IT’S WHAT WE DO
ARE YOUR PREPARED FOR A TORNADO EMERGENCY?
National Preparedness Month is actually every month. Is your family prepared to: “Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.” For details about National Preparedness,
visit: www.ready.gov/september #NatlPrep
From a broad perspective, the purpose of the fire service is the protection of life and property. This goal is accomplished by providing such services as fire prevention, proper rescue procedures, effective fire fighting tactics, and control of damage.
This is an overview of what we do…
The dominant factor in the structure of most fire departments is the mission of fire suppression, or the extinguishment of fire. During the fire suppression operation, a fire department uses its total resources (personnel, vehicles, and equipment) to combat a fire. Their success depends upon our ability to use these resources to protect lives and property effectively and efficiently. An Incident Commander is responsible for directing and controlling operations at every emergency incident. This ‘manager’ must plan the emergency operation to accomplish the following objectives:
Search and rescue
Confinement of fire
The department maintains a written mutual aid agreement with all other Lorain County fire agencies.
First Responder – Emergency Medical
Emergency medical services (EMS) has become an important function of many fire departments. The addition of some level of EMS duties to a fire department is a natural extension of responsibilities for personnel who are already oriented toward delivering emergency service and assisting citizens. Oberlin Fire Department maintains first responder equipment for immediate victim care, including an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) for resuscitation of cardiac arrest (no heart beat) patients.The department receives its medical direction from Allen Memorial Hospital and is active in the Lorain County EMS Council. Personnel maintain various EMS certifications including:
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) – Basic
EMT – Paramedic
In addition to emergency response, the department also operates an EMS bike patrol with two bicycles equipped with medical supplies including oxygen and an automatic defibrillator. This two-person certified EMT team is scheduled for city events and is available for other local functions.
Hazardous Materials Mitigation
Hazardous materials (hazmat) are commonplace in today’s civilization. Every day, in cities and towns throughout the nation, thousands of dangerous or potentially dangerous substances are used, manufactured, processed, stored, transported, or disposed of properly and safely. Unfortunately, hazardous substances generate a problem for our community when they are released as a result of an accident or through neglect of their containment system. When this occurs, the fire department is responsible for mitigation of the incident.
Oberlin Fire personnel maintains Hazmat certifications as First Responder – Operational. Additionally, at least two firefighters are trained as Hazardous Materials Technicians and operate as members of the Lorain County Hazardous Materials Response Team. The department is actively involved with the Lorain County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and works closely with the Lorain County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to mitigate hazardous incidents.
Protecting lives involves more than just putting out fires. The occurrence of both natural and manmade emergencies requires an immediate local response for mitigation. This response is provided by the fire department. Five firefighters participate in the Lorain County Technical Rescue Response Team, trained in urban search and rescue. Our firefighters are trained in specialty areas, such as:
Trench collapse rescue
Confined space rescue
Structural collapse rescue
Fire Prevention/Code Enforcement
A critical part of the overall role of public protection is fire prevention. An effective fire prevention program decreases the need for fire suppression activities and thereby reduces the cost and risk of extinguishing fire. Fire prevention methods focus on inspection, which includes engineering and code enforcement, fire-arson investigation, pre-fire planning, and public fire-safety education. The department maintains fire prevention affiliations with the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and the International Code Council (ICC).
Fire investigation is the compilation and analysis of information related to fires and explosions. A fire investigation is usually conducted to determine and document the area of origin and cause of a fire, and the factors that contributed to the ignition and subsequent growth. The information developed during the investigation is then used to complete fire incident reports, identify trends, assist in prevention of similar incidents, and to develop public education programs. Data from incident reports collected nationally is used in the development of codes and standards aimed at reducing fire losses and preventing fire deaths. Oberlin fire investigators are certified in fire investigation by the Ohio Fire Academy and the Ohio Peace Officer’s Training Academy. Investigators work closely with the Lorain County Association of Fire Investigators and the State Fire Marshal’s Investigation Division.
The level of performance demonstrated by a fire department is usually a good indication of the type, quantity, and quality of the training provided. The goal of training is to assure that each firefighter can perform necessary operations according to nationally accepted standards. These standards include:
NFPA 1001, Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications.
NFPA 1002, Standard for Fire Apparatus Driver/Operator Professional Qualifications.
NFPA 1003, Standard for Aircraft Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications.
NFPA 1021, Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications.
NFPA 1031,Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Inspector and Plan Examiner.
NFPA 1033,Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator.
NFPA 1035,Standard for Professional Qualifications for Public Fire and Life Safety Educator.
Training is accomplished through the following methods:
Internal training exercises.
Lorain County and Cuyahoga County Community Colleges.
Lorain County Fire Chiefs’ Association Training Courses.
Ohio State Annual Fire School.
Ohio Fire Academy.
National Fire Academy outreach programs.
National Fire Academy resident courses.
Other special courses.
Public fire-safety education has two facets: fire prevention education and fire reaction education. National fire-safety campaigns such as NFPA’s Learn Not To Burn is incorporated into local education materials and programs. Community awareness and participation are the keys to encouraging people to adopt fire-safe behaviors. Highly effective programs include: escape planning, smoke detector installation, fire hazard inspections, burn prevention, juvenile fire-setting problems, fire-safety for babysitters, and fire-safety for the elderly.