Fire Department FAQ

When I call 9-1-1 for a Medical Emergency, why does the fire department show up?

Because the Texas Township Fire Department is a Medical First Response (MFR) provider, all firefighters are required to undergo medical emergency response training. Most of our firefighters are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) or Medical First Responders (MFRs), and some are even Paramedics. When a 9-1-1 call is received for a medical emergency, there are many times when the fire department can arrive before the ambulance and begin patient care. Other times, we help the ambulance crew by assisting with patient care, removing the patient from a dangerous area, or even riding the ambulance to the hospital assisting the paramedics.

Can I burn leaves, brush, or other yard waste on my property?

Yes, if the weather permits, and provided you first obtain a burn permit. Burn permits are free and can be obtained at the Township Offices. Burn permits allow you to burn small piles of brush, so long as it is done safely, away from buildings, when the wind speed is low, and there are adequate people and water available to control the fire. You may NOT burn building materials, garbage, etc. Please call the Fire Station with questions regarding burning or see the Burning Permits page.

NOTE: The Colony Woods area of the Township has enacted a ban on burning permits for their neighborhood. Here is a detailed map.

Why do I sometimes see an emergency vehicle go through an intersection with lights and sirens on, and then, after they go through, turn them off and slow down?

Many times, several units are dispatched to the same emergency incident. The first unit may have arrived on scene, surveyed the situation, and informed the dispatcher that it was under control, or that more units were not necessary. All other responding units were cancelled and placed back into service, ready to take another call. Most likely, when you see an emergency vehicle go through an intersection “Priority One” (lights and sirens) and then slow down and turn the emergency lights off, they have been cancelled from the call they were going on, or requested to continue “Priority Three” (non-emergent, normal traffic).

Sometimes I see a car, pickup truck, or other every-day vehicle with flashing red lights and a siren coming down the street. Is this a fire department vehicle? What do I do?

Many of our on-call personnel equip their personal vehicles with lights and sirens. They are activated when responding to a priority (life threatening) call. If you see one of these vehicles coming down the street, treat them as you would any other emergency vehicle, by stopping and yielding to the right. These dedicated members utilize their own vehicles for Fire Department responses, and many carry emergency medical equipment and Automatic Defibrillators as well.

Why do some fire trucks park down the street from an incident?

In situations when a scene is deemed unsafe due to a potentially violent patient or family member, or if there are dangerous drugs or weapons involved, Fire and EMS units may “stage” until the police department has secured (made safe) the scene. On fire calls, vehicles may stage until they have been provided an assignment by an “Incident Commander”. Because of the number of things that must be done near simultaneously during a fire attack, it is important to only have those units/personnel that have an active assignment on scene, with the rest staged and ready to deploy.

Why do firefighters cut holes in the roof of a building during a fire? Doesn't this do even more damage to the house?

The practice of cutting holes in the roof of a burning structure is known as ventilation. Ventilation helps firefighters inside the building by allowing smoke and superheated gases to escape, which eliminates some of the smoke in a building and makes the environment a little easier to work in, in addition to keeping the superheated gases from igniting an attic fire. Unlike the movies, it is normally pitch-black inside a burning building because of all the smoke. Ultimately, ventilation helps firefighters who may be searching for someone trapped in the building by eliminating some smoke and heat, or those who are trying to put the fire out by allowing hot steam to escape rather than come back at them and burn them. This helps us save people who may be trapped, and to put the fire out quickly, saving more of the building.

What is the Texas Township Fire Department radio frequency?

We use the Kalamazoo County Fire Dispatch frequency of 154.430 MHz.

What is the Township's Fire Insurance Protection Class?

If your house is within 5 road miles from the fire station at 7110 W. Q Ave., and you have a fire hydrant within 1000 feet of your house, your protection class is 5. If you do not have a fire hydrant within 1000 feet, your protection class is an 8-b. If you are over 5 road miles from the fire station, your protection class is 10. Here is a report on the 2012 Township evaluation: http://fire.texastownship.org/2012ISOEvaluationFinal.pdf

Where should I install smoke detectors in my home?

Install a minimum of two smoke detectors, even in single-story homes. Install a smoke detector in each bedroom, in addition to the corridors outside sleeping areas. Also install a smoke detector in the basement, and at the top of stairwells. Don’t forget to change batteries regularly! A smoke detector with dead batteries is the same as no smoke detector at all! Here is a great video presentation from the International Association of Fire Chiefs about smoke detector placement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VIJgil9_FQ

My smoke detector emits a small beep every few minutes. Does this mean it needs to be replaced?

Usually not. The “chirping” noise you hear usually means your batteries are starting to run low. Replace them as soon as possible.

I'm replacing my old smoke detectors with new ones. What can I do with the old ones?

You may drop them off for recycling at the fire station.

My carbon monoxide detector's alarm is sounding. What should I do?

Get everyone outside and Call 9-1-1. This is an emergency! Advise the dispatcher whether or not you, or anyone else in the building is exhibiting signs of carbon monoxide poisoning (headache, lightheadedness, nausea, fatigue). This will help the dispatcher send the proper units to your location. If noone is exhibiting symptoms, the Fire Department will respond non-emergent, to check carbon monoxide levels. If symptoms are being exhibited by one or more people, you can expect the Fire Department and EMS to be sent to your location “Priority One” (lights and sirens) to begin helping those who have been affected.

I've stopped by the fire station several times, and nobody seems to be there. Where is everyone?

Although there is always at least one person on duty at the station 24 hours a day, they are sometimes called away from the station for emergency calls, errands, inspections, or maintenance functions.

If you have an emergency, always dial 9-1-1. There is an emergency telephone located in the RED BOX outside of the fire station. This is a direct dial 9-1-1 line to the emergency dispatcher.

If you would like to speak with someone in person, please call ahead and request a meeting time.

How many firefighters work for the Texas Township Fire Department?

We have four full-time personnel, including the Chief, who are supplemented by 23 Paid/On-Call personnel. There is typically one full-time person on duty 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

What kind of schedule do firefighters work?

Our 3 full-time firefighters work 24 hour shifts with alternating days off. There is always at least one person on duty at the station 24 hours per day. The Fire Chief works 7:30 am – 5:30 pm Monday through Thursday. Paid/On-Call firefighters are also dispatched for incidents via tone-alert pagers and respond to supplement the duty person leaving from the fire station. Many times, Paid/On-Call personnel are at the station to suppliment the on-duty firefighter. In addition, all personnel are required to attend regular training sessions on various topics, and to complete required courses to keep their licenses current. These trainings are sometimes held in-house on dedicated evenings, and sometimes take place with other departments and/or on the weekend.

Why are Texas Township Fire / Rescue vehicles Lime-Green/Yellow instead of Red?

If other factors are the same, the probability of a visibility-related accident for a red or red/white pumper is greater than the probability for a lime-green/yellow pumper. . . Lime-green/yellow fire pumpers are significantly statistically safer than all red and red/white fire pumpers. These were the findings of researchers Stephen S. Solomon and James G. King during research in the 1970s and 1980s. Solomon is a practicing optometrist and consultant on color and safety. King is an electrical engineer who holds patents for electronic circuits that carry out numeric algorithms. Both have long-term experience as volunteer firefighters. For this study, Solomon and King analyzed data from the Dallas Fire Department, the Dallas Department of Transportation, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Because of this study, Texas Township began painting their vehicles the lime-green/yellow color in the late 1970s. Many other departments around the country, including Detroit and Kalamazoo, also painted their trucks this color. Many departments moved back to red colored vehicles when the science of reflective stripes improved so that a small amount of stripes on the vehicle provided enough visibility to meet national standards. Texas Township has elected to retain the lime-green/yellow vehicles because of the amount of incidents we respond to on higher speed roadways such as West Q Avenue and Interstate 94. We feel this provides our emergency responders and area drivers a safer environment. See this article for more information on the study: http://www.flickr.com/groups/limegreenfireappatatus/

How do I request a copy of an incident report?

Call the fire station or Township office. We will need the date, approximate time, and location of the incident to efficiently process your request.

Do you offer CPR classes?

We do not offer CPR classes at this time. Please check with the Kalamazoo County Chapter of the American Red Cross, or the American Heart Association. They regularly offer classes.

Do you inspect child car safety seats?

Not at this time, our safety seat inspection program was unable to be supported by the current budget.

Can I use an outdoor grill (gas, propane, charcoal) on my apartment deck or patio?

There are many variables involved in outdoor grill use on apartment decks and patios. There is no one simple answer to this question. Please call Station #2 for more information. Also, be advised that many landlords have their own policies for grill usage on their property.

Do you fill swimming pools or pump out basements?

Because this makes units unavailable for emergency calls, and may potentially damage pumps and lawns, we do not fill swimming pools or pump basements. Try looking under “Swimming Pools” and “Water Delivery” respectively, in the Yellow Pages.

Do you repair fire extinguishers, or recharge fire extinguishers that have been used?

No. Try looking in the Yellow Pages under “Fire Extinguishers” or “Fire Protection”.

Who do I call to schedule Texas Township Fire Truck, Firefighter, or Fire Safety Class at my function, or to schedule a tour of a Fire Station?

Call the fire station at (269) 375-4610. You can also email us at info@texastownship.org

How can I get a fire inspection for my business?

If your business is in Texas Township; please call the fire station (269) 375-4610 to schedule an inspection. The Fire Department has a cadre of certified State inspectors to help you with your fire safety questions.

Does Texas Township have Tornado Warning Sirens?

No, there are no Tornado Warning Sirens in Texas Township. Funding limitations prohibit the Township from providing this service. Each siren unit costs approximately $25,000, and only have coverage for about 1.5 square miles. It would take about 13 of these units to cover just the residential areas of the Township. We recommend each home and business have a NOAA Weather Radio monitor. These monitors stay silent until severe weather watches or warnings are issued for our area, then they alert with a tone and then voice messages. Most units are able to be purchased for under $50.00, and are available at most electronics stores. Many monitors can be programmed for emergencies other than weather, such as community emergencies involving hazardous materials releases, flooding, etc. These are called “All Hazard Monitors”. For more information, go to www.weather.gov/nwr/ .

Does Texas Township provide fire services to the City of Portage, Oshtemo Township or Village of Mattawan?

Not usually. Portage City, Oshtemo and Mattawan / Antwerp Twp. have their own fire departments, and cover those areas. However, on occasion, there are times when all departments work together, or temporarily cover areas for one another during a large incident. Examples of these times may include large incidents, borderline incidents, or incidents where both departments are dispatched. The Texas Township Fire Department, along with many other county fire departments, participate in mutual aid agreements as well, in which we assist departments requesting help on an incident, and also may receive help from those same departments should we need additional resources at an incident.