About the St. Thomas Fire Department

The St. Thomas Fire Department has a very rich and storied history.  First formed as a fire department in 1850, it has since that time very capably and professionally provided fire protection services to the citizens of this city.  Over the years this service has changed dramatically.  For example, it has evolved from the bucket brigades and horse drawn steamers of over a century and a half ago, to a modern fire service equipped with: computerized fire apparatus, respiratory protection equipment complete with heads up displays and temperature sensing equipment, state of the art firefighter personal protective equipment, gas detection equipment, thermal imaging camera and powerful electric motor vehicle extrication equipment (remember the old "Jaws of Life").

Today, the St. Thomas Fire Department responds to all hazards and all emergencies, including: fires, explosions, all rescues, medical emergencies, hazardous materials incidents, motor vehicle and transportation incidents, emergencies involving utilities, alarm calls, and all other calls for assistance.

However, despite these modern advances, expanding services and a focus on safety, the job of a firefighter has become increasingly more dangerous.  With modern building construction techniques, the components used to construct newer buildings (while safe and strong under normal conditions), will fail much more rapidly under fire and high heat conditions.  This creates circumstances where floors, walls, ceilings and roofs will collapse much more quickly.  In addition, materials used to furnish homes and businesses and to finish interiors will, under fire conditions, emit very high heat and highly toxic smoke and gases that can be absorbed through the skin.

Not only does this present a risk to firefighters, but also to the occupants of buildings who must move very quickly to escape a fire.  Only a few breaths of toxic smoke will render a person unconscious.  Ceiling temperatures within a room with a fire can reach 500 to 1000 º C within 3 minutes.  Below you will find the Office of the Fire Marshal's video "No Time to Spare," which demonstrates how quickly a fire in a typical home can accelerate to the point where conditions rapidly become non-survivable.  Residents may have less than 2 minutes to escape from a fire in a home under the right conditions.  The vast majority of fire fatalities occur while occupants are sleeping.


Fires and home accidents are a part of the human experience and will always occur.  However, we can help protect ourselves, our family members and our friends by:

  • Have working smoke alarms/carbon monoxide detectors installed outside all sleeping areas and on every floor/level of the home.
  • Have a practiced/drilled home escape plan with two ways out of every room and a designated meeting point outside.
  • Adopt a fire safe lifestyle that includes: safe smoking practices; safe cooking practices; inspected code compliant electrical wiring; regularly clean and inspect fireplace/wood stove/furnace chimneys; use of candles safely in a container; practice the safe use of barbeques in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions; water natural Christmas Trees, practice swimming pool safety; eliminate slipping, tripping and falling hazards around the home, etc.
  • Whenever possible, when going to bed or when leaving the home, close the doors to all rooms (this can help contain a fire).
  • Consider installing home sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers (and learn how to use them).
    Encourage family members to learn how to perform first aid, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and how to use a defibrillator.

To proactively address community safety issues, the St. Thomas Fire Department incorporates comprehensive public safety education programming, fire inspection and code enforcement services, home education visits, station tours, school visits, fire drill facilitation, education booths at major community events and pre-fire planning of major occupancies into the menu of services that it offers.  It endorses the Office of the Fire Marshal's "Three Lines of Defense" that includes education, enforcement and emergency response.

Firefighters working for the St. Thomas Fire Department receive excellent training and professional development at all levels including: recruit firefighter training, firefighter training and officer/supervisor level training.  All personnel are encouraged to become life-long learners, must attain certain NFPA certifications and must maintain their competencies in: firefighting, medical response, water/ice rescue, motor vehicle rescue, confined space rescue, and hazardous materials response, in addition to completing their regular training and other additional courses.  The Department is currently in the process of adopting the "Blue Card" Incident Command Program.

Mission Statement
The mission of the St. Thomas Fire Department is to minimize the loss of life and property resulting from fire, medical emergencies, and other disasters.

We will accomplish our mission through prevention, education, fire suppression, medical services, and other related emergency and non-emergency activities. We will actively participate in our community, serve as role models, and strive to effectively and efficiently utilize all the resources at our command to provide a service deemed excellent by our citizens.
Communications
The communications section of the St. Thomas Fire Dept. has four fulltime personnel who dispatch emergency calls for the St. Thomas Fire Department. These people are responsible for information gathering at the time of the call, dispatching the correct station and giving directions to locations for the responding firefighters. These Dispatchers continue to support the on-scene crew by contacting police, ambulance or utilities as required by the Incident Commander. Dispatchers also keep a chronological record of events as they happen and document the arrival and departure of all Units at the scene.

The communications department is also the after-hours answering service for the City of St. Thomas. It is through this service that after hours calls for Animal Control, Board of Works and any other city department are forwarded.
Administration
The Administration of the St. Thomas Fire Department is comprised of the Fire Chief, the Deputy Fire Chief and the Office Administrator.

It is the responsibility of these individuals to develop, implement, and oversee the administration and direction of this Department. 

For administrative contact information please visit our Fire Department directory page.