1. What are the firefighters hours?
Urbana firefighters work 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off. The fire chief and assistant fire chief work Monday thru Friday from 8 am to 4 pm.
2. What do the firefighters do when they are not on fires or squad runs?
Firefighters start everyday by having a shift meeting to discuss what happened the day before, what the plan for the day will be and pass on any other info that they need to know. Every morning all of the fire and EMS vehicles are inspected to be sure they operate properly and are ready to respond at anytime. If the vehicle they check was used the day before, the shift washes the vehicle and cleans any tools that may have been used. Next, the firefighters do housework such as sweeping, vacuuming and mopping the floors, cleaning the bathrooms, clean the kitchen and do general cleaning. After housework, it is time to work on their projects that they have been assigned and cook lunch. After lunch, from 1 pm until 4 pm the firefighters train on firefighting tactics and skills as well as EMS topics. Next, complete any project or assignments before supper. After supper the firefighters try to relax as much as they can because all during the shift they are called out to incidents. Some days are busier than others but the Urbana Fire Division averages 7 calls per day that could last an hour or 5 hours depending on the call.
Some of the projects the firefighters have been assigned are vehicle and power tool maintenance, EMS supply inventory and ordering, data entry, Self Contained Breathing Apparatus maintenance and inventory, fire hydrant testing and inventory, fire hose testing and inventory, key lock box management, haz mat coordinator, rescue team coordinator and fire department history.
3. How long does it take for a firefighters to get ready and get out the door for a fire?
Firefighters train to put their fire gear on within 1 minute. The self contained breathing apparatus must be put on and ready to use within 30 seconds. We normally are out the door within 3 minutes from the time we are dispatched.
4. How many firefighters are on duty at one time?
We currently have 6 firefighters and 1 fire captain on each 24 hour shift.
5. How many firefighters do you need to fight a fire?
According to the National Fire Protection Association Standards we should have 19 firefighters on a fire scene within 7 minutes. We are not able to accomplish this with only Urbana Firefighters. We respond with 2-7 depending on if we have other incidents going on. We do however call for help from our neighboring fire departments and we also provide help to them when necessary. We are required to have a minimum of 4 firefighters on the scene to go inside a burning building unless life safety is in jeopardy, in which case we will enter the building when we have less than 4.
6. How many firefighters go out on a fire engine at one time?
Each of our fire apparatus carries up to 4 firefighters at a time.
7. What is the chain of command for the fire department?
The fire chief is responsible to operate the fire division. The assistant fire chief is responsible for fire prevention activities and training. There is a captain on each shift that is responsible for managing and supervising each shift.
8. Who tells the firefighters where to go when a run comes in and how does the firemen get the information?
When someone calls 911 the dispatchers find out where the incident is located and determines which fire department to send. The dispatchers then set off tones on the perspective fire departments radio frequency which is broadcast over the fire station PA system and announce where the incident is located and what situation or problem that requires a response.