News and Events

Press Releases
Releases are arranged in order of issue, with newest at top of the list.
Subject Date
Department Receives AFG Grant 02/12/2007
Department Receives FEMA Grant 10/21/2005
Oberlin Fire Chief Gets Special Award 05/18/2003
OFD Adds Storm Tracking Weather Services 04/03/2000
OFD Initiates First Responder EMS Services 12/14/1999


OBERLIN — U.S. Representative 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 local sources.

“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 initiative.

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.


OBERLIN — 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 Oberlin.”

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 Wellness/Fitness Initiative.

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.”


Angela Inge
The Chronicle-Telegram,  May 18, 2003

OBERLIN – 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 chiefs.

Kirin will receive official certification of the status at an awards reception Aug. 21 in Dallas.


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 StormSentry.

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 systems.


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.


OBERLIN, Ohio, December 14, 1999 –

The next time you call for an ambulance, don’t 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 Oberlin.

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 patient’s 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 department’s 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 patient’s 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.


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430 South Main Street
Oberlin, Ohio 44074

Ph: 440-774-3211
Fx: 440-774-7809