Fire Department

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Oshtemo Fire Department

Oshtemo Fire Department's mission is to provide the best proactive and emergent service possible to all residents of our community. Our firefighters are some of the best in the country and are extremely proud of their Department. With their strong desire to serve, comes true ownership in this organization with the belief in the core values of respect, responsibility and pride.

The Oshtemo Fire Department is a combination fire department with full-time staff, paid-on-call members, as well as resident interns. Currently, our full-time personnel includes 3 Chiefs (1 Chief, 1 Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal, and 1 Deputy Chief), 3 full time Captains, 9 full time Firefighters, 1 full time Training Officer, and 1 administrative assistant. Our full-time Firefighters are union members of the Oshtemo Professional Firefighters Local 5240. The OFD roster also has over 20 paid-on-call personnel. This arrangement allows the department to provide 24/7/365 protection to the 23,000+ residents while covering the 36 square mile township.

In addition to the paid staff, OFD has a team of volunteers including scene & training photographers, a counselor and a chaplain to assist our firefighters.

The department operates two Fire Stations that are staffed 24/7, as well as a third station that is an un-staffed reserve station. Stations 5-1 and 5-2 are operated daily with 1 full-time Captain and 1 full-time firefighter working a 24 hour shift. Station 5-1 is also staffed by the Chief, Deputy Chief, Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal and an administrative assistant from 8 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday. Station 5-2 is staffed with 2 full-time firefighters 24/7 as well as our Training Officer from 8 am – 5 pm, Monday – Friday. 1 paid-on-call is frequently on staff at both stations.

OFD Leadership

          Interim Chief Ron Farr                               Deputy Chief Greg McComb                       Asst. Chief/Fire Marshal Jim Wiley                Training Officer Capt. Eric Burghardt

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Stations

Station 1   7275 W. Main Street  Kalamazoo, MI  49009

  https://goo.gl/maps/qxacZ6Fd8nEAvrsh7

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Station 1 serves as the administrative headquarters for the OFD. Fire Station 5-1 is located at 7275 West Main Street and is the main administrative fire station. It is staffed with 3 full time Chiefs (Chief Fire Officer, Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal, and Deputy Chief) that work Monday – Friday 8-5 pm, along with 1 administrative assistant, 2 full time firefighter/Driver Operators and may include 1 POC (paid on-call) Firefighter who work a 24 hour shift. This fire station covers the north section of the township, responding first due to addresses North of KL Ave. Station 5-1 also responds to automatic/mutual aid requests from Alamo Township, Kalamazoo Township, City of Kalamazoo, and Mattawan.

 

Station 2   3500 S. 6th Street  Kalamazoo, MI  49009

https://goo.gl/maps/KnK4dKmKXVMZn4j78

52.jpg                                                                                                              Station 2 serves as the main training facility for OFD. 5-2 houses 1 full time Training Officer who works Monday – Friday 8 – 5 pm, 2 full time Firefighter/Driver Operators and may include 1 POC Firefighter who work a 24 hr shift.  5-2 is the main training center for the fire department and covers the south section of the township, responding first due to addresses South of KL Ave. Fire Station 5-2 also responds to automatic/mutual aid requests from Texas Township, City of Kalamazoo, and the City of Portage.

 

Station 3   3270 N. 3rd Street  Kalamazoo, MI  49009

https://goo.gl/maps/hhPLxcaDvMe94f4UA

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Station 3 serves as a storage/reserve station for OFD.

OFD Apparatus (Fleet)

The Oshtemo Township Fire Department currently has 12 vehicles in its fleet.  The fleet consists of 3 engines, 2 aerials, 2 rescues, 2 brush trucks, 1 utility pick-up truck, and 3 Chiefs cars.  The department also owns utility trailer which contains the trench rescue equipment.

An engine is a truck that is able to pump water, has its own water tank, and carries various hoses, ground ladders, breathing air packs, and other firefighting equipment. The aerial is an aerial ladder with a platform (bucket) at the end.  This apparatus also has a pump, a small water tank, hose, ground ladders, and tools for forcible entry into and out of structures.  Our rescues are equipped for vehicle extrication, rope rescue, and trench rescue support.  Brush trucks are used to respond to grass and brush fires and are able to traverse fields and wooded areas.  The primary use for rescue vehicles is for EMS calls throughout the township.

Engines 511, 512 & 513   

Aerials 541 & 542

EMR Rescues 551 &552

Brush Trucks 572 & 573

Utility Truck & Trailer 502 & 583

Chief EMR Vehicles 590, 591 & 592

 

 

Recruiting and Career Opportunities

Oshtemo Fire Department is dedicated to providing the best service possible to our residents, visitors and fellow firefighters. In order to do that we must have passionate, competent, motivated members capable of providing all hazards risk mitigation with respect, responsibility and pride. Listed below are the different types of positions OFD employs:

Paid-on-Call

Oshtemo Fire Department (OFD) hires Paid-On-Call (POC) once a year. You may register for our New Hire Orientation at any time. In order to acquire an application you must attend our New Hire Orientation.

  • Minimum Requirements
    • Minimum Age 18
    • Physical ability to perform job functions outlined in the CPAT (below)
    • Possession of valid motor vehicle operator’s license.
    • Shall not have any felony convictions
  • Employment Process
    1. Register for new hire orientation anytime here - Completing this online registration form will sign you up for one of our three new hire orientations. It will also provide you with additional information regarding the hiring process. Remember you do not need any previous professional experience to attend the orientation and you will receive an application after attending an orientation.
    2. Attend one of our three New Hire Orientations - We conduct an orientation with potential applicants before we hand out our application. This event allows us to explain our expectations of a POC firefighter. It also allows you and your family to ask questions and meet some of our members. After the orientation is complete we will send you home with an application for employment and the background check packet. You and your family will have the whole month of September to decide if you are still interested in joining our team. 
    3. Ride along with us, a minimum of 9 hours (three, three hour shifts) - The purpose of the “ride along” experience is to provide a citizen with exposure to the tasks associated with the Fire, Rescue and EMS services.  This program may also be used to network with other firefighting, rescue and EMS professionals.  It is not intended to provide training. Although any citizen who has reached the age of 18 may apply for our ride along program at any time we strongly encourage potential applicants to ride along after completing the new hire orientation.
    4. Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) (Upon passing background check) - This is a pass/fail test based on a maximum total time of 7 minutes and 55 seconds. This time was established by testing current members. Applicants will be scheduled for a practice session prior to the test. This practice session will allow applicants the opportunity to become familiar with the events and ask questions.

      There are eight events, listed below, that will be performed wearing a 40 pound vest to simulate the weight of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and firefighter protective clothing. A more description of each event can be located here – Oshtemo Fire Department Entry Level Ability Test(PDF, 177KB)  

      • Event 1 – Hose Drag
      • Event 2 – Equipment Carry
      • Event 3 – Ladder Raise and Extension
      • Event 4 – Forcible Entry
      • Event 5 – Hose Raise
      • Event 6 – Search (This event uses a “fogged out” mask, narrow spaces and obstacles)
      • Event 7 – Rescue
      • Event 8 – Ceiling Breach and Pull
    5. Panel interview (Upon passing CPAT) - The Panel Interview will consist of four members: two officers, two firefighters with at least two of those members being paid-on-call. The interview will consist of eight questions. Four of the questions will be provided to the applicant prior to the interview. The other questions will be given to the applicant during the interview.  
    6. Conditional job offers are made during the last two weeks of October.
Full-Time

Our full-time firefighters work a 24 hour shift, starting 7:00am - 7:00am on a three day rotation. 

Firefighters need to be in good shape. That's why all recruits have to pass an agility test before getting hired. The agility test takes place shortly after the required written exam.

FIREFIGHTER REQUIREMENTS

  • At least 18 years old
  • Capable of performing the job functions
  • Have a valid driver's license
  • Able to work in all environments
  • At least 20/30 corrected vision or 20/100 for uncorrected
  • Able to move and manipulate objects
  • Communication skills
  • No felony convictions
  • Michigan Firefighter Training Council Firefighter I & II

  • Hazardous Material Awareness and Operations

  • Licensed as a State of Michigan Medical First Responder (MFR).

  • Full-Time Firefighter Application
  • https://us.openforms.com/Form/15f2b9fd-51a7-44b5-9b12-f9bc9aa4f576

     

Resident Intern Program

Oshtemo Township is seeking highly motivated and self disciplined recruit level fire service personnel who wish to receive valuable, hands-on experience in the Fire, Rescue and EMS profession. This unprecedented opportunity in S.W. Michigan will give the winning candidates an opportunity to live in the fire station for a 12-month period free of charge. In exchange, they will be expected to work a typical full time firefighter schedule of 24 hours on-duty followed by 48 hours off-duty. The on-duty shifts will not be financially compensated beyond the free private dormitory room provision. However, resident interns will receive hourly pay for responses made during their off-duty hours.

If you would like more information or wish to apply, please call 269-375-0487.

Fire Corps

The mission of Fire Corps is to increase the capacity of volunteer, career, and combination fire and EMS departments through the use of citizen advocates. Fire Corps provides resources for departments to utilize citizen advocates in non-operational roles so they can develop, implement, and sustain programs and services that will help their department meet the needs of their community.

Fire Corps is a citizen based, volunteer organization designed to provide non-operational services to the local fire department and community. The volunteers can fill a wide verity of roles within the organization, for example: Public Education and Photography. Volunteers will receive training in fire department operations, Incident Command System, Educational methodology, and Fire Safety Principles.            

Photographers would be responsible for keeping a photographic journal of the Oshtemo Fire department. This means these Fire Corps volunteers would respond to emergencies to photograph our department personnel at work. They will also attend our training events not only to photograph our department personnel mastering their craft but to become familiar with fire ground operations. All the photography equipment will be provided to include cameras, lenses, carrying cases, and any safety equipment necessary to complete their jobs. 

Public Educators would be a proactive supplementation to our, already existing Fire Prevention program. Public education volunteers would seek out local business and organizations to arrange a variety of fire prevention and safety seminars. They would then accompany the Fire Department to these businesses and organizations to help educate and demonstrate fire prevention and safety. Public educators would be required to become familiar with fire department procedures and equipment to assist in educating the public on what it is their Fire Department does and how it does it. All the public education training, material and equipment will be provided by the fire department.

Anyone interested in becoming an Oshtemo Fire Corps volunteer should fill out an application by downloading the application found below.

Fire Corps Application Packet

 

 

Burn Permits

Burn Permits - available online at the link below or by calling Station 1 at 269-375-0487 on M-F between 8am - 5pm. The ordinance guidelines are below for your review:

https://www.texcom.com/burn-permits/a/Permit.php?DC=23874629458742398463

Oshtemo Township Burn Ordinances & Requirements:

-Burn ONLY between sunrise and sunset per the National Weather Service times

-Wind speed must not exceed 15MPH in any direction, burn permits may be cancelled without notice by the fire marshal if winds exceed safe speeds.

Sec. 5.1. Open burning, to the extent allowed, shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of this Ordinance. Open burning shall also be conducted as required by other governmental agencies regulating emissions

Sec. 5.2. The open burning of brush, vegetation, grass clippings or leaves, is permitted within Oshtemo Charter Township.

Sec. 5.3. Open burning of materials containing paper products, any building material, lumber or lumber products is prohibited.

Sec. 5.4. Prior to commencement of open burning, the applicant shall obtain a burning permit from the Township Fire Department.

Sec. 5.6. Open burning shall not be conducted within 50 feet of any structure or other combustible material. Conditions which would cause the fire to spread to within 50 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition. The distance from any structure or other combustible material may be reduced to 25 feet when the pile size is three (3) feet or less in diameter and two (2) feet or less in height. Under no circumstances shall the burning of any materials be conducted on the paved or improved surface of any public or private street or roadway.

Sec. 5.7. A bucket, shovel, garden hose or a fire extinguisher with a minimum 4-A rating shall be readily available at open burning sites.

Sec. 5.8. Burning materials shall be constantly attended by a person knowledgeable in the use of the fire extinguishing equipment and familiar with permit limitations which restrict open burning. An attendant shall supervise the burning material until the fire has been extinguished

Sec. 5.9. The Fire Chief or his/her designee is authorized to require that open burning be immediately discontinued if the Fire Chief or his/her designee determines that smoke emissions are offensive to occupants of surrounding property or if the open burning is determined by the Fire Chief or his/her designee to constitute a hazardous condition.

 

Food Truck Inspection Packet

Mobile Food Vehicle Fire Inspection Process

Prior to Inspection, MFV Owner shall complete the following:

1. Register vehicle with the Michigan Secretary of State

2. Hold active insurance policy on registered MFV

3. View and study the online Food Truck Safety Power Point https://kalamazoopublicsafety.org/food-truck-safety-powerpoint/

4. Complete the Food Truck Operator Quiz (every operator must complete) https://kalamazoopublicsafety.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Mobile-Food-Truck-Operator-Quiz.pdf

5. Register with the Fire Dept.  Use form MFV Registration(PDF, 146KB)

6. If using Liquid Petroleum Gas or Compressed Natural Gas (LPG, CNG “propane”)

Send completed documents to fireprevention@oshtemo.org prior to inspection, or bring them with you.

Please contact fireprevention@oshtemo.org for scheduling your inspection. All inspections done by Oshtemo Fire will be completed at 7275 W Main, Kalamazoo MI, 49009.

INSPECTION NOTES:

The following are common issues found upon inspection. Click here for the full form of requirements: MobileFoodServiceUnitSafetyInspection.pdf (kalamazoopublicsafety.org)

1. Have required CO and Explosive Gas Detector installed, commonly found at most large hardware stores.

2. Ensure any LP tank utilizes an approved flexible hose to connect to a regulator and shutoff that is connected to rigid black gas pipe.

3. The Health Department will require Food Grade Flexible Gas Lines connecting your cooking units to the hard black pipe in your truck.

4. Any vehicle with a cooking surface capable of creating grease vapors SHALL have a hood and suppression system.

5. Have your Class K and Class ABC Extinguisher’s inspected and tagged by a licensed inspection/service company.

 

LPG & CNG Testing

If using Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG, Propane, Butane) or Compressed Natural Gas, your system SHALL be tested annually by a licensed plumber certified for gas.

For your convenience, we are aware of these providers willing to perform this test at this time. However, this by no means is an endorsement of their services by Oshtemo Township.

Kalamazoo: Aire Serv  of Kalamazoo - 269-248-5325   6827 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Grand Rapids: T&S Concepts— 616.459.8422   1305 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49505

 

 

Freedom Of Information Act Request

Looking to request copies of Fire Department records? The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows you to request copies or access to most township records. You can make that request by 1) stopping at the township office at 7275 W. Main Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49009, 2) emailing oshtemo@oshtemo.org or 3) clicking the button below.  


Contact Us

Address: Station 1  7275 West Main Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 

                Station 2   3500 South 6th Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49009

Phone:  Station 1 for non-emergency: 269-375-0487

              Station 2 for non-emergency: 269-544-2081

Emergencies: 911

Email: fireadmin@oshtemo.org

Facebook:  https://https//www.facebook.com/oshtemofire  or  https://https//www.facebook.com/IAFF5240


Frequently Asked Questions

What happens when I call 911 for an EMS or fire emergency?

When you dial 911 your call is routed to one of the five public safety answer points (PSAP) in Kalamazoo County. The five PSAPs are Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department, Kalamazoo Township, City of Kalamazoo, City of Portage, and Western Michigan University. 911 calls in Oshtemo Township are routed to the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department.

When connected the dispatcher will ask what emergency you are experiencing. If it is a request for emergency medical services, the PSAP will do a three-way call with the appropriate EMS dispatcher (for Oshtemo Township Life EMS). The EMS dispatcher will determine the level of care needed, dispatch the ambulance, as well as the fire department, if necessary.

If the emergency is fire related the PSAP will immediately dispatch the fire department to your location. It is important to provide as much information to the dispatcher as possible, this greatly helps the fire department when they are responding. The more information the fire department can have prior to arriving, the more efficient the response.

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

Oshtemo Fire Department is a Medical First Response (MFR) provider, which requires that all OFD firefighters 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.

 

Does Oshtemo Township provide fire services to other municipalities?

Yes. Oshtemo Township has automatic aid agreements with bordering fire departments. For every structure fire in Oshtemo Township the appropriate border department (dependent on where the fire is) is dispatched at the same time as the Oshtemo Township Fire Department. The Oshtemo 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.

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 by clicking this link:  Get Your Burn Permit Online!

Burn permits allow you to burn small piles of brush, so long as it is done safely, 25 feet away from buildings, when the wind speed is less than 15mph, and there are adequate people and water available to control the fire. You may NOT burn building materials, garbage, etc. unless you do so in a burn barrel.

Can I have a backyard (residential) campfire in Oshtemo?

Yes, as long as the Burning Ordinance is adhered to. 256.060 – RECREATIONAL FIRES 256.061 – Location. Sec. 6.1. Recreational fires shall not be conducted within 25 feet of a structure or combustible material unless contained in a barbecue pit or charcoal/gas grills. Conditions which could cause a fire to spread to within 25 feet of a structure shall be eliminated prior to ignition. 256.062 – Fire extinguishing equipment. Sec. 6.2. A bucket, shovel, garden hose or a fire extinguisher with a minimum 4-A rating shall be readily available for use at recreational fires. 256.063 – Attendance. Sec. 6.3. Recreational fires shall be constantly attended by a person knowledgeable in the use of the fire extinguishing equipment. An attendant shall supervise a recreational fire until such fire has been extinguished. 256.064 – Discontinuance. Sec. 6.4. The Fire Chief or his/her designee is authorized to require that recreational fires be immediately discontinued if the Fire Chief or his/her designee determines that the smoke emissions are offensive to occupants of surrounding property or if the fire is determined by the Fire Chief or his/her designee to constitute a hazardous condition.

What are the rules for charcoal grills/barbeque pit/outdoor fireplace at apartments/multi-family units?

BBQ pits, charcoal grills and outdoor fireplaces are prohibited above ground level of any multifamily apartment, within the structure or on any balcony or deck.  If your apartment complex allows BBQ pits, charcoal grills or outdoor fireplaces on premises, they must be on the ground and not be located within ten (10) feet of combustible walls or roofs or other combustible material.  Please note that your lease may prohibit use of any grill/fire pit on the property. Portable fire extinguishers shall be readily available.  *Note: Gas grills are permitted.  (See BURNING ORDINANCE, SECTION VII 256.070 - BARBECUE PITS AND CHARCOAL OR GAS GRILLS and SECTION VIII 256.080 - OUTDOOR BARBECUE PITS, CHARCOAL GRILLS AND OUTDOOR FIREPLACES.)

 

 

What is a paid-on-call firefighter?

Paid-on-call firefighters remain “on-call” and ready to answer any alarm which may come in at any time. These firefighters respond from their homes, places of employment, or wherever they may be at the time of the call.

 

Why do I sometimes see an emergency vehicle go through an intersection with emergency 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-emergency, 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 should I do?

Some departments in Michigan all their personnel to 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 yielding and moving your vehicle to the right.

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, apparatus may stage until they have been provided an assignment by the “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 proceed to the scene, with the rest staged and ready to deploy.

What is the Oshtemo Township Fire Department radio frequency?

We use the Kalamazoo County Fire Dispatch ops frequency of 151.4225 MHz and 154.430 MHz for County Fire Dispatch alert.

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

Call Fire Station 5-2 at (269) 544-2081 for Driver/Operator Jared Rice for public engagement opportunities or call Fire Station 5-1 at 269-375-0487 for basic information.

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!

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.  Smoke detectors should be replaced as indicated by their expiration date but never longer than 10 years.

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

Get everyone outside and call 9-1-1. This is an emergency! Inform the dispatcher if or anyone else in the building is showing signs of carbon monoxide poisoning (headache, lightheadedness, nausea, fatigue). This will help the dispatcher send the proper units to your location. If no one is exhibiting symptoms, the Fire Department will respond non-emergency, 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.

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

Please refer to your lease agreement regarding your apartment community's 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. 

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

No, we do not.

I’ve stopped by one of the fire stations several times and nobody seems to be there. Where is everyone?

Although there is always at least 2 people on duty at the stations 24/7, they are frequently called away from the station for emergency calls, errands, inspections, or maintenance functions. If you would like to speak with someone in person, please call ahead and request a meeting time. If you have an emergency, always dial 9-1-1.

What kind of schedule do firefighters work?

There are three 24-hour rotating shifts: A, B, and C shift. Each shift has at least 2 full time firefighters at both stations and may be accompanied by 1 paid on-call and/or trainee. Oshtemo has over 20 paid on-call firefighters who can respond off duty to certain calls. They are dispatched for incidents via tone-alert pagers to respond. In addition, all personnel are required to attend regular training sessions on various topics, and to complete required courses to keep their licenses current.