What We Do
Fire companies are the basic unit of firefighting with a crew of firefighters assigned to a particular piece of fire apparatus and station. For all fire companies, life safety (search and rescue) is always the first consideration followed by incident stabilization (fire control, attack, suppression, ventilation), and property conservation (overhaul and salvage). All crew members go through extensive and continuous training that is both physically and mentally challenging in order to be able to complete the demanding functions that firefighting requires.
In addition to 82 on-duty firefighters every day, the Madison Fire Department also proudly employs a team of civilian fire prevention officers under the Fire Prevention Division. Code Enforcement Officers inspect all public buildings twice a year to ensure local occupancies are in compliance with fire code and city ordinances. Other duties include testing new sprinkler and alarm systems and reviewing floor plans for new buildings to ensure they are constructed in compliance with fire code.
Emergency Medical Service
All City of Madison Fire Department firefighters are trained at the Wisconsin Emergency Medical Technician - Basic level to support medical calls and to provide basic life support at incidents. In addition, there are more than 90 paramedics trained to provide Advanced Life Support to patients. All paramedics are trained as firefighters as well. Each day, there are eight Advanced Life Support ambulances on duty staffed by two paramedics each, and Engine 14 is staffed with one paramedic and three EMT-Basics.
On any given day and throughout the year, the medics are the busiest units in the City of Madison Fire Department. In addition to responding to all emergency medical calls in the city, medics also respond to structure fires and other fire-related incidents to assist in performing fire ground operations such as fire suppression.
Fire engines (or pumper) are the most common type of company in the City of Madison Fire Department with a total of eleven (11) engines in service on a daily basis. Engines are located at stations 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13. All engines are equipped with a pump, several hundred gallons of water, and large amount of hose line of various sizes for fire attack and exposure protection. Engines also carry ladders to access multiple floor structures, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), tools used for forcible entry and extrication from vehicle accidents, first aid equipment, a variety of hose appliances and tools, and assorted other equipment. The crew of an Engine Company usually consists of an officer, apparatus engineer, and two firefighters.
The primary functions of the engine company are fire attack, life safety (search & rescue), and exposure protection. Depending on the circumstances, Engine Companies will hook up to water sources (e.g. hydrants), quickly deploy hoseline from the vehicle, and attack the fire using a water stream to extinguish the fire while minimizing the water damage to the structure. Engine companies also provide immediate life support and supply additional staff to assist paramedics during EMS incidents.
All four of the City of Madison Fire Department Ladder Companies are equipped with aerial ladders. Ladder companies are located at stations 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8. Equipment usually consists of a full assortment of hand-raised ground ladders, self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), generators to produce power form emergency lighting and equipment, forcible entry and rescue tools, power saws, equipment for overhaul and salvage, salvage covers to protect furniture and fixtures during firefighting operations, emergency medical equipment, and an assortment of other tools and equipment. The crew of a Ladder Company usually consists of an officer, apparatus engineer, and two firefighters.
Being a crew member of a Ladder Company can be one of the most challenging and rewarding assignments on the City of Madison Fire Department. Duties, in no particular order, include forcible entry, search & rescue, laddering, ventilation, overhaul and checking for fire extension, placing and operating elevated water streams, and salvage. The type and order of the duties performed at an incident depends on the type of incident and the emergency situation at hand. However, in all cases, the safety of the crew members and any victims is the first priority at any incident. Ladder companies also provide immediate life support and supply additional staff to assist paramedics during EMS incidents, as necessary.