Fire & Rescue – An ISO Class 3 Rated Community

The Defiance Fire and Rescue Division provides fire prevention, fire suppression and responds to medical emergencies within the City of Defiance and Defiance Township.

On August 19, 1872, Defiance’s elected officials approved an ordinance to organize the community’s first fire company, Liberty Company No. 1, under the direction of Chief Engineer John F. Deatrick, Sr. and a handful of dedicated volunteers.

Fast forward 150 years and the Firefighters of the City of Defiance are still dedicated to saving lives and protecting property. The members of the Defiance Fire and Rescue Division provide fire prevention, fire suppression and respond to medical emergencies within the City of Defiance and Defiance Township. In addition, the Fire Division is contracted to provide EMS services to Noble Township.

The department is currently staffed with 26 career firefighters (with two being the Fire Chief and Assistant Chief) and six part-time firefighters. The career firefighters are separated into three platoons with eight personnel per shift working 24 hours on with 48 hours off. The shifts have a minimum staffing of six personnel with one being an officer.

The Assistant Fire Chief is in charge of the Fire Prevention Bureau. It is the goal of the bureau to inspect every commercial building once per year. In order to meet this goal, line firefighters assist the Assistant Chief in performing fire safety inspections. Not only does this help with preventing a fire, but in the event that a fire does occur, the firefighters are familiar with the building because they have been in the structure when visibility was optimal.

The Division takes a pro-active approach to fire and life safety. Effort is directed toward prevention activities with the purpose of making all buildings safe and the community more safety conscious.

The fire suppression, technical rescue and emergency medical services continue to require up-to-date training by the staff. Each firefighter is required to obtain continuing education credits to maintain their certifications per the State of Ohio. The Division trains daily to ensure that when an emergency arises they are prepared to answer the call.


Dial 911 For Emergencies Only!

Emergencies are:
• Serious medical problems (i.e. chest pain, seizures, bleeding)
• Any type of fire
• Life threatening situations

All other situations are considered a non-emergency. Dial the agency’s listed telephone number,
(419) 782-2771, for non-emergencies.

Do Not Program 911 into your Speed Dial
Programming the number invites accidental dialing. This needlessly burdens the dispatchers with non-emergency calls.

If 911 is dialed in error, do not hang up!
Stay on the telephone and explain to the dispatcher that you dialed in error and there is no emergency situation. If you hang up without explaining, officers will be dispatched to the caller’s location.

In case of an emergency, be brief and specific
“I’m reporting an auto fire” or “I’m reporting a medical emergency” are examples of brief and specific explanations. Stay on the line with the dispatcher until the dispatcher instructs you to hang up. The dispatcher may keep you on the line to obtain further information or ask additional questions until emergency personnel arrives.

Let the dispatcher ask questions
Dispatchers have been trained to ask pertinent questions that will prioritize the incident, locate the area, and send out the appropriate assistance.


The following services are provided by the Defiance Fire Department:
• Emergency Medical Services
• Rescue
• Fire suppression
• Fire prevention and public education
• Hazardous materials response
• Swift water and Ice rescue

Note: Neither CPR or First Aid classes are offered at this location.


Three out of every four responses by the Defiance Fire and Rescue Division are for emergency medical services. In 2021, the Fire and Rescue Division responded to 2,539 EMS calls. The Division provides emergency medical services to the City of Defiance, Defiance Township, and Noble Township; approximately 60 sq. miles with a population of 19,628.

22 of the Division’s 26 full-time personnel are dual certified as Firefighters and Paramedics. The remaining four full-time personnel have certified at the EMT-Basic level. The Division’s part-time personnel also hold emergency medical certifications as EMT Basic or Paramedic.

The Division operates three rescue squads with drugs and state-of-the-art equipment that include:
• Cardiac monitor/defibrillators with 12-lead EKG capability
• Capnography
• Autovent
• Medication-assisted intubation
• Continuous positive airway pressure
• Lucas Device for CPR

The Division transports patients to Defiance Regional Medical Center or Mercy Hospital. The City charges $700 plus $18.00 per loaded mile for basic life support and transport, $900 plus $18.00 per loaded mile for Level 1 advanced life support, and $1,000 plus $18.00 per loaded mile for Level 2 advanced life support. These charges help reduce the amount of tax dollars needed to fund the Division.

The Fire and Rescue Division’s most common rescue response is for motor vehicle accidents. The Division is also called upon to handle a wide variety of less-frequent types of rescue situations including industrial accidents, farm accidents, water and ice emergencies, trench collapse, elevator entrapment and high-angle incidents.

Just as Defiance Fire and Rescue Division personnel are dual certified as firefighters and emergency medical technicians, the Division’s apparatus is dual equipped for both fire suppression and rescue.

Engines 222 and 223 are equipped with a full set of hydraulic rescue tools, cribbing, air bags, air chisels, saws and assorted hand tools.

Tower 230 is equipped with a full set of rope and hardware for high-angle rescue. Ladder 231 carries a smaller set of rope and hardware.

The Division operates one rescue boat that is operated out of the Central Fire Station.

The close proximity of homes in Defiance’s older neighborhoods, the downtown business district, factories, and the large commercial buildings and “big box stores” on the city’s north end all present fire suppression challenges for the Fire and Rescue Division.

The Division responded to 580 calls for fires, fire alarms and hazardous situations in 2021 including 14 structure fires. The Division provides fire response to the City of Defiance and Defiance Township, approximately 35 sq. miles.

The Division maintains staffing of a minimum of six full-time personnel around the clock on station to ensure rapid response to fires. Part-time personnel are utilized to provide additional staffing in the station, and all off-duty full-time and part-time personnel are automatically paged to respond to structure fires.

The Division has automatic aid agreements with Noble Township and Highland Township to ensure multi-station response to structure fires in all three jurisdictions.

The Division operates two engines, one 90-foot aerial platform, one 75-foot aerial ladder, one brush fire truck, one utility truck and two command vehicles.

The Fire and Rescue Division routinely conducts fire safety inspections of businesses and other publicly occupied buildings.

Fire station tours and public education visits by Division personnel can be scheduled by calling (419) 782-2771.

The Fire and Rescue Division works closely with the Defiance County Emergency Management Agency, the Local Emergency Planning Committee and the Defiance County Hazardous Materials Team to prepare for and respond to hazardous materials incidents.

Hazardous materials are used extensively in area manufacturing processes and are transported through the city on roads and rail lines.



Apparatus replacement has taken place over the past six years with the purchase of two new EMS squads, one in 2016 for $197,973, and one in 2019 for $200,942. A new engine was delivered in May, 2018 at a cost of $471,298; $200,000 of which was funded through a State Grant submitted by the City of Defiance and Defiance Township. One older EMS squad and one older engine were sold. A third squad is being replaced in late spring of 2023 at a cost of $254,305.

The next major apparatus replacement will be T-230, a 1988 aerial platform with 31 years of service. Estimated cost to replace this vehicle is $1.5 million with over a one-year delivery date. Grant applications have been submitted to FEMA to assist with the purchase.

Fire Dept Patch

Contact Information:

Fire & Rescue Division
702 West Third Street
Defiance, Ohio 43512

Fax 419.782.2025

Fire Chief  Bill Wilkins

Fire Emergency

If you have a fire at your house:

  1. GET OUT of the house IMMEDIATELY.
    DO NOT go back in.
  2. Call 9-1-1 from a neighbor’s house and wait for the fire department.
  3. Advise the 9-1-1 operator of anyone who may still be in the house.
  4. Advise the 9-1-1 operator of any hazards which may exist such as ammunition, flammables such as gasoline in the garage, etc.

Make sure that you have a pre-arranged place to meet other family members after they have left your house. Download the Home Escape Plan and Escape Plan Grid below:

Join Our Team

Do you ever wonder what it would be like to ride on a fire truck or work in the back of an ambulance? Has this always been a dream of yours, but you never knew how to get started?

The Defiance Fire and Rescue Division is accepting applications to become a part-time firefighter. The part-time firefighter assists the full-time fire personnel in providing fire, rescue, and EMS services to the City of Defiance and surrounding mutual aid areas.

PT Firefighter Job Description

FFM Candidate Orientation Guide

Background Check Form

Employment Application

An informational packet, including the linked forms above, is available at the Central Fire Station, 702 W. Third Street in Defiance, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday thru Friday. Call with questions, (419) 782-2771.

Fire Chief:  Bill Wilkins

Asst. Fire Chief:  Tim Bowling


The Defiance Fire Station, with the assistance of the Defiance Zonta Club, made history in September, 2019 by installing the first Safe Haven Baby Box at a fire station in Ohio. The station was chosen due to the level of anonymity it provides. The Safe Haven Law allows people to anonymously surrender their healthy newborn without fear of criminal prosecution.

The box is equipped with an alarm system, heating and cooling features, and locks as soon as a baby is placed inside. Firefighters have been trained in operation of the box as well as the protocols in place to transport the child to the nearest hospital.

A 24-hour hotline (1-866-99BABY1, 1-866-992-2291) is available to give women the opportunity to talk to a trained professional as they consider safely surrendering their baby.