This division is responsible for the supervision and management of the department and its’ two stations, as well as the daily operation and coordination of the various divisions. It consists of the Fire Chief, Carlos Aviles, who also serves as the City’s Emergency Manager, and an Administrative Coordinator. Administration is also responsible for the Fire Department Budget; Human Resources and Payroll; Purchasing; Public records requests; Trucks, Equipment and Station needs; and meeting ISO requirements.
The prevention of fire before it starts is of paramount importance in effectively protecting life and property. Public education, annual inspection of businesses and ensuring strict code compliance on newly constructed buildings are all methods utilized to reduce fire incidents. This division provides a number of other services related to protecting the lives and property of its citizens which include:
- Annual school fire prevention programs
- Fire investigation
- Installation for smoke alarm and hearing-impaired smoke alarms
- In-service training for local groups and businesses
- Juvenile fire-setter prevention and intervention program
- In-house training for the shift fire safety inspectors
- Providing guest speakers for civic groups and other meetings.
The goal of the Training Division is to provide the best possible training for everyone in the department, regardless of rank, so that each person will operate at their maximum performance level. This provides an opportunity to build, shape and nurture current and future officers of the department.
The responsibilities of the Training Division include:
- Coordinating firefighter EMT/Paramedic re-certification
- Coordinating injury prevention and investigation programs
- Coordinating state level training programs
- Developing training programs for in-house training by the officers at each station
- Maintaining all department training records
- Providing training in inspections
- Providing Fire Officer training
- Testing new fire-fighting equipment and techniques
- Ensuring that the department is in compliance with all ISO training requirements.
This division is comprised of 3 Crew Captains, 3 Lieutenants, 3 Driver Engineers and 21 Firefighters who are assigned to three 24 hour shifts. Station #1 is manned by the Captain, Lieutenant and 5 Firefighters. Station #2 is manned by the Driver Engineer and 2 Firefighters.
All department officers are Florida Certified Fire Officers and Emergency Medical Technicians. Eleven firefighters are also Florida Certified Fire Safety Inspectors and four of those are Florida Certified Fire & Arson Investigators.
The Fire Department protects the City’s 14,000 residents and its’ 5.3 million annual visitors from fires and natural disasters and provides emergency medical care, public education, fire suppression, fire safety inspections, code enforcement, confined space rescue, water rescue and emergency preparedness.
The firefighters respond to approximately 4100 calls per year, with an average response time of 4 minutes.
- Provide fire protection and basic life support medical services to City residents with Florida State certified firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Our department provides BLS support to SJCFR (St. Johns County Fire/Rescue) for all medical calls. Automatic Electronic Defibrillators (AED’s) are carried on the department’s engines and boat, greatly increasing the chances of a patient surviving a heart attack in our community. All department personnel are trained in their use.
- Operate jointly with SJCFR as a “Special Hazards Operations Team”, to respond to hazardous materials incidents.
- Conduct pre-fire surveys of all commercial buildings annually and of special “targeted”, higher risk buildings semi-annually. This information, used in training and for a more effective emergency response, is carried on each responding fire engine.
- Each engine is equipped with a laptop that contains all business pre-fire plans, hydrant maps and a street mapping program.
- The certified Fire Safety Inspectors assist the Fire Marshal in completing fire safety inspections of existing commercial buildings. There are over 1100 businesses within the City limits.
- Complete weekly “in-service” training/education classes as well as attending college level continuing education courses at First Coast Technical Institute and the Florida State Fire College.
- Maintain the department’s fire apparatus, stations and equipment. A typical week has Monday set aside for station maintenance, Tuesday through Thursday for training and pre-fire planning, Friday for vehicle maintenance, and Saturday special training and make-up of uncompleted assignment from the previous days. Inspections, pre-fire surveys, etc. are conducted Monday through Friday, time permitting.
Through the combined efforts of the City’s Fire and Utility Departments, St. Augustine’s Insurance Rating Service’s (ISO) rating was reduced from a Class 3 to a Class 2 in 2013 (Class 1 being the best rating attainable). We are very proud, as less than 1.3% of all communities in the United States have obtained such a rating.