The Rochester Fire Department has over 500 uniformed and non-uniformed members, which represent the ethnicity of the community as a whole. The department was established with the mission of saving lives and property. This was accomplished primarily by fire fighting. Although the mission is still the same, firefighters on the department today perform various other duties. We also respond to numerous emergency situations, such as, vehicle extrications, medical emergencies, high-level rescue, hazardous materials incidents, structural collapse, swift water rescue, and many more.
Support staff is also a critical component of the department. The Fire Chief's Office is responsible for the overall management of the Department. These responsibilities include the establishment of personnel standards and policies, work schedules, public relations, training and the continuous review of operations and performance. Other areas of responsibility focus on fiscal control, personnel management, resource procurement and the coordination of the annual budget preparation.
The Alarm Maintenance Unit is responsible for the proper maintenance of the City radio fire alarm system. The system includes street alarm boxes for public use and master boxes providing automatic alarm transmission from alarm systems in City schools, hospitals, nursing homes and several industries. In addition, this Division maintains the central station receiver located in the Monroe County Public Safety Communications Center and the Department's mobile and portable radios.
The Apparatus Division is responsible for the maintenance of all fire apparatus, support vehicles and motorized equipment. This Division is also responsible for the repair and maintenance of the County Airport firefighting equipment. In addition, the Superintendent of Apparatus is involved in the acquisition of new apparatus, from providing the specifications of the equipment to the final preparation for service.
The Code Enforcement Unit is responsible for the inspection of all residential, commercial, industrial and institutional properties in the City. Besides their inspection duties, Code Enforcement staff assigned to the Unit also issue permits. These permits allow for the maintenance, storage, handling and transportation of all flammable, toxic and explosive materials.
Inspectors also attend local traffic control board meetings, oversee fireworks displays and conduct alarm test and fire drills. This Unit provides an inspector who serves as liaison to Neighborhood Development.. The inspector reviews new construction plans and works with architects and engineers to ensure plan compliance to all fire Codes.
The Fire Investigation Unit is comprised of Cause and Origin, Fire Related Youth (FRY) and the Arson Task Force.
Cause and Origin surveys the fire scene to determine the ignition sequence and fire development . These investigators also conduct interviews with victims and witnesses to obtain relevant information. They respond to all working fires and, at the request of the incident commander, to such incidents as attempted arson, vehicle fires and rubbish fires.
The Fire Related Youth Unit was established to provide community intervention for children who play with fire. Once a fire is determined to be juvenile related, the FRY Unit undertakes a comprehensive review of the incident and meets with both the child and his parents.
The FRY Unit also receives many calls from parents requesting that an investigator talk to their child about the consequences of fire play, the appropriate uses of fire and the legal ramifications of the misuse of fire.
The Arson Task Force is comprised of one firefighter and one police officer. Should the cause of a fire be incendiary and involve an adult (a person 16 years or older), the Arson Task Force is called upon to conduct a follow-up investigation and lodge any appropriate criminal charges.
One of the main responsibilities of the Health & Safety Office is to research, interpret and enforce many of the regulations and standards that apply to the fire service today. Some of the mandated Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations cover areas such as respiratory protection, hazard communication, blood borne pathogens, asbestos exposure, hearing conservation and hazardous materials. Standards, such as those issued by the National Fire Protection Association cover topics such as firefighter accountability, Rapid Intervention Team (RIT/FAST) and medical examinations.
TB testing, Self Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) fit testing, Turnout Gear inspections, OSHA reporting, fire house inspections, Right To Know/Blood Born Pathogens training are all programs that stem from these mandates.
The Planning and Research Division is responsible for analyzing operations, evaluating existing programs, developing recommendations for the modification of present practices and procedures and assisting in the implementation of new methods and techniques. It is also responsible for emergency response analysis and the gathering of statistical and analytical information. The field of information technology remains the primary function of this Division. Planning and Research strives to respond to the ever changing environment of computer technology
The Protectives is a volunteer organization which includes a staff of four paid firefighters who act as drivers. With a City fire vehicle, the Protectives respond to fires with the responsibilities to safeguard and salvage property. Tarpaulins, fans, pumps and other equipment are used to reduce smoke and water damage. For information on becoming a volunteer for the Protectives, go to their website or call (585) 428-5977.
Suppression personnel respond to a variety of emergency incidents including fires, emergency medical service calls, hazardous conditions, automatic alarms, river and gorge rescues and motor vehicle accidents and extrications. When not engaged in emergency response activity, the Division performs fire station maintenance, district training, public relation details and property inspections.
The Training Division develops and provides essential training and educational programs for the fire department. The division is responsible for a variety of training units including: Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Recruit Training, In-Service Training, Special Operations, Firefighter Trainee Program and Special Projects. The division is also involved in coordinating a variety of inter-agency drills and training, and serves in a leadership role for the Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS). The division houses the Emergency Training and Information Network (ETIN) which provides fast, reliable, secure, convenient access by first responders to wide range of constantly updated information.
The Training Division works in collaboration with Monroe Community College, in utilizing the facility's classrooms, training props, and fire ground simulators. This valued relationship is priceless in insuring that our members, and many other community agencies, are given state-of-the-art training. For more information, contact the Training Division at (585) 753-3731.
Responsibilities focus on disaster preparedness and event aftermath recovery. Personnel attend and maintain membership on several committees to facilitate information sharing between multi-jurisdictional agencies. Emergency Management reviews emergency preparedness, school safety, and site safety plans and does make recommendations for improvements for local agencies, schools, and businesses.
The City of Rochester Fire Department has 343 Emergency Medical Technician (EMTs) ready to respond to emergencies, aided by 100 Certified First Responders (CFRs), the neighborhood fire house is staffed and prepared to answer the call, day or night.
Training for this large number of emergency medical responders is provided through the EMS Office at the Rochester Fire Academy Public Safety Training Facility on Scottsville Road. There is a continuing process of certifications to New York State Health Department standards, and ongoing updates of knowledge and skills.
Instruction is provided by fellow firefighters with specialized training and certification, Ten lead instructors, known as Certified Instructor/Coordinators (CIC's), and 16 skills instructors, Certified Lab Instructors (CLI's) provide the training. Classes are held at both the Fire Academy, a state-of-art training facility, as well as in-station training. These highly skilled professionals develop the teaching methods, per New York State Protocols, that make the training realistic and pertinent. In order to monitor the emergency medical services that our department provides, and to continually seek ways to improve, the EMS Office conducts Quality Assurance audits of all the EMS reports that are submitted.
Training equipment and supplies are provided to the firefighters to assure realistic scenarios. These teaching aids are available at the Public Safety Training Facility, or may be provided to the crews at the fire stations. This training doesn't stay in the fire station. Rochester Firefighters provide CPR and Defibrillator training to other City employees. Should a medical emergency occur in any city building, employees trained by Rochester Firefighters may be the first to help. The EMS Office is the Fire Department representative to a number of regional and state organizations. This includes the Monroe-Livingston Regional EMS Council, the Monroe County EMS Advisory Board and the American Heart Association Training Centers. In this role the EMS Office takes a lead in the delivery of Emergency Medical Services and in promoting EMS Education.
The Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) system is a FEMA based national program that supports local jurisdictions’ enhancing and maintaining response capabilities to manage mass casualty incidents during the critical first hours after an incident. It is during these critical first hours that lives can be saved and the population protected. MMRS is comprised of 120 cities and four geographical jurisdictions. Together they cover eighty percent of the nation’s population.
To accomplish our goals, MMRS works with a wide range of departments and agencies within the City of Rochester, Monroe County, State of New York, and United States government. We assist in the development of “All-Hazard” plans, create mitigation practices, and conduct exercises to test our local preparedness. These All-Hazard plans include Terrorism (such as Chemical, Explosive, Biological, and Nuclear/Radioactive attacks), Hazardous Material incidents (Haz-Mat), Natural Disasters, and Epidemic disease outbreaks. For more information on the MMRS program go to: www.fema.gov/mmrs or call the MMRS Coordinator at (585) 753-3735.
The Special Operations Office, a subdivision of the Division of Training, oversees the Fire Department's six specialty teams, Hazardous Materials Response, Confined Space Rescue, High Rise, Water Rescue, Extrication, and Heavy Rescue. Special Operations is also responsible for the development and maintenance of the Metropolitan Medical Response System program.