Why are so many fire apparatus sent to non-fire emergencies?
Ebbetts Pass Fire District is an all-risk response capable department. EPFD can respond to emergency medical calls, structure fires, vehicle and wildland fires, vehicle accidents, hazardous materials response, technical rescues (i.e. water, rope, confined space, trench collapse, cave-in, etc.), and other requests for service (carbon monoxide checks, unknown odors, malfunctioning equipment, etc). As a result, EPFD needs to remain ready to respond with the needed equipment at any time to any of these types of calls. In order to accomplish this state of readiness, EPFD keeps crews intact on the fire and EMS apparatus.
There are several reasons why a fire engine responds with a medic unit.
- All of the EPFD Firefighters, both paid staff and volunteer personnel, are trained in emergency medical services (EMS). Fire engines can carry advanced medical equipment allowing EPFD to staff fire engines with paramedics which is an advanced level of emergency care.
- Dispatchers will try to send the closest fire apparatus to an incident. If one medic unit is tied up on another call, it may take a little longer for a farther away medic unit to arrive at the incident site, so sending a fire engine with trained paramedics enables a quicker response for patient care.
- Not all EMS calls receive multiple vehicles for the response; however, there are a number of Advanced Life Support EMS calls (i.e. trauma, cardiac, obstetrics, etc.) that receive multiple vehicles for extra personnel to help. The extra personnel are there to support the medic crew as well as the family during their time of crisis.
- Many studies and articles have been done that support the sending of a fire apparatus with a medic unit. EPFD is not alone in providing this type of response. There are static costs involved, so citizens are paying for the fire engine crews whether or not they are being utilized on emergency scenes, so by having those crews respond puts the personnel on the street, maintains driving skills, maintains medic skills and provides that additional assistance to the medic crews.
Why are the fire apparatus at the store every day?
EPFD Firefighters are on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Their day starts at 8:00 a.m. and does not end until 8:00 a.m. the following day. Each firefighter contributes money for the daily meals and one firefighter is designated to cook. Due to minimum staffing levels, this often times requires the whole crew to take a fire engine to the store. No tax dollars are spent for daily meals.
Why do the emergency vehicles driving down the road with lights/sirens on, sometimes just shut their lights off ?
Sometimes while emergency vehicles are responding to a call, they are “canceled enroute”. This means the situation to which EPFD is responding has been mitigated and EPFD is no longer needed. Usually one of the responding vehicles will continue to the scene of the incident at normal speed to make a report. In the case of EPFD vehicles responding to a mutual aid run in another District, we will simply end our response and return to our station.
Why do I have to dial 9-1-1 ? If I call the fire station direct, would it save time ?
The firefighters might not be at the station when you call. Even if they are, the firefighters will still have to activate the 9-1-1 system so that other emergency responders are notified. On the other hand, the 9-1-1 emergency system is designed to save valuable seconds. Only call the fire station with non-emergency business.
When there is only a small fire, why do so many fire engines respond ?
A “Standard Response Plan” policy is utilized on all responses. This system is a pre-designated formula that determines the amount and type of equipment sent to the incident. For example, a residential structure fire includes a minimum of three engine companies, one squad or medic, and one Battalion Chief. If these units are not needed, they are released by the Incident Commander.
What do firefighters do when they are not on calls fighting fires ?
EPFD’s Firefighters work a 48/96 duty schedule. There are 3 shifts – A, B & C. The fire personnel work 48-hour shifts and are on duty at the paid staffing stations (Station #1 & #3) seven days a week, 365 days a year, and work an average of 56 hours per week. Training and equipment maintenance takes up a good deal of firefighters’ time when they are not on a call. Firefighters constantly train so they are ready to handle any type of emergency. Firefighters also conduct fire safety inspections in businesses and wildfire safety inspections on improved property. Firefighters must also maintain and clean their stations and equipment.
How many fire stations are in the Ebbetts Pass Fire District ?
There are four stations in EPFD, located strategically for quick response.
- Station 1 – 1037 Blagen Road, Arnold – Battalion #1; Headquarters, Paid & Volunteer staffing.
- Station 2 – 5510 Meko Drive, Big Trees Village, Camp Connell/Dorrington – Battalion #2; Volunteer Staffing.
- Station 3 – 40 Canyon View Drive, Hathaway Pines/Avery, Forest Meadows – Battalion #3; Paid & Volunteer staffing.
- Station 4 – 2038 Moran Road, Pinebrook/Arnold – Battalion #4; Volunteer staffing.
How many personnel work for the Ebbetts Pass Fire District ?
- 1 Fire Chief
- 3 Battalion Chiefs – 1 per shift
- 3 Captains – 1 per shift
- 6 Engineers/Apparatus Operators – 2 per shift
- 9 Firefighters /FF-Paramedics – 3 per shift
- 1 or 2 Firefighter-Interns per shift
- 1 Administrative Assistant (Fire Chief’s Office)
- 1 Part-time Fire Prevention Officer
- (Paramedics are among all ranks)
Why do Firefighters cut holes in the roof and break windows of a building on fire ?
This is called “ventilation.” It is the process performed to relieve a structure of superheated gases and smoke. This allows the Firefighters to search the building for anyone trapped and locate the seat of the fire.