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 147 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 29 career firefighters (with two being the Assistant Chief and Fire Chief) and two part-time firefighters. The career firefighters are separated into three platoons with nine personnel per shift working 24 hours on with 48 hours off. The shifts have a minimum staffing of seven personnel.
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!
• 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. Non-emergency incidents include those not in progress and non-injury auto accidents.
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
• Fire suppression
• Fire prevention and public education
• Hazardous materials response
• Swift water and Ice rescue
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES
Three out of every four responses by the Defiance Fire and Rescue Division are for emergency medical services. In 2018, the Fire and Rescue Division responded to 2,268 EMS calls. The Division provides emergency medical services to the City of Defiance, Defiance Township, and Noble Township.
20 of the Division’s 29 full-time personnel are dual certified as Firefighters and Paramedics. The remaining nine full-time personnel are certified at the EMT-Basic level. The Division’s part-time personnel also hold emergency medical certifications as EMT Basic.
The Division operates three rescue squads with drugs and state-of-the-art equipment that include:
• Cardiac monitor/defibrillators with 12-lead EKG capability
• 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 two rescue boats that are stored on a trailer at 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 536 calls for fires, fire alarms and hazardous situations in 2018 including 45 structure fires.
The Division maintains staffing of a minimum of seven 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 tower, one 75-foot aerial ladder, one brush fire truck, one utility truck and two command vehicles.
FIRE PREVENTION AND PUBLIC EDUCATION
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.
HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RESPONSE
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.
Fire & Rescue Division
702 West Third Street
Defiance, Ohio 43512
Fire Chief Bill Wilkins
If you have a fire at your house:
- GET OUT of the house IMMEDIATELY.
DO NOT go back in.
- Call 9-1-1 from a neighbor’s house and wait for the fire department.
- Advise the 9-1-1 operator of anyone who may still be in the house.
- 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 prearranged 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.
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
SAFE HAVEN BABY BOX
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.
Department Staffing with S.A.F.E.R. Grant
The Fire Division received a Federal S.A.F.E.R. Grant in 2018 for funding to assist with the hiring of six new Firefighters. The grant provides assistance with wages and benefit costs at 75% for years one and two, and 35% for year three. Prior to the grant, Division staffing was seven personnel per shift with a minimum of five on duty with approved leaves, and call back to four. With the grant funding, shifts are at nine personnel per shift with a minimum of seven on duty with approved leaves, and call back to four. Personnel were hired and assigned to shifts on October 15, 2018. This was the first increase in staffing since 2000.
Clinton Street Bridge Operations
The closure of the Clinton Street bridge required the Division to open a second temporary station on the north side of the river while maintaining its existing station on the south side at Third and Perry. This was accomplished with the purchase of a residential property at 22525 Mill Street (St. Rt. 15 W) aside the EMA building. Living quarters for personnel are located in the residence and equipment is housed in the EMA building. EMA equipment is currently housed at the south side station.
Operations began out of the north side station on January 28, 2019. Four personnel are on station at the Mill Street location and have two EMS squads, one engine, one aerial tower and one echo vehicle. Four personnel are also staffing the south side with two EMS squads, two engines, one aerial ladder and one grass/echo vehicle. Backfilling of both stations is received from Delaware, Highland, Jewell, Noble, South Richland, Sherwood, and Tiffin Township Departments.
Apparatus replacement has taken place over the past five 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 is being retained during the bridge construction. They will be sold upon completion of the project and personnel will return to the south side station.
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 $1.2 million with a one-year delivery date. Grant applications have been submitted to FEMA to assist with the purchase.