Frequently Asked Questions
Click the questions below to show the answers.
Why do both a fire truck and an ambulance always show up for a medical emergency?
When a 911 call comes in, our dispatchers often do not get precise or complete information. As such, our dispatch is based on a worst-case scenario. To ensure the highest level of care, we send the closest fire engine (staffed with three personnel) and ambulance (staffed with two personnel). Each unit has at least one paramedic.
No medical call is "routine." Most require assessing the patient, obtaining their vital signs, providing oxygen therapy, and moving them, at a minimum. We may also administer drugs intravenously, monitor cardiac conditions, protect the patient's spine, restrain them, etc.
Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing what we will encounter on a call until we arrive. We work in a "what if” and "all risk" business. Responding to the unknown is public safety.
Why do so many units respond to "simple" incidents?
Again, we need to dispatch for a worst-case scenario — and we also need to get our firefighters to the scene as soon as possible. Our response typically includes an engine or ladder truck and (likely) an ambulance. If the first unit on the scene is not an advanced life support unit (with paramedics), one will respond shortly. That's why you may see three fire department vehicles on the scene for what appears to be a "simple" incident.
Why do I see fire trucks with full lights and sirens go through a red light at an intersection but then turn off their lights and slow down?
Most likely, the call has been cancelled. This might happen if the first unit arrives on the scene, surveys the situation, and informs the dispatcher that things are under control. The other units will then be cancelled so they are ready to take another call.
Why do fire fighters go to the grocery store together on a fire truck while on duty?
We are always ready to respond! Our fire fighters are never far away from the engine or each other. They spend 48 hours together, per shift, which includes meals. They get no formal "breaks." Even though they may be buying groceries, these, fire fighters are still available for 911 calls.
What do firefighters do during the day when not on emergency calls?
Preparation. When a firefighter arrives at the station for a shift, his first priority is to check his truck and personal protective equipment and get ready for the next call. Although we do not fix major mechanical problems with the fire engines, we often do minor repairs.
Housework. The morning is when we also address "house work." Page Fire Fighters live at the station for 48 hours; it is their second home. We have to sweep, mop, throw out the trash, dust, wash linens and windows, and clean the fire truck. We also take care of maintenance issues such as painting and landscaping.
Public outreach. We often run station tours for the public or speak at special events. These talks cover everything from exit drills in the home, wildfire safety, and using a fire extinguisher.
Physical training. Our firefighters must work out for 1 hour each day as a condition of employment. We undergo a battery of exams and fitness assessments, agility testing, and blood work to help ensure that we are in peak condition to protect the community.
EMS/Fire Training. Page Fire personnel conduct EMS and Fire training for a minimum of 2 hours a shift day.
Inspections. Station companies routinely inspect every business in the city to enforce the fire code and address any life hazards. We also yearly inspect and test fire hydrants to ensure that they operate properly during a fire event. Likewise, we test all our fire hoses each year.
Reporting. We must document each event we respond to, no matter how big or small. Most reports take 15-60 minutes to complete. A Page Fire Fighter can spend between 2-6 hours a day on documentation.
What do firefighters do at night?
We are always in "ready response" mode, so our day is by no means over after 5pm. In fact, crews may not get to sleep for 48 hours.
After the crew returns to the station, the engine needs to be restocked and reports need to be completed. Crew members may also call home, work out, catch up on maintenance, study for tests (medical, fire, hazardous materials), and prepare for rope rescue and promotional events. In addition, we conduct periodic "night drills" at odd hours to keep ourselves adjusted to all conditions.
Why do I see fire fighters running at the local high school or exercising in some other way?
A firefighter's mind, body, and spirit must be able to operate at peak performance — in a moment's notice. Because this occupation demands a great deal of physical strength and stamina, we encourage fire fighters to spend about an hour each day (on and off duty) exercising.
Why are the fire engines left running on calls?
Power from the running motor is required to run the pump and distribute water. It is also needed to control climate within parts of the engine so we can properly store and transport medications that may be needed during a medical emergency. We also run the motor to power lights and emergency flashers. In the fire station, engines are always plugged into a "shore line" to keep the batteries charged and the engine warm so it is ready to go.
Why do I see firefighters cutting holes in the roof of a building on fire?
This is called "venting the roof." There are two basic reasons for this practice. Dangerous gases and dark smoke accumulate in a burning building. Unlike in the movie versions of fires, firefighters cannot see in such an environment. Once the roof "vented," the smoke and gases can escape because heat and smoke rise, making it much easier for the firefighters to see. It also reduces the possibilities of backdraft and flashover.
Another reason for venting the roof is to see how far the fire has progressed. Fires spread through attics especially quickly. Firefighters may go ahead of the fire on a roof, cut holes to access the attic, and stop the fire from spreading.
How hot does a house fire get?
It depends on the materials that are burning. Now, more than ever, our modern conveniences are made of synthetics instead of Mother Nature's raw materials. When plastics or other petroleum-based products burn, temperatures can reach 1,200 degrees.
I have bees on my property. Can the Fire Department remove them?
If the bees are attacking a person, dial 911. We use a type of soapy foam for bee removal.