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Tade: A physical therapist will provide the department with the next evolution to our wellness program. Based on the experience from other local departments, an in-house physical therapist will improve the quality of rehabilitation services to injured firefighters and also significantly reduce the amount of time off for injuries. Rehabilitative services will be available five days a week, similar to the manner in which professional athletes are rehabilitated. This position will be the department’s wellness coordinator and will develop additional programs to enhance wellness and take preventive measures to help reduce member injuries.
Firehouse: How has the department addressed its apparatus purchases and repairs?
Tade: The department has aggressively pursued standardization of our fleet both in regards to manufacture and apparatus configuration. With the support of city leadership, we have drastically reduced the age of our fleet by maintaining a structured replacement cycle.
Firehouse: Are you building any new expansion stations or rehabbing others?
Tade: Through recent bond initiatives, the department has been able to rehabilitate numerous stations. Currently, we are constructing a new station in the Lowry neighborhood with a scheduled opening of late 2013.
Firehouse: Are you doing more mutual aid and automatic aid with surrounding departments?
Tade: No, we are actually experiencing less mutual aid services due to the recent merging of several smaller fire departments into the Denver Fire Department. As a result, the Denver Fire Department is providing fire service to three cities and one fire district.
Firehouse: Because nearby departments are consolidating and having financial trouble, is the Denver Fire Department protecting other areas like never before? Will this continue?
Tade: Yes, the Denver Fire Department currently protects the cities of Glendale, Sheridan and Denver; the Skyline Fire Protection District; and portions of unincorporated Arapahoe County. The Denver Fire Department is continually evaluating additional opportunities to provide emergency services to neighboring communities in a cooperative and collaborative nature.
Firehouse: Currently, there is a two-tier EMS system – the Denver Fire Department and the Denver City Health Service. Will this continue?
Tade: EMS services are constantly being evaluated and, at this time, there are no plans to change the current structure.
Firehouse: Will the fire department dispatch EMS?
Tade: Currently, the department does not dispatch EMS and, at this time, there are no plans to change the current structure.
Firehouse: Are false automatic fire alarms a big problem to the department?
Tade: Like many metro city departments, Denver experiences its share of false alarms. Our very active and engaged Fire Prevention Division has worked hard to be proactive in addressing these issues. Our Fire Prevention Division works diligently with all stakeholders to implement best practices regarding education and enforcement of the relevant regulations.