The Borough of Swissvale is served by a “Combination Fire Delivery System”. There are actually two separate organizations or entities that work together collectively to provide the superior fire protection that the Swissvale Community enjoys.
Swissvale Fire Department
The Borough of Swissvale Fire Department is comprised of a full-time career Fire Chief, an Assistant Fire Chief, three Shift Commanders (Deputy Chiefs), two Fire Marshals (Code Officers) and fourteen part-time firefighters and is governed by the elected Borough Council.
Swissvale Volunteer Fire Department
The Swissvale Volunteer Fire Department is comprised of an Assistant Chief, two Captains, two Lieutenants and eleven volunteer firefighters and is governed by the organization’s Corporate By-Laws and Officers: a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
Protecting Through Partnership
The two departments have forged a partnership to operate under one unified command structure and work operationally in emergency situations as a unified delivery system, complimenting each other to provide the best fire protection possible to the community they serve.
With a combination fire delivery system, the community wins by having a quick response from on-duty personnel, while having the ability to muster the required additional resources for potentially major incidents, saving the taxpayers from the substantial burden of a completely paid fire delivery system.
The department operates a fleet consisting of two Engines, a Ladder Truck, and five support vehicles out of one station.
The Swissvale Fire Department works closely with surrounding fire departments and provides and/or receives automatic and mutual aid from Pittsburgh, Edgewood, Rankin, Forest Hills, Homestead, North Braddock, Braddock and West Homestead Fire Departments.
Professionally Trained & National Pro-Board Certified
All firefighters, both career and volunteer, are trained and certified to the National Standards of NFPA 1001 through National Professional Board of Fire Service Qualifications.
The Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program recognizes and certifies participating department’s firefighter training levels attained through the National Pro-Board.
The Borough of Swissvale Fire Department and the Swissvale Volunteer Fire Department have attained the Gold level standard by the Pennsylvania Fire Commissioners by demonstrating that 100% of the department’s active volunteer firefighters have been trained, tested and certified to the level of the National Pro-Board requirements.
Only 37 of the state’s 2,488 municipal fire departments have attained this level of training.
Emergency Medical Response
All of the career firefighters and many of the volunteer firefighters are also certified as Medical First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics through the Pennsylvania Department of Health. We provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and respond to approximately 1,000 EMS calls annually.
What we do…… We don’t just put out fires!
The Swissvale Fire Department is not only responsible for fire suppression and EMS activities. The fire department is charged with Code Enforcement the enforcement of all building related codes and ordinances, fire codes as well as zoning compliance.
The Fire Chief serves as the Borough’s Building Code Official (BCO) and administers compliance of the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code. All building permits are issued by the Fire Department. The Fire Chief also serves as the Borough’s Zoning Officer and administers compliance of the Borough’s Zoning Ordinances. On duty firefighters assist in the permit and inspection process requirements of the Codes. We issue approximately 150 Building and Zoning Permits annually and perform more than 500 inspection visits related to those permits.
The fire department also administers the Borough’s Occupancy Permit Ordinance. Every time occupancy changes in any dwelling or premises or the property is sold, the fire department must inspect said property to ensure that it is in compliance with current Property Maintenance, Fire and Life Safety Codes. We issue approximately 750 permits annually and perform more than 1500 inspection visits related to those permits. The Fire Marshall manages this program and schedules all inspections performed by him and other on duty firefighters.