Policy & Procedure
About Our Policy
The procedures and policies we use are proactive and current with the industry standards. This is in the best interests of the city and the safety of our firefighters and citizens. Most people that die in a fire die from smoke inhalation, not the fire. A full response with adequate fire suppression personnel is their best chance for survival. Below is an explanation of how our department operates and why.
Fire fighting is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. Fire doubles in size every 20 seconds with temperatures rising to over 1,800 degrees. Smoke is so thick that you can not see your hand in front of your face. Firefighters are wearing approximately 70 pounds of gear and have to crawl while pulling hose and carrying equipment. The stress and exertion levels are high, and although in good shape, exertion comes quickly. Interior attack and rescue teams need to be rotated. The success of a good fire department comes from good training, good equipment, physical fitness, and enough firefighters on the scene to perform this dangerous job safely and efficiently.
Incident Command System
Our department utilizes the Incident Command System. This system organizes tasks and responsibilities like any well run business. In the past, firefighters would free lance, doing whatever function they felt like at a fire scene. This system was disorganized with no accountability on the fire ground. Firefighters who were lost during operations were not missed until it was too late and the efficiency of the firefighting operations was poor. Due to increased liability and a need to be more accountable with how we use our personnel and equipment, operational changes needed to be made.
NFPA & OSHA Standards
Due to approximately 100 firefighter deaths per year the NFPA and OSHA mandated changes in fire-ground operations. Incident Command, Personnel Accountability, Two In Two Out (Rapid Intervention Team), and Safety Officers were made required standards that would increase firefighter safety and improve firefighting operations. NFPA standard 1500 addresses Occupational Health and Safety including fire ground Incident Command, Rapid Intervention Teams, and Communications. NFPA standard 1521 addresses the Safety Officer. NFPA standard 1561 addresses Emergency Incident Management System. NFPA standard 1710 addresses the number of personnel required to meet these improved standards and safety for firefighting personnel during firefighting operations. When the required positions are filled there are a minimum of 14 firefighters needed on scene. MIOSHA part 74 addresses Fire Fighting Operations and the duties of the employer. MIOSHA part 554 addresses Bloodborne infectious Diseases and protective gear. MIOSHA part 42, 92, 430 addresses Hazard Communications. MIOSHA part 451 addresses Respiratory Protection. The Department policies are developed based on MIOSHA regulations and NFPA standards.
The Royal Oak Fire Department takes pride in the fact no firefighter has ever died in the line of duty. The fire loss records indicate the majority of fires in Royal Oak are contained to the room and contents and few citizens have died. The Department feels this is due to the quick response with the right number of professional firefighters trained and equipped to do the job.
NFPA also calls for four Firefighters per truck; so more people reach the scene ready to make entry, protect property, and conduct the other jobs necessary for fire ground operations. Although our department can not place four firefighters per truck, we meet the standard by placing the required number of personnel on the scene by sending additional apparatus. Keep in mind that all apparatus are in service by radio and as soon as the Incident Commander has determined whether there is a fire or not, these apparatus can be called upon to respond quickly to other emergency calls.
The Fire Department is responsible for providing emergency services to our city of 11.78 square miles with a population of over 57,000. The current staffing for the department is 56. There are five staff officers (Chief, Asst. Chief, Marshal, Inspector, and EMS Coordinator) and 51 fire suppression personnel (3 shifts of 17). The run total was 5,878 in 2015. This is due to the increased medical care and transport we now provide to our citizens.
The Department policies and procedures follow accepted industry standards. These policies and standards ensure the safety of our personnel while doing a highly dangerous job.