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February 19, 2019

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Town of St. Johnsbury
Fire Dept. Services
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.


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.

Jan 18, 2010


The SJFD responds to all motor vehicle accidents in St. Johnsbury and provides mutual aid with the hydraulic rescue tools to Danville and Concord for entrapments. These tools drastically reduce the amount of time needed to remove people from vehicles when they are trapped. From and EMS aspect our goal is to have the patient in the operating room within one hour from the inury and time is critical. In addition to the hydraulic rescue tools otherwise known as the "Jaws of Life", we use high pressure air bags, hand operated tools, rescue jacks, and pnuematic tools to effect a rescue.

The State of Vermont has outfitted St. Johnsbury Fire Department with all necessary equipment to function as one of 7 other regional technical rescue response agencies. Following the terrorist attacks in New York City in 2001 Vermont recognized that firefighters are the first line of defense in a terrorist attack or natural disaster and ther were very minimal capabilities to handle such incidents. Homeland Security Grants were usaed to purchase a wide variety of equipment that is used to handle these emergencies known as technical rescue emergencies. We now have the capability to respond to confined space emergencies, trench rescue, rope rescues, water rescue, and structural collapse. Emergencies that threaten our area most commonly are floods, high winds, and earthquakes.


A rescue response will vary depending upon the severity of the rescue. A vehicle extrication gets a 1st alarm consisting of one resce, one engine, and the Fire Chief. Water rescue will get a 1st alarm and gets one rescue, one squad, boats, and the Fire Chief. Confined Space, Trench Collapse, and Structural Collapse get a 1st alarm with one rescue, technical rescue trailer, one squad, the Fire Chief, and other equipment as determined by the incident commander.

Rescue Equipment

1 Ton Utility Truck - HSU Grant
1 Technical Rescue Trailer - HSU Grant
Low Pressure Air Bags - HSU Grant
Paratech Rescue Struts - HSU Grant
Ropes - HSU Grant
Power Tools - HSU Grant
Zodiak Rescue Boat - HSU Grant
Tripod - HSU Grant
Supplied Air Respirator - HSU Grant
Class 2 Harnesses - HSU Grant
Rope Rescue Hardware - HSU Grant
Blowers - HSU Grant
Trench Panels - HSU Grant

Jan 18, 2010


Emergency medical services is an important function of the fire department. We respond to medical emergencies in the village district where we arrive quickly and save lives. Firefighters have saved many victims of cardiac arrest by rapid application of a defibrillator, CPR and assisted ventilation. Firefighters administer glucose to patients with diabetic emergencies, Oxygen for people suffering difficulty breathing, we apply splints to stabilize skeletal injuries, and dressings to control bleeding of the trauma victim.


 An EMS response is transmitted as a still alarm. One engine and the duty staff responds and becomes available once the ambulance arrives in the event that there is another emergency. The fire station is not covered by off-duty personnel unless the duty staff is committed to a cardiac arrest or if they need to respond to an outlying district due to CALEX being unavailable.

Jan 18, 2010

Fire Prevention & Public Education

Preventing fires from occuring is an important aspect of protecting the public. There are various ways in which the SJFD delivers a fire prevention message but most commonly it is through public education. Each year during fire prevention the firefighters taken time to visit the area schools and give a short lesson in fire safety, a bag of information for families, coloring books, magnets, and pencils all geared toward teaching our children about how to be safe with fire. Also each year the St. Johnsbury Academy dormitory students are taught dorm safety and practice how to escape if there is a fire. Other organizations requesting publice education from the SJFD include elderly care homes, industry, daycares, and private residences.

The smoke detector program and CO detector program have been highly successful and continue to show a high demand in our community. These programs have saved lives and proctected our citizens from the hazards of smoke and CO. For more information on these programs please visit the link at Fire Dept. Services.

Fire Prevention & Public Education Opportunities

Fire Safety Inspections
Fire Extinguisher Class
Woodstove Installation Advice
Public Interest Articles
Smoke Detector Program
CO Detector Program
Fire Safety Lecture

Jan 18, 2010

Smoke Detector Program

When a person is sleeping they are vulnerable to the effects of smoke and will likely not wake up during a fire. Smoke detectors can save you life by sounding the alarm allowing you time to escape if there is a fire in your home. We wanted to protect everyone in St. Johnsbury so SJFD established a highly successful smoke detector program several years ago and continues to see a high demand. When the members respond to an incident and they discover that there are no smoke detectors, or they are not functional, we will install one for them at no cost. These detectors are purchased through grants and is financially supported by the St. Johnsbury Firefighters Association L2934.

How It Works

Vermont law requires the use of smoke detectors in rental properties
Due to the Vermont law, we attempt to use them only for private dwellings
During a response if there are no, or non-functional smoke detectors we will provide you with one
Members will install the detector if the owner is unable to
If you would like to pick one up at the firehouse you can stop in and speak with the duty officer
Anyone who receives a detector must sign a waiver of liability

Jan 18, 2010

Carbon Monoxide Detector Program

In 2005 tragedy struck the city of Burlington when a St. Johnsbury man was fatally exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide and nearly claiming the life of his girlfriend. The incident caused several other residents to be transported and elevated the awareness of the dangers of CO exposure across the nation. The St. Johnsbury Firefighters Association took action and put on a free CO awareness seminar in St. Johnsbury and gave away free CO detectors to participants. This was the beginning of the CO detector program that works in the same fashion as the smoke detector program. There continues to be a high demand for CO detectors, and financial assistance has been give by the Ginger Aldrich family, the St. Johnsbury Firefighters Association L2934, and other donations. An added bonus came two years age when the Professional Firefighters of Vermont made a 50% grant for affiliates to purchase RAD57 units to monitor CO exposure to people through non-invasive analysis of the blood.

How It Works

Vermont law requires the use of CO detectors in rental properties
Due to the Vermont law, we attempt to use them only for private dwellings
During a response if there are no, or non-functional CO detectors we will provide you with one
Members will install the detector if the owner is unable to
If you would like to pick one up at the firehouse you can stop in and speak with the duty officer
Anyone who receives a detector must sign a waiver of liability

Jan 18, 2010


St. Johnsbury does not have an inspection program, however the SJFD works with the Vermont Division of Fire Safety and assists with inspections. Code enforcement is handled by the State inspectors and follow-up inspections are completed if violations are given. The goal of an inspection program is to save lives by preventing fires, keeping egress paths open, early detection devices, sprinkler systems, and educating the property owners.

Page Last Updated: Jan 18, 2010 (12:58:00)
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