The Suppression Division is responsible for life, safety and preservation of property, with dedicated firefighters on call 24 hours a day responding to those in need.
Whether it’s a medical emergency, structure fire or victim trapped in a wrecked vehicle, the firefighters responding to an emergency must draw on the knowledge and skills obtained through the Huntsville Fire & Rescue’s Training Division. Ongoing training consists of structural firefighting, emergency medical services, forcible entry, vehicle extrication, emergency vehicle operation, fire investigation and other specialized skills.
Hazmat and heavy rescue personnel also provide technical rescue training, which consists of rope, confined space, structural collapse, trench, water and hazardous materials.
Firefighters seeking realistic training scenarios from around the world have attended courses hosted by Huntsville Fire & Rescue’s Training Division. As a Regional Training Facility for the Alabama Fire College, most certifications obtained through the Training Division are IFSAC and ProBoard accredited, making them transferrable at most places.
Huntsville Fire & Rescue began providing Emergency Medical Services (EMS) at the Basic Life Support (BLS) level in 2005 at some of the City’s outlying stations. Since that time, we have grown the program to include all 19 stations and developed an Advanced Life Support (ALS) program for our heavy rescue and hazmat teams. During the Fire Academy, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training is an intense 12-week program covering topics such as trauma, cardiology and medical emergencies.
To maintain their license, shift personnel complete at least 20 continuing education hours for EMT, 25 hours for advanced EMT and 30 hours for paramedic each year. This continuing education includes online course work, classroom education and skills training and testing.
Support Services personnel provide logistical support to Huntsville Fire & Rescue, which is critical to the daily function of the department. The Support Services warehouse is stocked with a wide variety of consumable and durable products utilized in the fire service. Departmental personnel identify needs daily by requisition, which are promptly delivered. Maintenance services are coordinated and performed routinely by skilled personnel and contractors. Personal Protective Equipment (PP”) and uniforms are issued by Support Services personnel. Budgetary and grant management functions are also provided by this division.
The Fire Communications Division processes and dispatches all fire and medical emergency response in the City of Huntsville. The division includes 13 dispatchers, three shift supervisors and a manager within the Huntsville-Madison County 911 Center. All Fire Communications personnel are certified as Emergency Fire Dispatchers and Emergency Medical Dispatchers through the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch. This training provides personnel with specific questions to ask for different types of emergencies and provides instructions for callers until emergency units arrive on scene.
The training phase for personnel is approximately 4-5 months. Dispatchers must be able to multi-task and have extensive knowledge of the geography of the City to include specific buildings, landmarks and fire station districts. Personnel work closely with the Operations and Special Operations divisions to relay essential information obtained from a caller and ensure the most appropriate response for any given situation. Dispatchers are also tasked with answering non-emergency calls and assisting citizens with non-emergency related questions or concerns, keeping records of each response and maintaining the location of all units. In addition to working closely with dispatchers for other emergency response agencies, this division is the backup for the Huntsville-Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA).