Department Information

/Department Information

Department Information

The Newburgh Heights Fire Department was organized in 1943 as a volunteer department and has grown into a modern firefighting/paramedic operation. The Village of Newburgh Heights offers safety to its citizens by providing a Fire Department operating from a modern fire station equipped with the highest quality Fire and EMS equipment. The Fire Station is located at 4105 Harvard Ave.

The fire department is staffed with a Fire Chief, Assistant Fire Chief, 5 Lieutenants and 17 firefighters. The minimum staffing each day is two part time firefighters/paramedics, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The majority of the staff are also State of Ohio certified paramedics delivering Advanced Life Support level of care to the ill and injured.

We are part of the Cuyahoga Valley Regional Fire Departments which includes the following fire departments: Cuyahoga Hts., Brooklyn Hts., Independence, Valley View, Seven Hills, Broadview Hts., and Brecksville.

With our Automatic Aid Agreement with these fire departments we are strategically able to bring 12 to 15 additional firefighters to assist our firefighters to control most fires in their infancy before major damage can occur.

Department equipment includes 1 Engine, 2 ambulances, and 2 support vehicles.\

The Newburgh Heights Fire Department utilizes the latest equipment such as the Thermal Imaging Camera. This camera permits a firefighter to locate victims in the smoke charged atmosphere of a fire. The camera also allows the firefighter to quickly locate the area of the fire that may be hidden in walls which leads to early extinguishment and minimizes the spread of fire.

Southwest Council of Governments – Southwest Emergency Response Team (SERT).

The Village of Newburgh Heights is active with 21 (Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and the Metropolitan Park Rangers have joined) other neighboring villages & cities to provide various emergency services that each village or city by itself cannot afford to invest the time and equipment necessary to provide adequate response.

Through this partnership, the Southwest Region of Cuyahoga County has available to it the following resource Teams:

    • Hazardous Material Team
    • Technical Rescue Team
    • Dive Rescue Team.
    • Fire Investigation Unit.

The Newburgh Heights Fire Department provides (1) member to the Technical Rescue Team and (1) member to the Fire Investigation Unit. The Newburgh Heights Fire Department’s SERT members were called out to assist on 3 separate incidents in 2017.

Fire Prevention

Attempts at reducing the fire losses are carried out through codes, ordinances, and inspections of properties for hazards. Yet these efforts have not produced a solution to the problem. The reality is that, in most cases, buildings and material goods do not start fires – people do.

The basis of a good prevention program therefore is the attitude and concern of individuals toward fire. The lives and property of everyone in a community can be threatened by fire, hence everyone should (and can) play a role in fire prevention – the head of a household who decides to buy (or not to buy) a smoke detector; the child who has learned (or not learned) what steps to take if their clothes catch fire; the restaurant patron who makes a point of checking exit locations in a crowded establishment before enjoying a meal (or who remains oblivious to the basic precautions in places of assembly). Such actions or lack of them can be construed as part of fire prevention management (or mismanagement) in the broadest sense.

The Newburgh Heights Fire Department’s fire prevention bureau is responsible for the key elements of comprehensive prevention program: public fire and life safety education, enforcement and development of codes and ordinances, pre-construction plans review, monitoring the testing of fire protection and suppression systems, and fire and life safety inspections.

The Newburgh Heights Fire Department’s fire prevention effort couples code enforcement with quality public fire and life safety education programs to prevent loss of life and property from fire. Programs and activities are provided that constantly remind the public to avoid careless activities and teach the proper methods for individual response to fire. They help to develop concerns, and can be very effective in creating awareness and widespread support.

Fire prevention and life safety are the responsibility of every member of the fire department, with all efforts coordinated by the Fire Prevention Bureau. Fire Inspector Lieutenant Eric Klonowski is assisted by station duty personnel in accomplishing the fire and life safety inspections of properties throughout the Village.

To provide a comprehensive prevention program that protects the lives and property of citizens and businesses is a formidable challenge for today’s fire service. The fire service is often the first responder to emergencies caused not only by fire and medical emergencies but also other environmental hazards – floods, building collapses, storms, hazardous materials incidents, and so on. Consequently, a department’s prevention efforts need to focus not only on fires and emergency medical incidents but also on this expanded range of concerns.

The Newburgh Heights Fire Department prevention efforts reflect the expanded range of concerns. It encompasses fire prevention and a variety of fire and life safety issues.

Report all fires immediately

For these reasons, it is important to remember to report all fires immediately, no matter how small they are. This will insure a rapid response to the situation. Additionally, do not assume that someone else called the fire department. When you see a fire, it is important that you call 911 to report the incident. This way, you are sure that we were called. There have been incidents where people have seen fires and assumed someone else reported the incident, when in actuality, no one had called.

The need for adequate personnel

As we have seen from the above description, time is of the essence in a fire emergency. Just as important is having the appropriate resources to accomplish a multitude of tasks. There are many functions that must be accomplished simultaneously within the first few minutes upon arrival to prevent the situation from getting out of control. These functions are listed below:

 

  1. Water supply – While Engine 54 carries 500 gallons of water, it may not be enough to extinguish the fire. The engine operator is responsible for initially using the Engine 54’s own water to supply firefighters. The operator then connects a hose line between the fire hydrant and the Engine 54. This person is assisted by another firefighter who connects the hose to the hydrant and turns the hydrant on.
  2. Attack Hose line – New standards governing the fire service recommend 2 firefighters on each hose line. This crew is responsible for attacking the fire with water.
  3. Back-up Hose line – Firefighting is an extremely dangerous and high risk environment. Even a fire that appears to be small can explode instantly into a much larger fire overwhelming the first hose line. It is an industry standard to have a back-up hose line with at least 2 firefighters ready to go or possibly attacking the fire if it is large enough.
  4. Search and Rescue – Minimally 2 firefighters are required for this task. Depending on the size of the building, more personnel may be required.
  5. Ventilation – To immediately improve the building conditions for the victims and assist the search and rescue crews, ventilation is completed early to release the smoke and help control the fire.
  6. Utilities – One firefighter immediately begins shutting down the electric and gas utilities. This is done for the safety of the firefighters and to prevent the spread of fire from these hazards.
  7. Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) – This team of no less than 3 firefighters assembles equipment outside the fire building and stands ready to jump into action if a fellow firefighter becomes lost or trapped.
  8. Safety/Accountability – One firefighter or officer is assigned to be responsible for the safety of all personnel operating at the emergency. This person reviews tasks being performed for safety as well as monitors the condition of the building. If the safety officer feels the building is becoming unsafe, they can order firefighters out.
  9. Command – One officer, who is not part of the actual firefighting crew, remains outside of the fire building to constantly assess the effectiveness of the firefighters actions. If all is going well, the fire will begin to decrease. If the fire is winning the battle, the officer needs to assess the safety of the building and the need for more resources.

We are part of the Cuyahoga Valley Regional Fire Departments which includes the following fire departments: Cuyahoga Hts., Brooklyn Hts., Independence, Valley View, Seven Hills, Broadview Hts., and Brecksville.

With our Automatic Aid Agreement with these fire departments we are strategically able to bring 12 to 15 additional firefighters to assist our firefighters to fill these assignments and control most fires in their infancy before major damage can occur.

Emergency Medical Service (EMS)

EMS General Information
As the fire service has evolved to be more heavily involved in emergency medical services (EMS), it is necessary to regularly review and update our operations. Consistently, EMS calls account for approximately 80% – 85% of total calls for the department annually.

 

The Newburgh Heights Fire Department has delivered emergency medical services (EMS) for many years. In the early years, our department was a volunteer department there were very few tools for personnel to utilize and the training consisted of mostly basic first aid. Since that time, the services delivered have greatly improved. Today, the Newburgh Heights Fire Department offers high-quality paramedic-level service on a 24-hour basis with a minimum of two Firefighter/EMT- Paramedics on duty.

 

While there are many different ways to deliver emergency medical services, the Newburgh Heights Fire Department has chosen one of the most cost effective methods available. In order to minimize costs, the department utilizes cross-trained personnel, that is, personnel trained in both emergency medicine and fire fighting. These personnel are responsible for both fire suppression and emergency medical response.
 
Why does the fire truck go on ambulance calls?
You may wonder why sometimes a fire truck responds with the ambulance for EMS calls. On calls where information given to the dispatcher indicates that the emergency may truly be life threatening, such as heart attacks or a person unconscious, a fire truck responds with additional personnel so the patient gets the highest level of care possible. These truly life threatening emergencies require multiple actions to be taken simultaneously and fast! The additional firefighters and paramedics on the fire truck assist the paramedics on the ambulance not only at the scene, but sometimes during the transport to the hospital.
 
Will you receive a bill for the ambulance?
Ambulance billing was started to help defray the cost of operations. For Newburgh Heights Residents, the basic premise of ambulance billing is to bill the insurance company for emergency transports. These charges are covered in most health care insurance policies. The City accepts medicare, medicaid, and insurance company payments. The amount left over for the resident patient to pay is forgiven and written off. Because we deal with payment providers, Newburgh Heights Residents should not receive an invoice for services delivered. You may receive correspondence from our billing agent, Great Lakes Billing if the fire department paramedics or hospital personnel did not or could not obtain your insurance provider’s information. All non-residents will be billed for services not covered by an insurance plan.

 

What is the ambulance billing money used for?
In years past, proceeds from ambulance billing have been used to purchase EMS equipment, and training for paramedics so they can remain current with changes in the emergency health care field. We now have (2) fully equipped Advance Life Support Ambulances. Some examples of equipment purchased the last five years:

Heart Monitors – $56,000

Vacuum Splints & Vacuum Mattress – (2) sets –  

Miscellaneous Equipment & Supplies –


Which hospital will I be taken to?
State law requires paramedics to take patients to the closest and most appropriate facility. Because the language of the law is open to interpretation, the paramedics use their best judgment based on the condition of the patient. If a patient is in an immediate life threatening medical condition, they will be transported to the closest most appropriate facility. If the paramedic determines that the patient’s condition would not worsen during a transport to a facility farther away and is not immediately life threatening, the decision may be made to transport the patient to the hospital of their choice. 

Another factor that weighs in this decision is how busy the ambulances are in the Cuyahoga Valley Regional Fire Departments. For example, if other ambulances are out of their city transporting other patients, the paramedic may decide to transport you to the closest facility. This will allow that ambulance to be available for another call quicker. The greatest difficulty in operating an emergency service is that one never knows when the next emergency will be. This requires us to always be prepared.

Fire Suppression

The Newburgh Heights Fire Department prides itself on minimal fire loss as reported annually in the yearend report. Newburgh Heights Fire Department is responsible for protecting the lives of approximately 2,100 permanent residents and up to over 100,000 people who travel through Newburgh Heights each day.

While the fire service does not necessarily generate many dollars, it is our responsibility to protect the over 500 million dollars of real estate property that generate the tax dollars that make our village strong.

Newburgh Heights does not experience a large number of fires each year. This is a fact our department, and we hope our citizens, are very proud of. While we have smaller number of fires compared to other communities, it does not mean the potential is not there. 

Fire prevention efforts, a well trained staff, and Automatic Aid with neighboring fire departments to provide sufficient staffing and equipment are the key components to effective community fire defense. 

The need for rapid response 

Despite our best efforts to prevent fires, unfortunately they do occur. While fires make up about 15% – 20% of the total emergency incidents for our department, they pose the greatest risk. The risk of fire, of course, is twofold. Initially, fire destroys property, sometimes irreplaceable heirlooms. More importantly, fire can injure a large number of people in a very short amount of time compared to an emergency medical call which usually only involves 1 person. Because of these reasons, it is imperative for the fire rescue service to have the ability to respond with the proper amount of equipment and personnel to have a chance at a successful outcome.

Victims of fires are almost always overcome by smoke before they are threatened by flames. Actually, the majority of fire deaths, 75%, are caused by smoke, not by flames. This smoke is a mixture of carbon monoxide and other deadly gasses and chemicals. Once a victim is overcome by smoke, rescuers have a 4 to 6 minute window to rescue the person and begin life saving resuscitation efforts if there is a chance for a positive outcome.

An event that occurs frequently at structure fires is a phenomenon known as “flashover”. Flashover occurs when every item, from floor to ceiling, reaches its ignition temperature and explodes in flames. Flashover is a critical stage of fire growth for 2 reasons.

 

  1. It is impossible for any person involved in a flashover to survive. Temperatures can be as high as 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Flashover involves a quantum leap in the rate of combustion, thus spreading the fire faster.

A post-flashover fire burns much hotter and moves faster which complicates the search and rescue function in other areas of the building.

This complication requires additional resources of personnel to effectively and safely carry out this function. Flashover can occur in as little as 5 minutes from the beginning of a fire.

 

 

                                                                                                              Fire on Washington Park Blvd. in 2014