Niles Charter Township and Niles City
Two Fire Departments . . . One Team
You may have seen the Niles Charter Township and City of Niles Fire Trucks together. The two
fire departments have been training together for quite some time
now. Since both departments work together at every fire in both the city and township, it just makes sense that they work from the same playbook. These sessions started in March and have provided each department a better working relationship, as well as invaluable training for each firefighter. Training sessions cover topics ranging from command to
pre-plans to familiar tactics for safety walks through various types of businesses. These trainings have been a great success and will continue to assure both departments
are ready when called upon in both the City and the Township.
Firefighters Prepare for Medical Calls
Firefighters Rory Iwaniuk, Chad Cherrone, Jim Cunningham, Martha Velez, and Rick Hotary have spent the last eleven months attending classes to complete the Paramedic training at Southwestern Michigan College. The 18 month program will provide over 1000 hours of training to each student. Paramedic class consists of over 750 hours of classroom time and an additional 500 hours of field internship. Paramedics in the State of Michigan are certified to administer various life saving medications and advanced cardiac monitoring, in addition to many other
Firefighters Nick Gowen, and Dan Linn have also recently invested 200 hours in the completion of their Basic Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training to become state certified. The Basic EMT class is 192 hours of classroom and field internship and allows personnel to provide immediate medical care. Skills taught include airway obstruction and oxygen treatment, backboarding and splinting of broken bones.
The department will soon have 7 Paramedics, 2 Specialists, and 7 Basic EMTs on staff. With an additional Specialist class due to begin
at the station, many of the department’s Basic EMT's will obtain more valuable knowledge and hands on training. The Specialist designation course is 90 hours of classroom and field internship. Specialist Certification will give personnel the ability to perform
intravenous (IV) installation allowing quick distribution of liquid medications and will also provide advanced airway restriction skills.
The Niles City Fire Department responds to hundreds of medical calls in the community annually.
Niles Firefighters respond in partnership with SMCAS to provide our residents with the best care possible. This additional training in advanced skills will assure that our residents continue to receive the best on site and
immediate medical care in the area.
Firefighters from Niles Charter Township and the City of Niles have initiated a new joint training program designed to bring leaders from both departments together to share ideas, standardize response, and familiarize all firefighters with new
equipment. Firefighters from both agencies have worked on concepts from building construction recognition to firefighter
down procedures or from ground command procedures to hazardous materials response coordination.
The Niles Utilities Electric and Water Divisions along with Niles Charter Township’s Water Department recently presented a class to firefighters on system infrastructure, its capacity, and hazards for both the electric and water systems. Because the classes are held jointly, differences in procedures can be discussed and in some cases adjusted for more uniformity. Since the inception of the automatic aid program almost five years ago, the two departments have worked together on all reported structure fires in the City and Township. The partnership has greatly increased scene staffing which helps both departments comply with national mandates. The additional personnel on scene increases safety for all firefighters as well as assuring the best possible outcome for homeowners in both jurisdictions. Best yet, by training together each department also receives additional credit from ISO (Insurance Service Office) which can influence the rate of insurance premiums that taxpayers pay.
The Niles Fire Department placed 17 state of the art Self Contained Breathing Apparatus in service recently. These units are what allow firefighters to safely penetrate into the toxic smoke filled environment of today's fires. With all of the plastics and hydrocarbon based synthetic materials found in modern homes, fires are more deadly now than at any time in history. These new SCBA are lighter than the old units with
double the compressed air. This added air supply gives our people a safety margin if they were to ever become lost or trapped in a smoke filled building.
These new units also take the safety of our firefighters to new levels. They are equipped with transmitters that send an alarm to a hand held unit at command if a firefighter stops moving for more than 20 seconds. This message lets the incident commander know that the firefighter could be in trouble. This feature assures that if someone goes down in a fire we are given every chance to get them out in time. Before this new feature, called Pack Tracker, it could take minutes before anyone would know a firefighter was in trouble. By then it could be too late. Township firefighters are also using this system and the two systems link flawlessly. The best news is that these new Air Packs, which cost $85,000, were funded by the Federal
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program along with some additional local donation dollars.