When a fire seems small, why do so many fire engines respond?
The standard response to a residential structure fire includes three engine companies, one ladder truck company, one rescue truck and one chief officer. As soon as the first arriving engine determines that other resources are not needed, they are immediately released. The main goal of the Tuscaloosa Fire & Rescue Service is to save lives and property, and this level of response is necessary to accomplish our goal over 95 percent of the time.
How do I get a copy of a fire report?
A fire run report is available from Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue administrative offices on the first floor of the City Hall Annex at 2201 University Blvd. For more information, call 205-248-5420 during office hours (Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-5 p.m.).
Does the fire department give away smoke alarms?
We do not give away smoke alarms, but we install them free of charge in homes that need one. Our goal is to provide at-risk citizens an opportunity for an early warning in the event of a fire in their home. Call 205-248-5445 to arrange for an installation.
Why do I have to dial 9-1-1? Can't I call my nearest fire station direct and save time?
The 9-1-1 emergency system is designed to save valuable seconds. When you dial 9-1-1, the system routes the police or fire unit that is closest to your home. Fire stations are not properly equipped to take emergency calls, and calling the station directly actually wastes response time. Often there may be no firefighters at the station because of training or other emergencies.
Why does a fire engine respond with the ambulance?
Why do crews work 24-hour shifts?
Because crews work 24-hour shifts, the average firefighter work week is 56 hours. If crews were to work eight-hour shifts (40-hour weeks), an entire fourth shift of 18 people would need to be added. This is the most cost-effective work schedule for fire protection.
Why do I see fire department crews at the grocery store?
Because crews work a 24-hour shift, they must eat their lunch and dinner at the station. The firefighters eat the same meal as a group. The crews pay for their food out of their own pockets. Each morning after equipment is checked and housework completed, one of the vehicles (engine or ambulance) will make a quick trip to the grocery store to purchase the food for the shift. All crews remain in service to respond to calls during this time.
Why do firefighters break windows and cut holes in roofs when the fire is inside a building?
Fire in a building creates a tremendous amount of heat and smoke. It may seem like they're causing more damage than the fire, but in many instances firefighters must remove heat and smoke before they can get close enough to extinguish the fire. Because heat and smoke rise, cutting a hole in the roof and breaking out windows in strategic locations allows the smoke to vent upwards, allowing cool air to enter the structure from below. This improves visibility and lowers heat conditions for the firefighters inside, allowing them to quickly and safely extinguish the fire. Remember, heat and smoke cause damage too, so ventilation will actually reduce overall damage to a building and its contents.
How do I become a firefighter?
Applications are available online at tuscaloosa.com/government/work-with-us or at the Human Resource Department on the second floor of the City Hall Annex at 2201 University Blvd. Applications for public safety positions are accepted year-round. View the hiring process at the Firefighter Hiring Procedures page. For more information, call the Human Resource Department at 205-248-5230.
Do you get cats out of trees?
What do I do when I am driving and see approaching emergency vehicles displaying sirens and red lights?
Safely pull to the right and stop until the emergency vehicle has passed. Be aware that there may be more than one emergency vehicle that needs to pass.