Staff personnel of the Emporia Fire Department include the Fire Chief, Deputy Chief, Fire Marshal, Training Officer, Fire Administrative Assistant, and Billing Clerks.
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 Deputy Chief has the primary function of the emergency medical services of the department. He is responsible for keeping abreast of Emergency Medical Services (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 Deputy 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 shift investigators who receive extensive training in areas of all fire cause and determination.
Administrative Assistant 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 levels of training. 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 8:00 am 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.
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 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 12 Firefighters assigned to each shift. With the two Captains and the Battalion Chief, that gives a total shift complement of 15 members. The firefighters staff five 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 eight to ten 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.
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) runs are the bulk our department's emergency business. Therefore, all line personnel are either Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT), or 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. Two members of each shift have studied for and attained the position of Lieutenant. This position serves as a training position for those members who desire to move into the rank of Captain or higher. Lieutenants 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 an assistant. 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.
Volunteer Firefighters are the final personnel classification on the fire side of the department. These personnel are assigned to respond to fires in the City of Emporia and other fire districts in Lyon County. 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. After a training period, volunteers are allowed to drive staff vehicles as needed. Each volunteer must perform "ride time" at the stations for at least twelve hours each month, as well as attend regularly scheduled volunteer meetings.