1. #1
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    Question County fire vs. city fire?

    Hi guys, never posted before but been around for over a year or so. So here's a question. I'm from MN and around here there aren't any county fire departments. There's city ones, and vollies in the surrounding countryside in smaller towns. Ive come across numerous county websites, mainly in the south, east and west, none in the midwest. So is there a big difference in city fire departments and county ones? I think L.A. for example is half city half county? And theres many full time county departments out there. Ive seen county departments with 40,000 some runs a year. Just wondering what the differences are and if anyone has any experience or insight on this. Thanks for any opinions on this.
    Last edited by rdub244; 08-19-2004 at 07:25 PM.

  2. #2
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    Here in Southern California, county fire departments (such as the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Orange County Fire Authority) typically provide service to the following areas:

    1) Unincorporated communities, that is, communities which aren't formally incorporated as cities but rather exist under the umbrella of the county. Many of these communities have names and are hard to distinguish from true cities other than the fact that they have no official city government. The county FD will usually have one or more stations in these communities (depending on size)

    2) Other unincorporated areas, such as wildland areas.

    3) Contract service to incorporated communities that don't wish to run their own fire department. These tend to be smaller cities, most of which did have their own FD sometime in their history but then changed over to county FD at some point. This still goes on...every year or so a city or two will decided to close down their FD and contract with LACoFD. One of the cities in my area (in the same dispatch system as my department) is currently going through process of determining if contracting with another department would make more sense for them. When that happens, the county FD usually "absorbs" some or all of the former FD's stations, equipment and staff.

    A lot of cities, however, do choose to have their own departments. Some, like in my area, operate with a central dispatch system that covers several departments in a geographic area, and we provide automatic mutual aid to each other as needed and determined by the dispatch center.

    The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) is essentially just a large city FD. They primarily cover just the jurisdiction of the City of Los Angeles, but I believe they may provide contract service to a few other cities as well (though not to the same extent as LACoFD). LAFD and LACoFD are, however, two entirely seperate entities that just both happen to have "Los Angeles" in their names.
    Chris Gaylord
    Emergency Planner / Fire Captain, UC Santa Cruz FD

  3. #3
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    hwoods's Avatar
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    Cool East Coast .........................

    Life is a bit different here in the Mid Atlantic area. County Fire departments are common around the bigger cities, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, etc. Although a couple are fully Career, the vast majority are a Combination of Career and Volunteer people who operate together from the same stations. Years ago, the suburbs and rural areas were protected almost totally by independent Volunteer Fire Departments, which had little or no connection with County Government. As growth spread farther out from the cities, some Volunteer organizations were unable to keep up, and full time help was brought in. The usual thing was for the Volunteer company to hire one of their own people to be a Driver for daytime response on weekdays. This expanded to two people when ambulance service was involved, then another person was needed, etc. The County Governments took over responsibility for administrative work, payroll, and hiring functions over a period of time. Over a period of, Give or take a few, about 50 years the "Close-in" Counties around the core cities developed a full Fire Department for the entire County. These typically consist of a mix of Career and Volunteer people, County and Volunteer owned Apparatus and stations, and County operated Training and Communications facilities. Currently, here in P.G. County, the numbers are: (as far as I can determine, and subject to error)
    Career Fire/Rescue People......... Approx 720
    Volunteer Members of all types.... Approx 2,800
    County owned Apparatus............ Approx 90
    Volunteer owned Apparatus......... Approx 138
    County owned Stations............. Approx 10
    Volunteer owned Stations.......... Approx 37
    We tend to refer to ourselves as a "Combination" department, and you can see why. This works for us, and I think the best part is small town petty BS is kept out of public safety. No Mayors, Town Boards, Etc. have any control over Fire/Rescue matters. With over 133,000 incidents of all types last year, I think we're one of the busiest Majority Volunteer Departments in the world.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  4. #4
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    Smile

    Very often County Departments or "Fire Services" are no more than a consolidation of their resources ie: the money generated by individual county fire tax districts. This allows the county to distribute those resurces in the forms of equipment, training, communications and infrastructure to the rural fire department which lay outside of any citys within the county.

    The County departments described in Ca. and Md. are systems which work for their particular situations, however in other areas I'm sure there are departments that are set up and function much differently.
    =bob-

  5. #5
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    Here, almost every city/yownship has their own FD. There are a few places in our county that contract with another FD for Fire EMS or both, but it is by no means the norm here.

  6. #6
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    Virginia is the only state in the union that has cities that are completely indepedent of the nearby couties.

    For example, the City of Richmond is surrounded by several counties, but none of them have any control over the City, nor does the City have any control over the counties.

    The city of Richmond has around 450 firefighters in 20 fire stations. Neighboring Henrico County has 450 career firefighters in 19 stations, and Chesterfield County has 450 career firefighters in 19 stations (supplimented by 150 or so volunteers). The Richmond region has a population of around 1 million, so the county FD's are just as big as the City.

    Out in the rural county where I live, we have 5 independent volunteer fire stations, each with thier own chief, assistant chief, and line officers. However, there is a county fire chief which oversees the administrative side of the department; and we're dispatched by the county's 911 center. Because the county purchases all of our apparatus, turnout gear, equipment, etc, we operate as a "county fire department" that happens to be made up of the 5 VFD's.

  7. #7
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    The City of Baltimore, Maryland is not located in any county either.

  8. #8
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    Talking Right................

    Originally posted by oldman21220
    The City of Baltimore, Maryland is not located in any county either.
    There are Times I'd like to give Baltimore to a County..... Los Angeles comes to mind.........
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  9. #9
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    Here in ocala, we have the Ocala Fire Dept. for the city (not too big of a city but known as the "horse capital of the world")

    They do a good job but it's the Marion County Fire Rescue that gets most of the calls.. the dept. is soo huge but trains w/ the city and The Villages own fire rescue squad.

    Basically you hear more about the county than city.

    Look at the map and judge for your self who is "in charge" of fire servicesnote the size of the city [pinkish/orange] and the rest of the county stations)

    http://marioncountyfl.org/FR526/FR_StationMap.htm

  10. #10
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    Talking

    This always confuses the hell outta me.... countys, citys... bah... State-wide fire service.... makes it all a hell of a lot easier

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