What number do I call for non-emergency situations?
Do firefighters have to do any extra training?
As the world changes, firefighters have to change and train along with it. The members of the City of Sterling Fire Department (SFD) continually train to remain current with medical standards, fire suppression tactics, and even new vehicle technologies (we respond to numerous car accidents). Additionally, many firefighters earn college degrees in various fields from fire science to city management. Since the SFD has its own training center, we instruct classes for our personnel such as officer and driver training. Our department also has several special teams. These personnel train in their respective discipline monthly.
What other responsibilities do firefighters have other than fight fires?
A short answer would be the SFD handles all the emergencies that the police don’t. So here’s the complete answer. Of the nearly 1,500 calls per year the SFD receives, about 75 to 80 percent are medical emergencies. The rest are varied in nature. We respond to house fires, car fires, garage fires, wildland fires, natural gas leaks, water leaks, carbon monoxide alarms, residential and business fire alarms, car accidents, rollovers, chemical leaks, boating accidents, industrial accidents, building collapses, natural disasters, explosions and much more. We are in the business of handling those one in a million emergencies.
How much does a firefighter's gear weigh?
Different manufactures make their gear out of slightly different materials that can determine the weight. However, the gear the SFD uses weigh approximately 50 pounds. The gear consists of a fiberglass helmet, nomex hood, bunker coat & pants, gloves, ax and boots that collectively weigh roughly 25 pounds. Firefighters also wear a SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) with a full 30-minute bottle, adding another 25 pounds. However, keep in mind that when our gear gets wet, it absorbs water and adds another 10 or so pounds of weight (e.g. My weight =180 lbs. + gear =205 lbs. + SCBA = 230 lbs.).
What type of schedule do firefighters work?
Different city fire departments have different work schedules. Our firefighters work a 48-hour tour (two 24 hour shifts back to back) and have 96 hours off. During their tour, firefighters live at a fire station and have duties such as maintaining the apparatus and station, as well as training, business inspections and many other duties.
How do I find our the names of the firefighters who took care of my emergency?
Contact the Fire Department at 970-522-3823.
Why do so many fire apparatus respond to simple incidents?
Units are dispatched according to information received by Dispatch. Many times the type of situation found upon arrival is very different from the situation dispatched. And, part of responding to an emergency situation means being prepared to deal with the worst case scenario. Discovering that we need more units upon arrival is often too late. Experience has taught us that it’s better to have too much help than not enough.
Why do fire trucks respond to motor vehicle accidents?
Automobile accidents present other hazards such as potential fire, ruptured fuel tanks, undeployed airbags and/or the presence of hazardous materials. If any occupants are trapped they will begin the extrication (removal) process. Since all of our firefighters are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s), EMT-I’s, or Paramedics, they can begin assessing an injured party’s condition and assist in providing treatment prior to the arrival of ambulance personnel. Additionally, several fire apparatus carry extrication tools.
Why does the fire department respond to medical emergencies and not just paramedics?
Our firefighters are trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s), EMT-I’s, or Paramedics. With our stations in close proximity, we can often arrive prior to the ambulance and begin life saving techniques. The Sterling Fire Department staffs a minimum of two on every apparatus. So when a fire engine shows up for a medical emergency, the medical care has arrived. The ambulances provide Advanced Life Support care and transportation.
It is the department policy to send an engine company on all life threatening calls; heart attacks, trouble breathing, possible strokes, vehicle accidents, etc. The engine company may be an engine, squad, aerial ladder, tender, or rescue vehicle, depending on the type of call. The engine personnel begin at a minimum basic Emergency Medical treatment; assist the ambulance crew with equipment, patient assessment and transportation. All of our personnel on these companies are state certified to at least the Emergency Medical Technician level, some are paramedics.
Why do fire trucks with full lights and sirens go through red lights at intersections and then, after they go through, they turn off their lights and slow down?
Emergency lights and siren are used only when responding to a call. Sometimes several units are dispatched to the same incident. When the first unit arrives on scene, they may assess the situation and inform the dispatcher they can handle the emergency. All other responding units are then cancelled and put back into service, ready to take another call.
When I see an emergency vehicle approaching with lights and sirens while I am driving, what should I do?
State law, and common sense, dictates that vehicles yield to emergency vehicles that are operating their emergency lights and siren. Emergency vehicle drivers are taught to pass on the left whenever possible when responding in an emergency mode. When safe, slow down, pull over to the right, and stop. However, there are circumstances where that may not be possible (if you car is already stopped, and you don’t have anywhere to pull over). Simply stay put until the emergency vehicle goes around you. If you are blocking the route of the emergency vehicle, and you are able to pull ahead and over into a clear area, use your turn signal to indicate your intentions, and proceed at a safe speed. Never slam on the brakes and stop in the middle of the road when you see apparatus approaching. Make no sudden moves. If an emergency vehicle is approaching from the opposite direction, you should pull over and stop. You have no idea if they are proceeding down the road, or are planning on turning into a driveway or intersection right in front of you. You are not required to slow down or pull over for emergency vehicles that are responding in the opposite direction on a divided highway. Do not tailgate, “draft”, or follow a responding apparatus closely. Not only is this illegal, you run the risk of collision as vehicles pull back out into traffic after the emergency vehicle goes by.
Move to the Right for Sirens and Lights.
Why do firefighters break windows and cut holes in roofs when the fire is inside a building? It seems that they are causing more damage than the fire?
Fire in a building creates a tremendous amount of heat and smoke. In many instances, firefighters must remove this heat and smoke before they can get close enough to extinguish the fire. The reduced heat and improved visibility allow firefighters to safely and quickly rescue trapped occupants and extinguish the fire. Heat and smoke rise, so cutting a hole in the roof and breaking out windows in strategic locations allows the smoke to vent upwards, allowing cool air to enter the structure from below. We call this “ventilation”. When a hole is made in the roof, dark smoke and dangerous superheated gases escape because heat and smoke rise. This makes it much easier for the firefighters in the building to see. It also reduces the possibilities of backdraft (an explosion of heated gases) and flashover. Another reason is to see how far the fire has progressed. One of the fastest avenues through which fires spread is the attic. Heat and smoke rise into the attic where fire can move quickly. Firefighters may go ahead of the fire on a roof, cut holes to access the attic and stop the fire from spreading. By venting the window of a room that’s on fire, it actually helps to contain the fire to the room of origin. Otherwise heated gases spread throughout the inside of a structure. Breaking a window really prevents more damage than it appears to cause.
How much will I be charged if Fire responds when I call 911?
Our services are paid through sales taxes and other taxes collected by the City. Therefore, residents are not charged for fire protection services. If you require emergency transportation via ambulance or helicopter those entities will charge for the services they render. Ground ambulance rates are set by the Logan County Commissioners. Air Ambulance rates are not regulated by any government agency.