Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) today announced the award of $382,755 to the Oberlin Fire
Department from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under the Assistance to
Firefighters Grant program.
According to Oberlin Fire Chief Dennis Kirin, the federal award will be used to
purchase a mobile "live fire simulator" for use in training firefighters in
Oberlin and throughout the area. It is estimated that the federal award will
cover 95 percent of the cost of the simulator, with five percent coming from
"Congratulations to the department and to the community for this great success
in a highly competitive process," said Congresswoman Kaptur. "In typical style,
Oberlin is showing great leadership in training first responders."
Chief Kirin said the Oberlin Fire Department will now be able to prepare the
paperwork and seek bids on the high-tech equipment that will allow firefighters
to train in realistic fire situations. He said the simulator, which resembles a
50-foot-long truck trailer, can create a fire scene, using actual fire and smoke
in a safe and environmentally sound environment.
"It's actually a computerized version of a building on fire," Chief Kirin said.
"We can set by computer, not simulations, but actual live fires with smoke. It
is a 100 percent safe environment in which to train in an economical and
environmentally sound manner.
"I am very motivated when it comes to training for our firefighters-and also to
the larger needs of the area."
Chief Kirin said the federal award was predicated on making the simulator
available not only to the five full-time and 25 part-time firefighters at the
Oberlin department, which serves the city of Oberlin and New Russia Township,
but also the other 652 firefighters in Lorain County.
"We are ecstatic," said Chief Kirin. "This is significant: I can't think of
anything like this anywhere in Northeast Ohio."
"I applaud Chief Kirin and the city of Oberlin for looking at the big picture,"
said Congresswoman Kaptur. "All of Lorain County-and all of Northeast Ohio-is a
big winner today due to their foresight."
Congresswoman Kaptur is a senior member of the U.S. House Appropriations
Committee, which funds the Homeland Security agency and the U.S. Fire
Administration. She has worked extensively with fire departments throughout the
Ninth Congressional District to encourage their participation in the fire grant
Congresswoman Kaptur noted that she had announced a $72,257 award to the Oberlin
Fire Department in October 2005 for a firefighter health and wellness program
and the purchase of equipment.
"Everyone is proud of the Oberlin Fire Department for its progressive approach
and its willingness to share its equipment and expertise in the cause of
protecting lives and property," she said.
Department Receives FEMA Fire grant
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-9) announced the award of $72,257 to the Oberlin
Fire Department to be used for the purchase/upgrade of firefighter
self-contained breathing apparatus and to fund a firefighter health and wellness
program. The award comes from the U.S. Fire Administration and was awarded under
the Assistance for Firefighters Grant Program, administered by the U.S. Fire
Administration (USFA), part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, now
housed in the Department of Homeland Security.
"Congratulations to the Oberlin Fire Department for receiving one of the 2005
grants from the U.S. Fire Administration," said Kaptur, a senior member of the
Appropriations Committee, which funds FEMA and its U.S. Fire Administration's
operations. "This federal assistance will allow the fire division to better
equip itself for rapid response to emergencies to ensure the safety of the
courageous men and women who provide fire protection to the citizens of
Fire Chief Dennis Kirin noted that the department will receive $46,060 to
perform a complete upgrade of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) to meet
the current industry safety standards, and for the purchase of two additional
units, allowing the department to provide the best respiratory protection
available for the firefighters. While the present units are good quality, they
are considered non-compliant by national occupational health and safety
standards. The addition of two very important features - redundant low air
alarms and integrated personal alert system (PASS) alarms would provide
firefighters with automatic safety features not provided by the present system,
as these safeguards activate upon unit initiation and remain intact upon
entering a contaminated atmosphere. The updated units will also include an
emergency breathing air connection assuring interoperability with the countywide
(Lorain County) fire department firefighter rescue program.
Funds requested for wellness and fitness activities will be used to implement a
continuing, proactive wellness and fitness program for our firefighters. This
program, entitled Fit for Life, will be mandatory for all department personnel.
The program includes complete medical examinations for all members, necessary
immunizations, a complete fitness assessment, and additional nutrition and
behavioral components according to the recommendations of the IAFF-IAFC
Kirin noted "Unfortunately, such important programs are not always affordable
through local funding. The Fire Department is fortunate that the Assistance to
Firefighter Grant program is supported and funded by Congress. Without this
support, some of these programs would never be achievable."
To accomplish the goals set forth in the Fit for Life program efficiently and
economically, partnerships will be established for both occupational health and
fitness center activities. Two fire personnel have already completed a HMI
Certified Fitness Coordinators course conducted at the Ohio Fire Academy. Total
cost of the wellness program is $30,000.
Chief Kirin noted "By implementing this program, we are committing to a healthy
lifestyle approach in hope of reducing the number of deaths and injuries while
improving the overall wellness of each firefighter. This mandatory program will
be designed to motivate our members to participation through incentives rather
than punitive actions or measures."
Kaptur added, "The citizens of Oberlin will certainly be the benefactors of this
return of federal resources to our community in the form of a better trained and
equipped fire department."
Fire Chief Gets Special Honor
The Chronicle-Telegram, May 18, 2003
According to the International Association of Fire
Chiefs, the Oberlin Fire Department has one of the best leaders in the nation.
Chief Dennis Kirin was recently designated as a chief fire
officer by the organization - a professional recognition open to all fire
Kirin will receive official certification of the status at an
awards reception Aug. 21 in Dallas.
Adds Storm Tracking Weather Services
Oberlin, OH, April 3, 2000
When the fire department is assigned the
responsibility of providing disaster services, it takes its job very seriously. It
realizes that proactively tracking adverse weather conditions and their potential affect
on our community is better than just waiting for something to happen. And while it is
difficult to always stay on top of the weather without dedicating extensive time to
constantly watch it, we cannot afford a costly surprise either. This is why we have added
DTN Storm-Sentry is a state-of-the-art weather processing and
display package that gives the department critical information to plan for weather events
and act rather than react. The system includes three components: doppler radar, alert
management, and storm tracking. The Storm-Sentry system is based on NEXRAD single-site
doppler radar that is used daily by meteorologists from the National Weather Service to
issue warnings and forecasts. The NEXRAD radar allows detection of even small
thunderstorms and lake effect snow that other radars may miss. In addition to the radar
display, Storm-Sentry alerting is activated whenever the National Weather Service issues
watches or warnings for the Lorain County or adjacent areas.
The Storm-Sentry storm tracking feature allows the fire
department to track weather conditions that may affect the Oberlin area including heavy
snow, freezing rain, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes. The sophisticated program will
show where the storm is, where it is going, and when it will get there. And when a severe
storm is threatening the community, the department can activate our weather warning
Weather Warning System Expanded
With the assistance of Kendal at Oberlin, the fire department
has added a fifth weather warning siren which is located in the north-central portion of
the city. This unit enhances the existing warning system sirens located at Pyle Road,
Artino Street, South Main Street, and at the fire station. When activated the warning
sirens produce alternating blasts over a 4 minute period. The warning system is activated
once upon the issuance of a Tornado Warning and will be reactivated for each tornado
sighting near Oberlin or additional Tornado Warning alerts.
A monthly test of the siren system will be conducted
throughout the tornado season every second Wednesday of the month at 11:00 a.m.
In order to avoid confusion, monthly tests will not be conducted at their scheduled time
if adverse weather conditions are present in the area.
For further information concerning tornado safety, contact
the fire station.
OFD Initiates First Responder EMS Service
OBERLIN, Ohio, December 14, 1999 -
The next time you call for an ambulance, dont be surprised to see a firefighter
arrive at your house. With the approval of City Council at its December 6 meeting, the
Oberlin Fire Department has entered into an agreement with Allen Memorial Hospital to
provide first-responder mutual assistance for emergency medical calls within the City of
With an increasing number of emergency calls and a limited on-duty staff, it is
necessary for any EMS service to rely on additional ambulance units from neighboring
communities. This cooperative effort between the Fire Department and the Allen Hospital
EMS service was devised to offset the excessive response times usually experienced when
only a mutual aid ambulance is dispatched to the call. Depending on the location of the
ambulance, it may take between 15 to 25 minutes until it arrives on scene. Fire chief
Dennis Kirin noted "By any emergency medical care standard, any response time over
8-10 minutes is too long and, depending on the nature of the emergency, might be harmful
to the patients outcome."
With the availability of Oberlin firefighters who are certified by the Ohio Division of
EMS as Emergency Medical Technicians, the city already has trained, capable personnel with
a response time of less than 5 minutes. Fifty percent of the departments personnel
are certified EMTs or EMT-Intermediates while the remaining personnel are trained as first
responders. At least five firefighter/EMTs plan to increase their proficiencies by
completing an EMT-Intermediate training course that will be conducted at the Oberlin Fire
Department in February. Their training will include cardiac monitoring, defibrillation,
and intravenous therapy. The Fire Department is certified by the Ohio Department of Public
Safety, Division of EMS, as a provider for EMS continuing education and as an off-site EMS
training site under the Lorain County Community College EMS program.
Oberlin firefighters will respond and provide emergency medical care until the arrival
of an ambulance for transport to the hospital. Working under the direction of Dr. Mary
Stewart, AMH medical director, the firefighter/EMTs are capable of performing most of the
same services as other ambulance personnel. Arriving first on scene, firefighter/EMTs
could administer oxygen, perform CPR, use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) to
revive a patient or provide other emergency services according to county EMS protocol.
Chief Kirin noted "This is a win-win situation for our city residents. Not only
can the Hospital arrange for the most expedient ambulance transport, but the Fire
Department personnel can immediately respond and attend to the patients needs
pending arrival of that transport unit. This is what a true emergency medical care system
is all about." Presently, the first responder service is limited to the City of
Oberlin. There will be no additional fees to the residents.