Roanoke Fire-EMS responds to approximately 5,000 fire-related calls a year. Of those calls, in 2019, 60 calls were marked working fires. A "working fire" is the designation given to fire calls when the arriving officer sees smoke or flames coming from the structure. By notifying the E-911 Center of the "working fire", additional resources are dispatched to the scene. Roanoke Fire-EMS strives to provide aggressive fire suppression in an effort to protect lives and property using combined interior search and fire attack.
In addition to fire calls, our department also responds to calls for Heavy Technical Rescue, Swift Water Rescues, and Hazardous Materials mitigation, which are often high risk low frequency incidents. Our specialty teams respond to an average of 50 calls a year.
Our Heavy Technical Rescue Team exists to respond to complex rescue type incidents that normal companies do not have the resources to mitigate. Types of calls include, but are not limited to, building collapse, vehicle into building causing structural instability, trench rescue, advanced vehicle stabilization/ extrication of crash victims. , confined space rescue, high angle rescue, etc.
Our Swift Water Team responds to surface or swift water incidents where a subject is in distress. With the Roanoke River running directly through the City, personnel are often called for vehicles into the river, recreational swimmer/kayaker in distress, or recovery operations. The City of Roanoke is also prone to flash flooding, which increases our chance of response for stranded motorists. In addition, our SWT is a state resources that can be utilized to respond to national incidents, like the Texas flooding in 2018.
Our Hazardous Materials Team identifies and mitigates hazardous incidents impacting lives, property and the environment. The team is a part of the VDEM Region 6 Hazardous Materials Team that deploys state-wide for hazardous emergency incidents.
Roanoke Fire-EMS strives to be an active member of the City of Roanoke community. Included in fire response is fire prevention and public education. Stations participate in outreach and help teach kids the importance of fire and life safety.