The Cambridge Fire Department is composed of two Fire Suppression Divisions and several Staff and Support Divisions.
Fire Suppression Division 1 and 2
Each Fire Division consists of one (1) Deputy Fire (Division) Chief, four (4) engine companies, two (2) ladder companies and one (1) Rescue section.
The fire suppression companies are responsible for multiple, complex tasks. Fire prevention and extinguishment of fire were the original reasons for organizing a fire department.
Cambridge is the sixth most densely populated city in the United States. Density of wood frame construction added to heavy traffic and congested parking pose great problems for a fire department. Confining and extinguishing a fire in the building of origin without injury or loss of life is our most important goal. The Cambridge Fire Department is dedicated to the accomplishment of this goal.
The Department provides a high level of Emergency Medical Services. Every member of the Department is trained as a First Responder and is certified in the use of the Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) Over 50% of the members are registered Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT's)
Additional tasks performed by members of the suppression force include the following;
Confined Space Rescue
Fire Prevention Inspections
Smoke Detector Inspections
Restoration of Fire Alarm and Sprinkler Systems after activation
Annual Service Testing of pumpers
Annual Testing of fire hose Annual Hydrant Inspection and flow testing
Clearing of snow and ice around hydrants
Continuous training sessions
The mission of every member of the Staff Division is to support the suppression personnel in the performance of their duties.
The Fire Prevention Division reports a great increase in construction plan reviews. This includes new buildings under construction and existing buildings that are being renovated. A Fire Prevention Officer also participates in inspections conducted by the City Manager's Task Force of Licensed Occupancies. This Division supervises fire companies conducting State mandated fire inspections of schools, hospital, nursing homes and theaters.
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Super-Fund Amendment Re-Authorization Act - S.A.R.A.
The SARA Officer is responsible for the safe use and storage of hazardous materials. This Officer is responsible for formation and operation of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). This committee is extremely active in the community. The SARA office conducts hazardous material awareness training for employees of various city departments and local hospitals. Fire safety training sessions are presented by the SARA officer in the elementary schools and in the elderly housing facilities. The SARA office recently conducted and supervised a table top exercise of a mass casualty incident (MCI) test the readiness of various city departments.
The Training Division provides a most important staff function. This Division is responsible for continuing training of all Department members. The officers provide training in a multitude of subjects. This training prepares firefighters to effectively perform their duties in a safe fashion. Training is conducted in the classroom, at various locations within the City and within the Metro Boston area, including tours and pre-fire planning of commercial, industrial and transportation occupancies. The HEP-B vaccination program, TB testing, and research and development of new products are also coordinated by the Training Division. The Safety Division is also coordinated by members of the Training Division, operating under the guidelines of the Incident Command System.
The Technical Services Division is responsible for the purchase and maintenance of equipment required to provide services. This Department operates out of eight firehouses. Technical Services is responsible for the upkeep of these buildings. Six (6) of these buildings are a century old. While these are sturdy structures, their historic status presents unique problems when repairs are required.
A motor squad, consisting of three personnel, is under the command of the Technical Services Division. This squad performs high quality repair of fire apparatus in a timely fashion. Project management and maintenance of the City 800 MHz radio system is also assigned to this Division. Considerable assistance was given to the Emergency Communications Department by placing new equipment in service and in implementing new dispatch protocols.
A new 1250 gallon per minute (GPM) pump as purchased and placed in service at Engine Company 1 at 491 Broadway. This apparatus was manufactured by the Pierce Apparatus Company in Wisconsin. It is equipped with a 54' articulating boom with a heavy stream appliance installed.
Engine Company 8 was issued an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) during the Fiscal Year. This was the eighth AED placed in service by the Department.
Fire Investigation Unit
The Cambridge Fire Investigations Unit (FIU) responds to all majors fires in the city, and is available 24 hours a day to investigate any incident where Incident Commanders request an investigator. The duties of the fire investigator include structure fires, motor vehicle fires, burns, explosions, and the investigation & enforcement of all laws and statutes related to fires & investigations.
· The unit works closely with the Cambridge Police Department and other local fire departments and law enforcement agencies with the common goal of eliminating incendiary fires.
· FIU tracks causes of all fires, explosions and burns, accidental or incendiary, to interrupt trends in these fires.
· The unit works with the local District Attorney’s office and the local police in maintaining a Juvenile Fire Setters program which acts to educated youthful offenders and deter from future crimes.
· FIU has completed numerous origin and cause investigations during FY 2012, and the active role within the community has contributed to a steady decline of incendiary fires since the units inception in 1979.
· The Chief Investigator of the Division reports to the Chief of Fire Prevention.