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Red Wing’s firefighter/paramedics are cross trained to respond to fire and emergency medical incidents. Emergency medical equipment is carried on all, first response, vehicles so that medical care can be initiated immediately, regardless of what vehicle arrives first. The department responds to calls in a tiered system based on the nature of the call.
When responding to a minor medical incident (ex. fracture, back pain, illness), only an ambulance will respond to the scene. Typically there are two firefighter/paramedics on board.
When responding to a major medical incident, (ex. chest pain, cardiac arrest, difficulty breathing, seizure), the fire truck will follow the ambulance to the scene. Typically there are two firefighter/paramedics in each vehicle.
This initial response provides the minimum number of responders required to address the critical needs of these patients. If the patient’s condition requires additional medical personnel during transport to the hospital, one or both of the firefighters arriving on the fire truck will assist with patient care while en-route to the hospital. If the patient is stabilized on scene and no further assistance is needed, the firefighters arriving on the fire truck remain in service and available for subsequent calls.
When responding to a motor vehicle crash, the fire truck will follow the ambulance to the scene. Typically there are two firefighter/paramedics on each vehicle. Firefighters arriving on the ambulance immediately begin assessing the medical needs of the patient(s). Firefighters arriving on the fire truck evaluate and address hazards associated with scene safety (fuel spills, power lines, traffic, etc.) prior to assisting with patient care or extricating patients from vehicles.
When responding to a fire incident, the ambulance follows the fire truck. Firefighter/paramedics arriving in the ambulance typically function as firefighters, performing assigned fire suppression activities. However, when individuals with injuries are found on arrival, the firefighters responding in the ambulance are immediately available to provide emergency medical care.
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By national standards, the Red Wing Fire Department is classified as a combination fire department. Its membership consists of 28 full time firefighter/paramedics and up to 30 paid-on-call firefighter/first responders.
Most of the department officials work a varying 40-hour work week schedules, Monday through Friday, officials such as the:
The remaining personnel are assigned to one of three revolving 48-hour shifts, each consisting of a fire captain and seven firefighter/paramedics. Red Wing Fire Department personnel are available 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, to provide an immediate response to the fire protection and emergency medical needs of the community.
Paid-on-call firefighters are paged on an “on-call” basis simultaneously with full time personnel to reported structure fires or a variety of other large scale or specialized incidents that require mobilization of a large workforce. They respond from work or home as needed to address the emergency response needs of the department. Paid-on-call firefighters also attend regularly scheduled monthly training and scheduled public education events.
According to national standards, the Red Wing Fire Department is classified as a combination fire department. It is staffed with a combination of full-time and Paid-on-Call personnel. Response time is critical for all types of emergency responses. Combination staffing ensures an immediate response to emergency incidents, 24 hours per day, 7days per week, 365 days per year, not possible with on-call personnel alone.
The Red Wing Fire Department provides fire protection services within a response area of approximately 65 square miles including the:
Additionally, the Red Wing Fire Department provides Advanced Life Support/Paramedic ambulance services for these areas plus neighboring townships in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The ambulance response area is approximately 260 square miles, roughly the equivalent of the size of Austin, Texas.
All full-time personnel are cross trained and perform fire and emergency medical functions daily. Fees for services fund the ambulance operations, its ongoing expenses and over 50 percent of all full-time personnel expenses.
Full-time personnel are responsible for the department’s day to day operations and core services.
In addition to performing the fire suppression activities one would expect, the Red Wing Fire Department performs numerous additional fire related functions including:
The unique character of the Red Wing community also requires the Red Wing Fire Department to respond to:
Paid-on-Call firefighters respond to structure fires, search and rescue calls, and other labor intensive incidents. They are paged simultaneously with full-time personnel for structure fires and respond to provide the supplemental staffing required to ensure critical tasks and operations can be performed efficiently and safely.
Through the combined operations of full-time and paid-on-call firefighters, the Red Wing Fire Department is able to provide an immediate response to daily emergency incidents, while maintaining the ability to provide a rapid deployment of supplemental personnel for large scale, specialized or otherwise labor intensive incidents.
In 2008 the Red Wing Fire Department underwent a Fire Study and Master Planning process. The study recommends that the department continue to operate as a combination fire department. It also recommended adding full-time personnel to adequately address safety and operational needs for initial incident response.
Firefighters receive specialized training in the tactics, procedures and equipment essential for protecting lives and property from fire and other hazards. Firefighters operate in and around burning structures to extinguish fire, rescue victims, and minimize property loss. Firefighters also receive training in areas such as
Paramedics receive specialized emergency medical training. They provide the highest level of pre-hospital emergency medical care available. Paramedics are trained to administer emergency medications and perform advanced medical procedures in the field. Procedures that would normally only be done by a physician in a hospital are brought to a patient’s side when paramedics arrive, they also administer basic medical care like:
Red Wing's firefighter/paramedics must be Firefighter II/Hazmat Operations certified (120 hours) and be Nationally Registered Paramedics (2,000 plus hours).
Employees must possess and pass:
In addition to the certifications and tests listed, a firefighter/paramedic should have the following personal attributes to thrive in this varied and challenging profession.
Finally, a firefighter/paramedic must have a sense of humor, be patient and get along well with others. Throughout a career, a firefighter/paramedic will spend more than one-third of his or her entire life working, eating and living in close quarters with their coworkers.
Staffing at the Red Wing Fire Department varies depending on the day of the week and time of day. There are two different shifts such as:
The staffing model utilized is designed to provide adequate staffing levels during time of peak call volume, while minimizing overtime expenses. All employees are cross-trained and perform firefighting and emergency medical responses daily.
Typical minimum staffing at the start of any given day is six firefighter/paramedics. This provides the minimum staffing level for safe fire ground operations as established by the Red Wing Fire Department.
However, staffing is permitted to drop to five when required due to ambulance call volume. Maintaining five firefighters on duty provides the minimum number of personnel required for response to a major medical call or concurrent minor medical calls. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and National Fire Protection Association standards also require a minimum of four firefighters for “offensive attack” interior fire ground operations.
In 2012, the Red Wing Fire Department responded to 3,381 calls for service including:
Full-time firefighter/paramedics are responsible for many duties in addition to responding to calls, some of their responsibilities include:
Full-time firefighter/paramedics live and work at the fire station for 24-hour periods.
During designated hours once all regularly assigned duties are complete, they are permitted to
They must, however, be prepared respond to an emergency call at any time.
There are many reasons an ambulance might remain on a scene:
The Red Wing Fire Department is a combination fire department staffed by career and paid-on-call personnel.
In addition to providing fire suppression, fire prevention, fire investigation, fire code enforcement and public education services, the Red Wing Fire Department also provides Advanced Life Support (ALS) Emergency Medical Services for the City of Red Wing and surrounding communities. In doing so, the department requires adequate and sustainable long term financial stability to ensure that community needs are met and critical missions can be accomplished safely.
Departmental funding is supported through a combination of general fund dollars (taxes), fire protection contracts with neighboring communities and ambulance user fees. Grants and similar funding sources are utilized whenever possible. Several local businesses and civic groups also make charitable contributions to the Red Wing Fire Department regularly. These donations are typically applied to public education expenses or used to off-set equipment purchases that would otherwise not be made.
In the past, the Red Wing Fire Department has sponsored community events to raise funds. Some may recall the annual Firemen’s Ball or Red Wing Fire Department “Trout Pond” and “Water Wars” sponsored during River City Days.
Rather than off-setting operational expenses, proceeds from these events were used for expenses associated combined full-time/paid-on-call departmental meetings and to fund charitable donations to local organizations.
Those donating to these functions often expressed frustration in being asked to pay twice, once in taxes and again through a charitable contribution. Fire department members have since elected to fund charitable donations and meeting expenses out of pocket, rather than solicit funds from community members. Additionally, Red Wing firefighters (career and paid-on-call) donate countless hours to charities of their choosing. The City of Red Wing’s ongoing commitment and dedication to providing state of the art fire and emergency medical services within our community requires sustainable funding not practical through charitable contributions. The department’s goal is to utilize the resources available efficiently and effectively in accomplishing our mission.
Open burning is done by a permit process only in the City of Red Wing, if a resident wishes to burn on their property they must first apply for an Open Burn permit with the City of Red Wing.
For more information please view the Open Burn page.