There are two divisions within Belle Valley FD, the Operations Division and the Business Division. The Operations Division is the most recognizable division of the department. This division is responsible for the response and mitigation of fire, medical, accident, rescue (land and water), hazardous materials and service request – related emergencies. Additionally, training, traffic control/scene security, fire prevention & education, and apparatus & equipment/SCBA maintenance fall under the Operations Division. The Operations Division is led by the Chief of the Department. The Chief is aided by one Assistant Chief and one Deputy Chief, who each are charged with particular duties to oversee. Captains and Lieutenants are assigned as company officers and have specific duties delegated to them.
Fire Suppression is the operation that most people associate the fire department with, putting out fires. Belle Valley Fire Department will respond to any type of fire whether it be in a building, a vehicle, outside vegetation, etc. We will locate the fire, attempt to confine it to the point of origin, extinguish it, salvage undamaged property, and overhaul the fire to prevent rekindle. Alarm activation investigations (including carbon monoxide), fuel leaks, downed trees & wires, odor and general investigations are handled by Fire Suppression crews. Fire suppression apparatus includes two pumpers and a tower ladder. Our heavy rescue truck and QRS/utility truck also carry limited suppression equipment and assist at fire scenes.
EMS makes up the majority of calls in the fire service these days, and that is no different at Belle Valley Fire Department. Daily, BVFD responds to medical calls that can range from fall victims to someone suffering from cardiac arrest. We have personnel trained from First Responder level right up to paramedic levels. Our EMS staff treats patients at the scene of calls, but we do not transport. Millcreek Paramedic Service, whom we are part owner of, is the primary ambulance/paramedic service in Millcreek, and they provide the majority of care and do the transports. All of our apparatus have medical gear on board but our primary EMS unit is our QRS/utility vehicle, Utility 367.
Vehicle rescue is the operation associated with motor vehicle accidents. Not every accident will require a “rescue” operation, actually most will not. But in the event that a person is entrapped in/on/under a vehicle, Belle Valley Fire Department is equipped to handle pretty much any entrapment that we are presented with. Equipment used to handle extrications include: Hurst Tools (Jaws of Life), air bags, power saws and hand tools. Vehicle rescue apparatus include one heavy rescue truck (our rolling tool box), and a pumper equipped with some extrication equipment.
Technical rescue refers to incidents that require specialized equipment and training to extricate a trapped person from a variety of circumstances. Incidents could include, but are not limited to, high angle/rope rescues, confined space rescues, trench rescues and building collapses. Each of these incidents could present themselves with many different scenarios. Equipment Belle Valley Fire Department has to utilize on these incidents include: ropes, rappelling equipment, stokes baskets, air shores, wood shores & planks, Hurst Tools, air bags, power tools and pneumatic tools. Technical rescue equipment is located on the heavy rescue truck and the tower ladder.
SCUBA & Water Rescue obviously refers to incidents that require someone needing rescue from water. Water rescues can happen virtually anywhere due to flash flooding. In our district there are several large ponds, creeks and water retention basins that have the potential for these types of incidents. The majority of our members are trained to at least the Water Rescue Awareness level. Several others have higher levels of training that include lifeguard, ice rescue, and swift water rescue. Several members are also trained in SCUBA rescue. Our SCUBA Rescue team members are also part of the Millcreek SCUBA Dive Team. Water rescue equipment is located primarily on the Dive Operations Trailer, Water Rescue 378.
In the Operations Division, we have certain firefighters assigned to specific scene support duties. These are members that do not perform structural firefighting, but do provide a necessary on scene function.
Traffic Control / Scene Security: These members responsibilities includes traffic control, crowd control, scene security and security of apparatus during fire calls. These firefighters also assist the police department when needed to perform road closures, traffic control and crowd control. These members have the option to respond to calls in their own vehicle, or may respond on Utility Truck 367. These members are required to take the first two modules in the Essentials of Firefighting course along with a basic traffic control course. All items and training pertaining to the duties are provided by BVFD.
Photographer: A firefighter who is assigned to document the scene of an incident with photographs and video. These members are required to take the first two modules in the Essentials of Firefighting course and be well versed in camera operations. All items and training pertaining to the duties are provided by BVFD.
Outside of responding to calls, training is the most important section in the Operations Division. Good training WILL mean the difference between life and death. We train in all disciplines of the fire service with in-house, local and out of town trainers. Training will be done in-house, at one of several local training sites or out in the community.