Q:

Why do fire engines respond to medical calls?

A:

The ambulances are staffed with only two personnel and the additional staff of a fire truck is often needed to assist with lifting or aiding in the patient care, especially with a critical patient. All Northern Lakes Fire Protection District personnel are cross-trained in both medical care and firefighting and are expected to perform both roles daily. At any time a firefighter/EMT or paramedic on an ambulance may need to report to a fire alarm or a fire scene. A firefighter/EMT on the fire engine may at any time need to make a first response medical call.

Why do I see fire engines and ambulances at the grocery store?

Q:

Our firefighters work 24 hour shifts, which means they eat, sleep and work at the fire station for 24 hours at a time. Occasionally they need to go to the store to purchase food to prepare meals for the day, but they are still on duty. They do not have the freedom to go anywhere they want for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are in service and prepared to respond immediately, even from the grocery store; you may notice they are carrying emergency radios while shopping. Sometimes they get a call and have to leave their items as they quickly respond to the emergency. The District encourages the personnel to make only one trip per shift.

A:

What do the firefighters do when they are not responding to emergency calls?

Q:

Firefighters must train in some capacity everyday. Their minimum monthly training requirements average 20 hours in fire related training and 3 hours of emergency medical continuing education. Firefighters also have to assist the Fire Prevention Bureau with commercial fire preplans, hydrant testing and school visits. Firefighters are also responsible for cleaning and maintaining equipment and the fire stations. Occasionally, you may see fire vehicles driving around town or touring buildings when there is not an emergency. It is important that firefighters become familiar with the District streets and neighborhoods as well as business districts. This will save valuable time when actually responding to an emergency. The rest of their time is spent preparing meals, reading and studying, exercising and sleeping. They are always alert and prepared to answer emergency calls.

A:

Do firefighters get cats out of trees or rescue pets?

Q:

It depends on the situation. We will evaluate the situation and assess the risk to our firefighting personnel. Provided that there is no unsafe conditions(s) we may attempt a rescue. We will usually require that the owner of the pet be present to accept liability should one of our personnel become bitten or scratched and require medical treatment. Often times a rescue is not required. With cats in trees, we strongly suggest opening a can of tuna (this usually works), leaving the immediate area and waiting for the cat to get down on its own.

A:

Can emergency vehicles make traffic lights turn red/green?

Q:

Yes, most of Northern Lakes Fire District's apparatus have lights that emit a particular frequency that activates a control on the traffic lights to cause them to change to green in the direction of travel. This is called an Opticom system. You may see them occasionally checking them by driving through intersections with only one flashing white light; however, most of the time Opticoms are only used during emergency responses.

A:

Why do emergency vehicles sometimes run with lights and sirens, then just turn them off?

Q:

A:

On occasion, the fire engine and ambulance will be driving with lights and sirens and then suddenly turn them off-perhaps only to turn into a shopping center parking lot or side street. Be assured that when this occurs it means we have received information through our 911 dispatchers that the caller or incident is no longer a dire emergency. It is what we call "being canceled". Any or all of the apparatus may continue to drive to the call or perhaps some will return to the fire station, but we do not do it just to get to the store faster.

Do personnel on ambulances also fight fire?

Q:

A:

Northern Lakes Fire District personnel are both certified career firefighters and also licensed EMTs. So, you will see fire engines also responding to medical calls and our ambulances will respond to fires. Medical gear is kept on our engines and turnout gear on the ambulances. 

Why do fire engines respond to motor vehicle accidents?

Q:

A:

For two reasons: First, automobile accidents present other hazards such as potential fire, ruptured fuel tanks, and/or the presence of hazardous chemicals/materials. Second, the Northern Lakes Fire District firefighters are trained as EMTs. So, personnel on a fire engine can provide patient care as well as assist in extricating trapped occupants of the vehicle. 

Have other questions? Please contact us so we can provide a personal answer as well  as post them on this website 

Administrative Offices:

125 W Hayden Ave.

Hayden, ID     83835

Station Numbers
Hayden: 208-772-5711
Rathdrum: 208-687-1815

© 2014-2020

Proudly created by Northern Lakes Fire Protection District

  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • mail symbol white

EMERGENCY CALL

911