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August 20, 2017

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Town of St. Johnsbury
Fire Suppression
Updated On: Jan 18, 2010

Fire Suppression

The St. Johnsbury Fire Department prides themselves in providing a high level of professionalism and skill in extinguishing fires. Recent improvements in equipment and new technologies combined with firefighter II level members have improved delivery of fire suppression. The ability to respond radpidly to fires and agressively attack fires on the interior of the building result is less fire loss for the property owner. Early detection and sprinkler systems historically have saved many lives and buildings and allow firefighters to get in quickly and confine the fire, and your fire department is always encouraging expansion of these systems throughout our community.

St. Johnsbury is recognized statewide for the many large devastating fires that have destroyed at times several buildings. The older buildings of ordinary balloon frame construction allow fire to spread through void spaces created during construction and renovation. Unfortunately we have endured many fires where civilians have died as well. Since the year 2000 there have been 6 fire deaths with 2 fires claiming multiple lives. Through advanced training, rapid response, and our smoke detector program, we continue to work hard toward eliminating fire deaths in our community.

Our number one priority is to save lives, second to confine the fire, third to save property. In all operations safety is the first concern. Firefighters make a calculated risk during every response.

Response

A fire response is transmitted as a 1st alarm. This brings 2 engines, 1 ladder, the Fire Chief, and EMS. When the working fire is transmitted and all hands go to work and additional engine, Littletons RIT team, and a paramedic are dispatched into the scene. Each additional alarm calls for 2 engines and 1 ladder truck.

Initial Scene Asignments and Minimum Members Required

Incident Command - 1
Incident Safety Officer - 1
Search and Rescue - 2

Fire Suppression - 2
Back-up Line (Floor Above) - 2
2 in 2 out (OSHA) - 4
Ventilation - 2
First Due Pump Operater - 1
Water Supply - 2

This is indicative of an initial assignment for a working fire and the work that needs to be carried out to successfully extinguish a fire in a building. Due to low staffing levels members prioritize tactics and carry out multiple assignments as quickly as they can. For example search and rescue becomes priority one causing the fire to go unchecked, and the search crew without the protection of a hoseline. Often some of these duties do not get carried out until later in the incident when sufficient manpower can be brought into the scene. An example may be that ventilation is delayed causing the fire, heat, and steam to remain in the structure where the hose crew is operating.


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