Who we are
The Roswell Fire Department is made up of 208 part time firefighters that staff seven stations 24/7/365. The Department operates seven fire engines, two aerial trucks, two light duty rescue units, and a heavy duty rescue unit daily with a maximum of 38 on duty firefighters, when staffing allows.
The Roswell Fire Department has experienced a .82% increase in requests for emergency services over the past year. Total calls for service were 9,617. Fire Station #1 was the busiest station running 2,818 calls (up .90%), Station #4 was the second busiest with around 2,175 calls (up 4.11%), and Station #2 came in third with around 1,125 calls (down 20.04%). The main reason for the decrease in calls at individual stations and the unusually low overall increase is the COVID pandemic.
The Fire Department responds to many types of emergency requests for service. Emergency Medical Service (EMS) calls made up 53.0% of the requests for services. This is a 9.3% decrease from the previous year. There was a 0% increase in building fires from FY19 to FY20. Of the 167 fires, 75 were building fires while last year there were 72 building fires (up 4.1%). The other 92 fires were vehicle fires, grass fires, dumpster fires, and other types of fires. Good Intent calls and Service calls make up 34% of the Department’s requests for services. Good intent calls include fog or steam mistaken for smoke, smoke from chimneys mistaken for buildings on fire and other such instances. Service calls include responses to turning off water when a pipe breaks, smoke removal, trees down, invalid assist, and various other assistance calls. False Alarms made up 8.1% of the responses (785 calls).
The average response time for the Department is 06:56 (6 minutes, 56 seconds) and is a 5.5% increase from last year. For seven years in a row Station #5 has the fastest average response time but this past year Station #1 had the fastest average response time with 6:03 (6 minutes, 3 seconds). For the last fifteen years Station #6 has had the highest response time but this year Station #7 had the highest response time with 07:58 (7 minutes, 58 seconds). The busiest day for the fire department moved from Thursday to Friday and the busiest hour has moved from 12 noon to 4PM.
The Fire Department continues to work with the Mayor and Council to construct a new fire station on Mountain Park Road (Fire Station # 8). It is forecasted that the increase in call volume in that area over the next ten years is 189.3% (782 calls to 1480 calls). The Fire Department is also seeking funding to move Fire Station #2 from its current location and remain in the Crabapple area and needs land acquisition to proceed. Fire Station #3 is also a sister station to fire station # 2 and we advocate for its replacement at its current location. Fire Station # 2 and Fire Station # 3 are both approaching 45 plus years of service and cannot support the increasing demands, growth, and staff that is needed. The Department staff is exploring many different combinations of building materials and designs to ensure cost efficiency but as we are aware the cost of replacement and building grows annually.
The Fire Department has started planning for a transformation from part time fire captains to a full time officer model including fire captains and fire lieutenants. This is similar to the staffing models used by surrounding jurisdictions. The described deficits in our staffing model can largely be resolved with consistent supervision at each station. Fire officers will aide in the implementation of policies, the completion of station duties, payroll validation, the completion of daily reports, and other response and administrative responsibilities. The station officer, in turn, will be held accountable by the Battalion Chiefs in charge of the shifts. Consistent supervision and staffing promotes pride and teamwork at the station level. The cost of hiring full time station officers will be offset with savings from the part time staffing budget of current station captains.
Other opportunities include: Replacing aging apparatus, fire hose and nozzles, communications equipment and a EMS Utility vehicle. All of these initiatives continue to maintain the Roswell Fire Department as a state of the art fire department.
The Fire Department has approved funding for 38 firefighters per day but maintaining a staffing level of 38 firefighters each day has been a huge challenge. The department has to look at other staffing models to ensure consistent staffing levels in order to respond to the ever increasing calls for service per day. The hiring of full time station officers and eventually full time firefighters will stabilize staffing in the future.
2020 was a difficult year and the COVID virus affected every city organization and department. While the fire department met these challenges head on, it’s a fair assumption this was a year like no other. We used a steadfast staff and continued to make it a successful year, however we found we were sensitive and vulnerable to all of our part time firefighters’ full time departments. Our staff in its entirety was resilient and helped us meet this challenge.
The Fire Marshal Office has seen an 85% increase in the number of building plans submitted for approval over the last five years. Last year saw a 17% increase. Each set of building plans submitted require up to eight special construction inspections. With the increase in construction plans the Fire Marshal Office has become overwhelmed.
The Fire Department has outgrown Fire Stations #2 and #3. Both stations were constructed in the late 1970’s and were intended to serve as volunteer stations. Today they are being staffed with four to six firefighters with no space to store individual personal protective equipment (fire gear), cramped living quarters, and engine bays that modern fire trucks barely fit into. The department is seeking relief by rebuilding both fire stations.
What we have Accomplished
FY21 was an unusually slow year for the Fire Department. It was the first time in 20 years the number of calls for service were below a 1% increase (.82%). The COVID pandemic slowed the economy and therefore funding for major projects were placed on hold.
- The Roswell Fire Department did not have a documented COVID exposure from firefighters treating patients or from firefighter to firefighter in the stations.
- The Fire Marshal’s Office implemented new software that allowed their division to go all digital. Plans and review was very taxing and time consuming. This vision has allowed them to speed up detail oriented planning and eliminate rolls of plans and documents that were wasted after review.
- The Roswell Alpharetta Public Safety Training Center was re-opened after being totally reconstructed when snow caused the roof truss system to fail.
- ISO completed the Fire Suppression Rating Survey for the City of Roswell. We are awaiting the results of that survey.
What we expect to Accomplish
- Replace the aging 2001 Aerial Ladder truck and the replacement has been funded and ordered. The new aerial will feature a new cab design known as a "Clear Cab".
- Gear lockers will be added to many of the fire stations to accommodate storage shortfalls.
- The kitchen at Fire Station #5 will be renovated and updated to better serve the firefighters stationed at that station.
- We hope to purchase a portable Safety Town to teach kids safety. The Fire Department is currently seeking grant money to make the purchase.
- Replacement of the communication headsets in the fire apparatus so that firefighters can hear the radio and each other above the noise of the engine and sirens.
Fire Department Expenditures by Type
Fire Department Expenditures by Fund
Here is a summary of the Fire Department by fund. Click on the graph to explore greater detail.
Fire Personnel History
FY 2019: Add (2) full-time positions: (1) Battalion Chief for training and special operations and (1) Assistant Fire Marshal