Home Fire Drill Day October 15
Call Station #1 343-4230 for Free Smoke Detection
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The Department currently consists of 53 full time employees, up to 6 part time employees, and as many as 14 volunteer firefighters. Full time employees are divided into Fire and Code Enforcement personnel, as well as staff versus line positions.
Staff personnel of the Emporia Fire Department include the Fire Chief, Assistant Chief, Fire Marshal, Fire Administrative Assistant, Chief of Code Services, Code Services Administrative Assistant.
The Fire Chief works closely with the City Manager to provide the resources necessary for the other staff officers and line personnel to function. It is this position which provides overall direction and supervision of the department. The Chief also plays a key role in keeping the public informed as to the functions of the department, and its role within the community. This is accomplished by visits to various civic groups, personal contacts, and working with other organizations throughout the community. He also serves on community boards and groups to further enhance the community and the department’s relationship with the City.
The Assistant Chief has the primary function of the emergency medical services of the department. He is responsible for keeping abreast of EMS matters and ensuring our compliance with ever changing State laws and regulations relating to this service. While the Chief attends many state wide meetings regarding fire suppression, the Assistant Chief attends similar meetings regarding EMS matters.
The Fire Marshal is the primary fire code enforcement officer within the department. He works closely with contractors and business owners to provide a fire safe environment for people to shop and conduct business. He is also responsible for providing educational programs for the school children in the community. Several line personnel are trained to assist with the routine code compliance inspections, with follow up and unusual situations being referred up to the Fire Marshal. The Fire Marshal works closely with the Chief on questions requiring interpretations of the Uniform Fire Code, and with the Building Inspection Department on Cereal Malt Beverage License inspections.
Finally, the Fire Marshal is lead investigator for all fires which we respond to in the City of Emporia, and receives help in this field from two shift investigators who receive extensive training in areas of all fire cause and determination.
Admin. Asst. Fire / Housing Enforcement Specialist
The Administrative Assistant for the fire department works a 40 hour work week and serves as the receptionist-telephone console operator throughout that week. This position is the first contact members of the public generally have with staff and administrative functions of the department. Currently the person in this position also serves as a Housing Enforcement Specialist for the City of Emporia. This position fields questions and gives information out to renters and homeowners pertaining to proper housing requirements.
The remaining full time personnel are line firefighters of various ranks along with Code Enforcement Officers in the Building Codes Division. Line firefighters work a rotating shift schedule with each shift lasting twenty-four hours, also known as the "California" schedule. There are three shifts within the fire department, and designated as "A", "B", and "C" Shift. Shift change occurs at 0800 hours each day. Shortly after shift change, vehicles and their related equipment will be checked for readiness for the next run of the day. It will be thoroughly checked after each run in readiness for the next assignment.
Code Enforcement Officers are responsible for overseeing the compliance with building codes set forth by the City. They perform a forty hour work week, and work under the guidance of the Chief of Code Services.
Each shift is directed by a Battalion Chief. The person serving in this position is in charge of scheduling personnel for that shift, along with liaison duties between line personnel and staff members. He / she works the same shift as the other line firefighters, and attends all training exercises, shift meetings, as well as sitting in on disciplinary matters. As a shift personnel, each "BC" fits at the top line of the chain of command. He / she oversees two captains, one serving at each of our two stations.
The Battalion Chief becomes the incident commander at all large emergency scenes such as fires, vehicle accidents, hazardous materials spills, etc. They respond in a vehicle set up just for command, and this vehicle becomes their office at all major emergencies. Skills to perform this work must come in the from a variety of areas including on the job training, the ability to maintain a calm demeanor while making difficult decisions in stressful situations, and expertise in strategies from many different fields of emergency work.
There are two Captains per shift for a total of six. These officers are the first line supervisors of the working troops. They are expected to be working supervisors and participate in the daily activities of the firefighters. At the same time they are expected to lead by example both in their respective fire stations as well as at emergency scenes. They will exercise command at single and dual company responses, and will fill in for the Battalion Chief in their absence.
Each Captain is considered a veteran with years of gaining experience on the job and in a variety of classrooms, whether in house or while attending specialized schools or seminars. Their primary function on an emergency scene is that of tactics. Working from an initial set of Standard Operating Guidelines, they direct operations and become the eyes and ears for the Incident Commander on large scale scenes.
These personnel schedule truck assignments and work assignments within their station. They answer to the Battalion Chief in the chain of command. Each Captain has record keeping responsibilities related to their day to day activities.
Currently there are twelve (12) Firefighters assigned to each shift. With the two Captains and the Battalion Chief, that gives a total shift complement of fifteen (15) members. The firefighters man the four ambulances which are split between two stations, as well as being assigned to fire apparatus. During a regular shift, a firefighter might be assigned to an ambulance, a City fire apparatus, and a county fire apparatus. Firefighters specialize in various areas of training, and are assigned to apparatus based on this specialization. All newly hired firefighters are put through an 8 -10 week academy, and then spend a year in initial training. During this period, they learn how the department works, and study basic skills of fire / EMS under close supervision. A small percentage of our firefighters (those hired prior to 1993) attained specialty training in one of three areas, Rescue, Apparatus Operator (Engineer), or Inspector. Once they finished this specialty, they were allowed to "crossover" into a second specialty.
After 1993, new hires began training in all three areas, a process which generally takes 6 1/2 years to complete. EMS runs are the bulk our department's emergency business. Therefore, all line personnel are either EMT-B, EMT-D, EMT-I, or EMT-P (paramedic) certified. Each must attain Firefighter I and II status, as well as Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations level certification.
Many firefighters attain certifications in other areas of emergency response. These may include but are not limited to; Hazardous Materials Technician, Water Rescue Technician, Technical Rescue specialist, etc.Three members of each shift have studied for and attained the position of Acting Officer. This position serves as a training period for those members who desire to move into the rank of Captain or higher. Acting Officers get the chance to observe officer functions and fill in for the Captain in his absence, while gaining experience in small increments.
Two members of each shift are trained in and have been chosen to serve as fire investigators. One member serves as lead investigator while the second person is generally learning the position. In addition to the expected firefighting and ambulance duties performed by these personnel, they are very involved in maintaining their equipment, apparatus, and their stations. This includes minor maintenance as well as keeping the equipment clean and ready to respond. Major apparatus maintenance is performed by mechanics at our Public Works or by private mechanics.
Part Time Firefighters
These employees must complete an initial 8 - 10 week academy just as full time employees would receive. They all must be fully certified Emergency Medical Technicians at a minimum prior to starting work. Once the academy is completed, Part Time Firefighters are used to fill in when a shift is not able to maintain minimum staffing. This may occur for a whole shift or as emergency calls deplete our manpower levels. Part time employees are expected to perform the same functions as a full time employee with similar years of experience. At this point, a part time employee is closely supervised, and spends quite a bit of their time performing ambulance duties.
In addition to fill in time, each part time employee is scheduled a minimum of three eight hour days a month for training. The department is currently authorized up to 6 part time employees. This is a successful program for our department, and many part timers are soon promoted to full time status as a position becomes available.
Volunteer Firefighters are the final personnel classification on the fire side of the department. Technically, these personnel are assigned to respond to grass fires in Lyon County Fire District #4. Even though they receive no compensation, they are employees in the sense that they are covered by the city's Workers Compensation plan as well as Emporia Firefighter's Relief Association. Volunteer Firefighters are trained to various levels, and those with Firefighter I status are allowed to respond to structure fires and may enter the structure as long as they do so with a paid personnel. The main purpose our volunteers serve is as wild land firefighters, and they receive extensive training in this area. They carry pagers and are toned out in this manner through Police Department dispatchers. After a training period, volunteers are allowed to drive staff vehicles as needed as well as a tanker and our squad truck.
In addition to firefighting capabilities, the volunteers are dispatched to help at major incidents in refilling air cylinders and with rehabilitation of exhausted members on scene. We are currently allowed up 14 volunteers on our department. Many members are also Emergency Medical Technicians and they are allowed to respond as a third attendant. Each volunteer must perform "ride time" at the stations for at least twelve hours each month, as well as attend regularly scheduled volunteer meetings.
Chief of Code Services
Under the supervision of the Fire Chief, the Chief of Code Services implements the construction codes, oversees the issuance of licensing of contractors, the issuance of permits associated with the construction industry and the inspections in conjunction with such work. He is responsible for the enforcement and compliance with the various construction codes of which the city adopts. The Chief of Code Services also coordinates and conducts the building construction plan review process and works closely with architectural and engineering firms. He also interprets the codes and regulations and answers inquiries regarding code enforcement.
Building Inspector II
The Building Inspector II is the senior position between the two inspection classifications. He assists with the review of construction plans and building applications for multi-family dwellings, commercial and industrial projects. He also reviews, approves and issues building permits. This individual also assists and provides information to architects and engineers with the plan review process. The inspector conducts building, mechanical, plumbing and electrical inspections of work during and after installation to determine conformity with the adopted codes. He also assists with providing information to homeowner, contractors and to the general public pertaining to code related issues.
Building Inspector I
This inspector works closely with contractors and home owners doing their own work. He assists and provides construction information to contractors and homeowners. He conducts plan review, primarily, of one and two family dwelling units. This inspector also reviews and issues building permits for residential remodeling, additions and miscellaneous work, such as roofing, siding and window replacement, to mention a few. He is also responsible to perform inspections relating to the building, plumbing, electrical and mechanical work being done, along with other associated inspections in conjunction with the construction industry.
The Code Services Admin. Asst. will most likely be the first public contact with the department. She serves as the office receptionist and answers the majority of phone calls. She coordinates customers questions and inquiries to the appropriate inspector or department personnel. The secretary schedules the various inspections, takes plumbing, electrical, mechanical and other miscellaneous permit information from the licensed contractors. The secretary is responsible for the processing of certification, license and bond renewals for contractors, as well as processing and maintaining the permit and inspection information that is required for the department.