The Operations side of the Department is organized in companies of 4 to 7 firefighters, each directly supervised by a Captain.
A Captain is assigned to each of the City’s four fire stations and reports to a Battalion Chief, who serves as shift commander.
The three Battalion Chiefs report to the Chief of the Department. Operations personnel are responsible for handling all emergency response activities, requests for special services, and routine work assignments.
In addition to responding to all manner of fires and explosions, fire department personnel also provide emergency medical care, rescue operations (high angle, confined space, swift water, ice, etc.), hazardous materials/hazardous conditions response, investigation of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and assistance during natural or manmade disasters.
Often, the Fire Department is called upon to provide non-emergency special services. Such service might include assisting other City departments with water removal, gaining access to high work, or providing manpower for a specific project. Crews are routinely assigned to provide on-site standby assistance at public events. Engine companies commonly visit schools and day care centers to demonstrate firefighting apparatus and equipment, as well as conducting fire station tours.
A good deal of a firefighter’s time is spent checking and maintaining fire apparatus and equipment. While these activities are hardly glamorous or exciting, they are crucial to the overall mission of the department. All pumping apparatus and each section of fire hose must be tested annually. All of the specialized equipment carried on all department vehicles must be in constant readiness. Each fire hydrant in the City is flushed in the spring and pumped dry in the fall. Fire stations and grounds are maintained according to a check list of daily duties.