, Rescue Driver, Truck Driver, Station Captain, Truck Captain, Staff Captain, Acting Battalion Chief, and Division Chief.
Prior to being promoted to Deputy Chief he served as the Division Chief in charge of Special Operations specifically responsible for the State and Federal Urban Search and Rescue Program and the Fire District's local and State Water Rescue Programs. He is a veteran of various National incidents including the Oklahoma City Bombing, the World Trade Center Collapse, the recovery of the Columbia Space Shuttle Astronauts and Hurricane Katrina (New Orleans).
Chief Schapelhouman became passionate about the issue of connecting school fire alarms to a first responder, when, in 1997, he was on the front lines battling the fire at the Green Oaks Academy in East Palo Alto. This devastating fire enabled former Assemblyman Ted Lempert to pass legislation (“Green Oaks Family Academy Elementary School Fire Protection Act [SB 575]), after several attempts, in the California State Legislature, requiring automatic fire sprinkler systems and automatic fire alarm systems in public schools constructed after January 2008. Chief Schapelhouman lobbied for this legislation and assisted Assemblyman Lempert to enable passage of the bill in its final form. However, Chief Schapelhouman believes more work needs to be done, having experienced first-hand many devastating school fires within the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, such as the Beechwood School (September 2012) and Belle Haven Elementary School (August 2011) fires.