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Fire Operations & EMS

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Fire Suppression

The primary purpose of the Birmingham Fire Department is to save lives and protect property. To successfully accomplish this goal, fires must be kept to a minimum with the possibility of eradication. The methods proving successful are:

  • Training
  • Response time, on average 3 minutes - arriving with a full complement of personnel, apparatus, and equipment
  • Public education
Emergency Medical Services
Birmingham Fire Department Advanced Life Support 
The Birmingham Fire department is proud of the many services we offer to our citizens, businesses, and the general public that enter our borders on a daily basis. The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) rendered by our Department is second to none in quality of care and technology.

Our department has always tried to be proactive and look to the future for the best services to offer our community. In July of 1979 we became state licensed as an Advanced Life Support (ALS) agency, one of the first fire departments in the state of Michigan to accomplish this. Being an ALS agency allows our state licensed Firefighter/Paramedics to treat patients for medical emergencies in a pre-hospital setting using state of the art diagnostic equipment. In just the past decade we have responded to, and treated over, 10,000 requests for help.

As with all types of emergencies response time to the scene, where care can begin being rendered, is extremely important. We take this very seriously and with an average response time of 3 minutes from the time we receive the call, we have one of the best response times in the State. In November, 2012 the Birmingham Fire Department upgraded their EMS service to include “Transporting”. This allows for continuity in care by our firefighter/paramedics. From the time we arrive at the patient’s side, throughout transport to an area hospital and finally transferring medical care to hospital personnel, we will be with the patient. Transport would also provide a revenue stream to the City through the cost recovery of transport fees. Our responses to medical emergencies include not only the life truck, but also an engine. The purpose for this is to have additional manpower for patient care and the ability of the engine to carry heavy-duty extrication equipment. We have also established "Quick" response teams used in venues where we have large crowds, such as our annual Woodward Dream Cruise and our City Fair. Movement through these crowds can be very difficult and the resulting response times to an injured person, poor. In response, we have set up teams responding in golf carts with a central EMS station. This tactic has proven to be very beneficial. The Fire Department has also begun an EMS (quick response) bicycle team. The team consists of two paramedics that respond simultaneously with the life truck to a medical emergency. This further enhances our response times in heavily congested areas.

Our paramedics are required by the State of Michigan to earn educational credits throughout a three year period in order to be re-licensed. Through monthly in-house training conducted by the EMS Coordinator and outside training through Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital, we more than fulfill state licensing requirements.

Since 1979, there has been a continual evolution in pre-hospital emergency medicine that has taken place, which we strive to keep up with. This evolution may be in the form of equipment, training, or both. We have invested in training and equipment for a 12-lead ECG program. This new program allows Paramedics out in the field to identify a patient who is having chest pain and determine whether the patient is having an active Myocardial Infarction (MI), (heart attack) and, if so, notify the receiving hospital of this information along with a 12 lead ECG. This will set into motion a "Cardiac Alert" notification at the hospital where they will assemble a cardiac team to be waiting for the patient arrival. The patient will then bypass the emergency room and go directly to the Cardiac Catheterization Department for definitive care. This new program has been heavily supported by William Beaumont Hospital. We have also added to our already well stocked arsenal of medical emergency equipment to include three Automated External Defibrillators (AED's). These AED's have been well supported by the American Heart Association for the purpose of early defibrillation in cardiac arrest. This equipment will allow non-paramedic firefighters to administer this life saving treatment to patients in cardiac arrest prior to the arrival of a Paramedic.

Your Birmingham Fire Department will continue to strive to offer the best advanced life support system possible through continued education and practical training sessions.

Hazardous Materials

Birmingham is proud to house Oakway Haz-Mat I and the Oakway Haz-Mat foam trailer, these special response vehicles are funded and manned by the surrounding Oakway mutual aid communities, which include Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Farmington Hills, Ferndale, Madison Heights, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak, Southfield, Waterford Regional which includes Pontiac and West Bloomfield. The Haz-Mat Team consists of 80 members trained to the Technician Level. The Team responds to and mitigates incidents such as chemical spills, gas releases, biological threats and acts of terrorism. It also has the capability to decontaminate involved persons. Training for the Oakway Haz-Mat Team is ongoing throughout the year.

Technical Rescue

The Birmingham Fire Department has continued to progress in the area of technical rescue. The department has a 26ft trailer equipped with various lifting, cutting and shoring tools to provide the newest and most advanced technology in rescue operations. The completion of our training tower will allow continued training throughout the year in high angle rescue, confined space, and structural collapse. Currently, five team members have completed the extensive Rescue Technician Program (technician level is the highest level of training) and will be continuing to train all department members to the operations level.

Vehicle Extrication

Vehicle extrication is the art and science of removing a vehicle from around an injured person. The Birmingham Fire Department attributes its success in vehicle extrication to both frequent training and quality equipment. The Birmingham Fire Department uses gasoline powered-hydraulic extrication equipment consisting of pumps, spreaders, rams and combination tools. With spreading forces in excess of 24,000 pounds, these special hydraulic tools provide the Fire Department with the technology to meet the challenge.

Radiological Incidents

All Birmingham Fire Department response personnel train biannually on radiological response. This training includes response, identification, physics, radiological hazards and mitigation. Additional equipment is also carried on the Oakway Haz-Mat response vehicle, which is stationed within the City of Birmingham.