City of Pittsburgh Fire and EMS Bureaus

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May 11, 2021
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267
I am heading to Pittsburgh on business. As always, I look up to get an idea of the fire and ems service provided. The fire and ems are separate services, with the FD doing first response. I was looking at the roster of fire apparatus and I noticed they didn’t have heavy rescues, hazmat units or many boats (the city has 3 large rivers running right through it). I looked a little further, and ems has 2 heavy rescues, a haz-mat unit, and swift water rescue boats. As far as I know, Pittsburgh is the largest city I know of where ems has the primary responsibility for such tasks (FD does assist when needed). Does anyone know of any bigger city that is organized in such a fashion?
 
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Split service, just like Boston. In Pittsburgh I believe they may share some quarters but not sure.
 
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Nov 28, 2011
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Interesting! It’s a different setup, but whatever works is A.O.K.
I’m not sure it works that well. I’ve seen news stories about the fire union wanting these services for the FD.

Not sure on size comparison but I believe New Orleans EMS is a stand alone agency with extrication responsibility
 
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While not exactly the same, Virginia Beach, Richmond and Henrico County in Virginia have independent Rescue Squads. Newark NJ is University Hospital served. Austin TX is separate 3rd service but share some firehouses. Very common in large Canadian cities.
 
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While not exactly the same, Virginia Beach, Richmond and Henrico County in Virginia have independent Rescue Squads. Newark NJ is University Hospital served. Austin TX is separate 3rd service but share some firehouses. Very common in large Canadian cities.
Common in Canada for EMS to be a stand alone service. Not common for EMS to do the special operations instead of the FD.
 
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May 11, 2021
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I’m not sure it works that well. I’ve seen news stories about the fire union wanting these services for the FD.

Not sure on size comparison but I believe New Orleans EMS is a stand alone agency with extrication responsibility
I looked at New Orleans. Definite 3rd agency, but no heavy rescue responsibility from what I can tell.
 
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Virginia Beach's rescue units are mostly volunteer also. There are 10 of them, and they operate 38 ambulances, two squad trucks, 5 boats, 10 zone cars, support & command vehicles, state-of-the-art sonar and have over 1,000 volunteers, augmented with over 50 career paramedics and supervisors. They responded to more than 48,000 calls last year. "vbcapt" would know better than me, he's a Captain with the VBFD.


 
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Messages
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Virginia Beach's rescue units are mostly volunteer also. There are 10 of them, and they operate 38 ambulances, two squad trucks, 5 boats, 10 zone cars, support & command vehicles, state-of-the-art sonar and have over 1,000 volunteers, augmented with over 50 career paramedics and supervisors. They responded to more than 48,000 calls last year. "vbcapt" would know better than me, he's a Captain with the VBFD.


I looked it up and it is a unique setup. They all fall under the Virginia Beach Department of Emergency Medical Services. And I see they have a couple squads / heavy rescue type vehicles. It’ll be interesting to get “vbcapt” take on it.
 
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Independent EMS service is common in Canada, a few US cities, and many southeastern county-wide services. Independent Rescue companies, separate from fire companies, are common in Virginia, although many are now merging with fire companies. Bethesda Chevy Chase and Wheaton Rescue Squads in Montgomery County MD remain very active, while three separate Rescue Squad companies in Prince Georges County MD are long gone. NYPD ESU continues to provide rescue services. FDNY rescue companies were initially created to rescue firefighters - origin of the FAST company concept long before it was known as such. EMS in NYC was operated by the Health & Hospitals prior to aquisition by FDNY.
 
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Don't go! I buffed there from 1965 to 1970. Since then, 200,000 people have left town and at least 20 engines and all 8 squads companies have closed. Then, Squad 1 at Engine 3 on Forbes Avenue was the defacto rescue with extra equipment and ran on all multiple alarms. Now EMS has a heavy rescue at old 28's quarters on S. Millvale Ave (old, old 28's on Filbert Street in Shadyside is now an EMS station), ( in my day, Engine 14, 28, and Squad 3 were there). The other EMS rescue is in the old quarters of 1, 19, 30 Engines and 1 Truck on Blvd of the Allies and Smithfield St. downtown. Pittsburgh is the 71st largest city in the US.

It's sad, Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire has always been a poor stepchild. Of course, the members are tops.

When I buffed Engine 25 at Penn Ave and 34th St. at Doughboy Square, I rode with Captain McGinnis. He got on the job in 1940 and spent the War in the Navy in Norfolk teaching at Damage Control School under a Boston District Chief. Jack Faas drove him (and turned down a promotion to keep driving him). Jack (WW II, Korea) carried a key ring on his belt (we all know that guy) and lived 8 blocks up Post Street- around the corner from his Captain. I was always terrified when he drove that 900 Series open cab American LaFrance FWD pumper down some narrow side street with cars parked up on the curb on both sides. The Captain never said a word.

In the 1950's Jack drove 1 Truck on the aforementioned Blvd of the Allies. One spring morning, a jumper climbs up on the superstructure of the Smithfield Street Bridge over the Monongahela River- right around the corner from quarters, 1 Truck responds and throws the stick so the cops can talk to the guy. This goes on for a couple of hours. Jack finally gets belly full and asks the cops if he can go up, reminding the Inspector in charge that it is his aerial.

Jack goes up and says few words to the guy. He nods understanding and climbs onto the aerial. Jack helps him down to the turntable.

"Jeez Jack! What did you say to the guy?"

" I told the SOB that today is opening day for the Pirates and I want to listen the game on the radio in the kitchen. If he doesn't come down right now, I'm shoving his butt in the river-RIGHT NOW!"
 
Joined
May 11, 2021
Messages
267
Don't go! I buffed there from 1965 to 1970. Since then, 200,000 people have left town and at least 20 engines and all 8 squads companies have closed. Then, Squad 1 at Engine 3 on Forbes Avenue was the defacto rescue with extra equipment and ran on all multiple alarms. Now EMS has a heavy rescue at old 28's quarters on S. Millvale Ave (old, old 28's on Filbert Street in Shadyside is now an EMS station), ( in my day, Engine 14, 28, and Squad 3 were there). The other EMS rescue is in the old quarters of 1, 19, 30 Engines and 1 Truck on Blvd of the Allies and Smithfield St. downtown. Pittsburgh is the 71st largest city in the US.

It's sad, Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire has always been a poor stepchild. Of course, the members are tops.

When I buffed Engine 25 at Penn Ave and 34th St. at Doughboy Square, I rode with Captain McGinnis. He got on the job in 1940 and spent the War in the Navy in Norfolk teaching at Damage Control School under a Boston District Chief. Jack Faas drove him (and turned down a promotion to keep driving him). Jack (WW II, Korea) carried a key ring on his belt (we all know that guy) and lived 8 blocks up Post Street- around the corner from his Captain. I was always terrified when he drove that 900 Series open cab American LaFrance FWD pumper down some narrow side street with cars parked up on the curb on both sides. The Captain never said a word.

In the 1950's Jack drove 1 Truck on the aforementioned Blvd of the Allies. One spring morning, a jumper climbs up on the superstructure of the Smithfield Street Bridge over the Monongahela River- right around the corner from quarters, 1 Truck responds and throws the stick so the cops can talk to the guy. This goes on for a couple of hours. Jack finally gets belly full and asks the cops if he can go up, reminding the Inspector in charge that it is his aerial.

Jack goes up and says few words to the guy. He nods understanding and climbs onto the aerial. Jack helps him down to the turntable.

"Jeez Jack! What did you say to the guy?"

" I told the SOB that today is opening day for the Pirates and I want to listen the game on the radio in the kitchen. If he doesn't come down right now, I'm shoving his butt in the river-RIGHT NOW!"
Good memories, I’m sure 👍. When the boss tells me to go, I gotta’ go 😂.
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2009
Messages
258
Pittsburgh now has 28 engine companies and 11 trucks. They do have a fire boat but not used often and staffed by an engine company when needed. As for buffing PGH they are not as busy as lets say new york, philly, chicago, but you could go to visit some fire houses.
 
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Jun 27, 2007
Messages
3,222
Don't go! I buffed there from 1965 to 1970. Since then, 200,000 people have left town and at least 20 engines and all 8 squads companies have closed. Then, Squad 1 at Engine 3 on Forbes Avenue was the defacto rescue with extra equipment and ran on all multiple alarms. Now EMS has a heavy rescue at old 28's quarters on S. Millvale Ave (old, old 28's on Filbert Street in Shadyside is now an EMS station), ( in my day, Engine 14, 28, and Squad 3 were there). The other EMS rescue is in the old quarters of 1, 19, 30 Engines and 1 Truck on Blvd of the Allies and Smithfield St. downtown. Pittsburgh is the 71st largest city in the US.

It's sad, Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire has always been a poor stepchild. Of course, the members are tops.

When I buffed Engine 25 at Penn Ave and 34th St. at Doughboy Square, I rode with Captain McGinnis. He got on the job in 1940 and spent the War in the Navy in Norfolk teaching at Damage Control School under a Boston District Chief. Jack Faas drove him (and turned down a promotion to keep driving him). Jack (WW II, Korea) carried a key ring on his belt (we all know that guy) and lived 8 blocks up Post Street- around the corner from his Captain. I was always terrified when he drove that 900 Series open cab American LaFrance FWD pumper down some narrow side street with cars parked up on the curb on both sides. The Captain never said a word.

In the 1950's Jack drove 1 Truck on the aforementioned Blvd of the Allies. One spring morning, a jumper climbs up on the superstructure of the Smithfield Street Bridge over the Monongahela River- right around the corner from quarters, 1 Truck responds and throws the stick so the cops can talk to the guy. This goes on for a couple of hours. Jack finally gets belly full and asks the cops if he can go up, reminding the Inspector in charge that it is his aerial.

Jack goes up and says few words to the guy. He nods understanding and climbs onto the aerial. Jack helps him down to the turntable.

"Jeez Jack! What did you say to the guy?"

" I told the SOB that today is opening day for the Pirates and I want to listen the game on the radio in the kitchen. If he doesn't come down right now, I'm shoving his butt in the river-RIGHT NOW!"
Many ship officers and damage control people went to Boston Naval shipyard where they learned fire fighting tactics under a Boston chief officer.
 
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Jun 27, 2017
Messages
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On the evening of May 11th, 1945, the commanding officer of the USN Fifth Fleet Raymond A. Spruance was standing on the quarterdeck of his flagship, the USS New Mexico, talking to the ship's doctor. They were anchored at Kerema Retto, west of Okinawa. Suddenly, the ship was attacked by three kamikazes. Despite a wall of anti-aircraft fire and being chased by two Navy Corsairs (who took friendly fire in the pursuit), two crashed into the New Mexico amidship, killing 51 crewmembers,

Admiral Spruance said he was going to the bridge as the doctor took off for sick bay. Over the next minutes of chaos, the Admiral's flag staff could not find him. They frantically looked in his cabin and on the bridge without success. He was finally located- on the first hose line into the fire backing up the sailors on the damage control party!

For mariners trying to save their ship, rank holds no privilege. And physical bravery isn't usually a job requirement for an admiral. It must have been amazing for those guys stretching in to find a four-star Admiral helping hump the line behind them.

I wonder if Admiral Spruance learned the trade from some Boston District Chief.
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
822
Don't go! I buffed there from 1965 to 1970. Since then, 200,000 people have left town and at least 20 engines and all 8 squads companies have closed. Then, Squad 1 at Engine 3 on Forbes Avenue was the defacto rescue with extra equipment and ran on all multiple alarms. Now EMS has a heavy rescue at old 28's quarters on S. Millvale Ave (old, old 28's on Filbert Street in Shadyside is now an EMS station), ( in my day, Engine 14, 28, and Squad 3 were there). The other EMS rescue is in the old quarters of 1, 19, 30 Engines and 1 Truck on Blvd of the Allies and Smithfield St. downtown. Pittsburgh is the 71st largest city in the US.

It's sad, Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire has always been a poor stepchild. Of course, the members are tops.

When I buffed Engine 25 at Penn Ave and 34th St. at Doughboy Square, I rode with Captain McGinnis. He got on the job in 1940 and spent the War in the Navy in Norfolk teaching at Damage Control School under a Boston District Chief. Jack Faas drove him (and turned down a promotion to keep driving him). Jack (WW II, Korea) carried a key ring on his belt (we all know that guy) and lived 8 blocks up Post Street- around the corner from his Captain. I was always terrified when he drove that 900 Series open cab American LaFrance FWD pumper down some narrow side street with cars parked up on the curb on both sides. The Captain never said a word.

In the 1950's Jack drove 1 Truck on the aforementioned Blvd of the Allies. One spring morning, a jumper climbs up on the superstructure of the Smithfield Street Bridge over the Monongahela River- right around the corner from quarters, 1 Truck responds and throws the stick so the cops can talk to the guy. This goes on for a couple of hours. Jack finally gets belly full and asks the cops if he can go up, reminding the Inspector in charge that it is his aerial.

Jack goes up and says few words to the guy. He nods understanding and climbs onto the aerial. Jack helps him down to the turntable.

"Jeez Jack! What did you say to the guy?"

" I told the SOB that today is opening day for the Pirates and I want to listen the game on the radio in the kitchen. If he doesn't come down right now, I'm shoving his butt in the river-RIGHT NOW!"
 
Joined
Jun 27, 2017
Messages
822
Don't go! I buffed there from 1965 to 1970. Since then, 200,000 people have left town and at least 20 engines and all 8 squads companies have closed. Then, Squad 1 at Engine 3 on Forbes Avenue was the defacto rescue with extra equipment and ran on all multiple alarms. Now EMS has a heavy rescue at old 28's quarters on S. Millvale Ave (old, old 28's on Filbert Street in Shadyside is now an EMS station), ( in my day, Engine 14, 28, and Squad 3 were there). The other EMS rescue is in the old quarters of 1, 19, 30 Engines and 1 Truck on Blvd of the Allies and Smithfield St. downtown. Pittsburgh is the 71st largest city in the US.

It's sad, Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire has always been a poor stepchild. Of course, the members are tops.

When I buffed Engine 25 at Penn Ave and 34th St. at Doughboy Square, I rode with Captain McGinnis. He got on the job in 1940 and spent the War in the Navy in Norfolk teaching at Damage Control School under a Boston District Chief. Jack Faas drove him (and turned down a promotion to keep driving him). Jack (WW II, Korea) carried a key ring on his belt (we all know that guy) and lived 8 blocks up Post Street- around the corner from his Captain. I was always terrified when he drove that 900 Series open cab American LaFrance FWD pumper down some narrow side street with cars parked up on the curb on both sides. The Captain never said a word.

In the 1950's Jack drove 1 Truck on the aforementioned Blvd of the Allies. One spring morning, a jumper climbs up on the superstructure of the Smithfield Street Bridge over the Monongahela River- right around the corner from quarters, 1 Truck responds and throws the stick so the cops can talk to the guy. This goes on for a couple of hours. Jack finally gets belly full and asks the cops if he can go up, reminding the Inspector in charge that it is his aerial.

Jack goes up and says few words to the guy. He nods understanding and climbs onto the aerial. Jack helps him down to the turntable.

"Jeez Jack! What did you say to the guy?"

" I told the SOB that today is opening day for the Pirates and I want to listen the game on the radio in the kitchen. If he doesn't come down right now, I'm shoving his butt in the river-RIGHT NOW!"
 

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