Jim Bussell

September 12, 2016 - 1:45 pm

Fire Department Appearance Request

Community Event and Appearances

The Rapid City Fire Department remains firmly committed to community relations and public education. However, due to higher call volumes and a high volume of requests from the community, the Rapid City Fire Department has set forth the following guidelines.

All requests must be submitted via the Fire Department Appearance Request formYou can find that form by clicking here

For questions related to appearance requests, please contact Tessa Jaeger, Public Information Officer for the Rapid City Fire Department at (605)-394-4180 or email her This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For an educational class, you may also contact our Fire and Life Safety Educator, Monica Colby, at 605-394-5233 or email Ms. Colby  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


1. All requests must be received no less than 14 days in advance.

2. While firefighters enjoy participating in community events, our first priority is providing quality, timely, and professional emergency services to those who live in, work in, and visit our community. We may not be able to accommodate all event requests due to training obligations, call volume and other scheduling conflicts.

3. If a fire crew attends your event, they will typically remain “in service” and stage the apparatus somewhere that allows them to leave quickly if they are dispatched to an emergency.

4. Crew visits at community events are typically scheduled for 1-2 hours, with the understanding that an emergency response may cause the crew to arrive late to the event, to leave abruptly, or in some cases, to not be able to show up at all.

5. Submission of a form does not guarantee approval. The Rapid City Fire Department reserves the right to deny a request at Rapid City Fire Department discretion.

6. After your completed form is received, we will send you an e-mail confirmation within one week acknowledging that your request was received and is being reviewed.

7.  It is highly recommended that your event not be centered on an appearance by the Rapid City Fire Department, but rather should be approached as a complimentary element to your program.

8. Completed forms may be submitted:

-In person at Rapid City Fire Department Headquarters located at 10 Main St. in downtown Rapid City.

-Submitted via email to the Rapid City Fire Department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

-Mailed to:

Rapid City Fire Department Headquarters

Attention: Tessa Jaeger

10 Main St

Rapid City, SD 57701

-Faxed to the Rapid City Fire Department, (605)-394-6754

9.       All forms must be filled out completely and include a signature in order to be considered.

May 11, 2016 - 10:16 am

Veteran Wildfire Mitigation Crew

Rapid City Veteran Training and Wildfire Mitigation

Veteran crew poses after a training 

The Rapid City Fire and Parks Departments work together on the Rapid City Veteran Training and Wildfire Mitigation program. The program, started June 14, 2013, is part of the city's successful Survivable Space Initiative, which focuses on the removal of hazardous fuels associated with wildfires. Wildfire is a constant threat every year in the Black Hills, and, programs like these help communities like Rapid City reduce the threat of a catastrophic fire event in areas where neighborhoods are mixed with natural vegetative fuels.  

Our veteran crews assists the city of Rapid City with wildfire preparedness in hazardous fuel removal and receive training in areas of fire fighting, emergency preparedness, equipment operation, forestry, parks, and public education.  

Under the city's Urban Interface Management Plan, the Fire Department and Parks Department work together to battle mountain pine beetle infestations in the city and tackle hazardous fuel reduction for wildfire.  An every growing problem, and one where manpower and funds are a premium, the BLM Community Assistance Program greatly assists in this effort.                                Veteran crews working to remove dead trees and underbrush.
   Project in progress. Left trees are overcrowded and right are well spaced. 

A project in process. The Veteran Crew has not worked on the trees on the left and have finished working on the trees on the right. This heavy fuel loading has a catastrophic wildfire potential. The treated area on the right provides a safety benefit for both residents and firefighters in our community. Without funding from program like the BLM Wildfire Community Assistance program, the massive amount of work to remove this hazardous fuel would prove extremely difficult.

May 11, 2016 - 10:04 am

Chipping Program

Wildand Urban Interface Chipping Program



Modifying fuels near a home in a high risk area is important to reduce fire behavior in the event of a wildfire. To help homeowners accomplish this task, the City of Rapid City will offer chipping of removed fuels for high risk neighborhoods by appointment.

This is not a debris removal, landscaping or cleanup project. The larger woody brush, small pines, cedars, junipers, and other overgrown woody brush material pose the greatest fire threat. Debris or landscaping described as unacceptable will not be removed. Piles mixed with unacceptable materials may not be removed. 


  • Your neighborhood must be within the City of Rapid City and identified as being at risk for wildfire. 
  • In 2012, priority will be given to neighborhoods in the Carriage Hills, Wildwood, Pinedale Heights, Chapel Valley and Skyline Drive areas.
  • Select a neighborhood representative to sign a stewardship agreement. ONE PERSON will sign up the neighborhood or portion of the neighborhood.
  • All participants MUST attend a neighborhood meeting with the fire department or an onsite consultation before the chipping date.
  • There must be at least 12 homes participating; no maximum.
  • Select a chipping date and submit a list of participating addresses at least 1 week prior to the selected date.
  • All piles must be ready by 8:00 A.M. on the first scheduled day. The crews will survey the piles and arrange for adequate labor to chip all piles.
  • Slash mulch will be hauled away for recycling or a full load can be left on-site for mulch when requested.



 What’s Acceptable?

Example of a pile not stacked correctly.

  • Woody limbs and branches only, up to 6” in diameter. 
  • Woody material must be clear of nails or wire
  • Hazardous woody material includes small pines, cedar, juniper, & other woody brush material that is over grown on the property.
  • Piles only
  • Piles must be stacked with cut ends facing the road.
  • Piles must be within 5’ of the roadway.
  • Limit pile size to 5’x5’x5’. No limit as to the number of piles
  • Slash mulch will be hauled away for recycling or a full load can be left on-site for mulch when requested.

What’s Unacceptable?


  • No construction or building materials
  • No bags
  • No trash, weeds, vines, flower stems, and other trimmings such as sticks and twigs
  • No root wads, dirt or rocks
  • No grass clippings or leaves
  • Do not combine piles with neighbors or haul in material from other neighborhoods.


 For more information on the chipping program, please contact Lt. Tim Weaver at (605)-394-5233.

May 11, 2016 - 9:58 am

Survivable Space Initiative

Survivable Space Initiative 

WUIholdingsignSeptsurvivable space signs1

Homeowners, like this couple on the left, who improve the safety of their home and property from wildland fire may receive recognition from the city.


The Survivable Space Initiative works to create survivable spaces, meaning they are more likely to withstand a wildfire without intervention and direct protection by fire fighters. During a large wildfire event, fire fighting resources may not be able to protect all properties.

Rapid City homeowners who meet minimum standards in protecting their property from wildland fire may receive the Survivable Space Initiative recognition which includes a plaque to post on the property and a certificate.

Interested homeowners in Rapid City may contact Lieutenant O'Connor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at (605)-394-5233 extention 6101 to schedule a no cost, no obligation review of their property. Lieutenant O'Connor will make suggestions for improvement, if needed, and discuss possible grant opportunities to help defray costs.

Homewoners in high risk areas may also request a chipper and crew remove piles of smaller wildfire fuels in their community. To learn more, click here.

Lieutenant O'Connor is happy to speak with homeowners associations or neighborhood groups about the Survivable Space Initiative. 

May 11, 2016 - 9:44 am

Wildland Fire Safety- Home

survivable space signs1
The sole purpose of a Wildland Fuels Mitigation Plan is to limit fire spread and limit loss within the Wildland Urban Interface, where wildland and development meet.
The Survivable Space Initiative works to create survivable spaces, meaning they are more likely to withstand a wildfire without intervention and direct protection by firefighters. During a large wildfire event, firefighting resources may not be able to protect all properties. Click here to learn more about this initiative.

Most homeowners are aware of their danger but need guidance and cost assistance. The Rapid City Fire Department works with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and the local Great Plains Fire Safe Council to make education and grant money available to homeowners. 

Interested homeowners in Rapid City may contact Lieutenant O'Connor This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling (605)-394-5233 extention 6101 to schedule a no cost, no obligation review of their property. Lieutenant O'Connor is happy to speak with homeowners associations or neighborhood groups.
Cost assistance may be available for you hire a contractor to remove large fuels or to bring a chipper to your neighborhood to remove smaller fuels. 
Preparing for a wildfire also includes knowing your escape routes, assembling emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot, and having a plan to reunite with your family after an evacuation. We remind homeowners to stay aware of the latest news on the fire from local media and the fire department, always follow their own personal action plan, and leave early.
Learn more about your home's risk by viewing the Wildland Risk Assessment Map. Properties are assessed and added each week. If your property is not on the map, check back again soon. 

Communities in Rapid City are receiving national Firewise Recognition for their ongoing efforts to make their neighborhood more resistive to fire. Check back later to learn more about those communities.

To read our Open Letter to Homeowners, please click here.


Before: Fire can easily spread from the grass to the trees and to this house.


After: The space is survivable due to the non-combustible roof and siding, the low vegetation near the house, green grass barrier, and an open tree canopy.



 Open, well-maintained areas can create a barrier between the fire and the home.



Screening under the deck helps to prevent flying embers from smoldering in debris near the home, preventing a common cause of wildland urban interface fires. 



Before (above): Dense undergrowth can quickly spread a fire into the trees and to the home.

After (below): Thinning produces a clean, safe, and park-like setting.




April 28, 2016 - 11:00 am

Permits, Planning, and Codes

Assembly & Event Planning

Find large assembly and event planning guidelines here. 
Indoor Assembly common concerns and tips
Outdoor Assembly common concerns

Blasting Permit Blasting permits can be obtained in person in our office at 1930 Promise Road. Please call 605-394-5233 for answers and regulations about blasting.

Fire & Building Codes and Permits We have adopted the 2003 International Fire Code with local amendments in the City of Rapid City Code of Ordinances Chapter 8.24 

Local ammendments to the International Residential Code, Building Code, Electrical Code, and Gas Code are in Chapter 15 at the link above.

These building and fire codes reference National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards which can be viewed online here.

Building Permits and Reviews are submitted to the Building Services Division of the Community Planning and Development Services.

Fire Sprinkler and Fire Alarm plans may be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For large files, use transfer.rcgov.org and “drop-off” files to the attention of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You may call 605-394-5233 or email us and we will send a “drop-off request” link to you via email for the large file transfer.

Fire Lanes Fire Lane Ordinance


Recreational or backyard fire use Recreational fires on private property are allowed in city limits when the grasslands fire danger is not Very High or Extreme. View today's fire danger here. Examples are fires in a fire pit, chimnea, or other outdoor wood stove. Learn more about enjoying fire responsibly here.

Open Burning Permit (Agricultural and Bonfire) The Operations Division of the fire department oversees permits for agricultural use and certain bonfires. pdf Download an application and review the requirements here. (13 KB) Return the application to our headquarters at 10 Main Street for approval. The day of the burn call the on duty Battalion Chief at 605-394-4180.

Fire Watch To access information on a fire watch, please click here. Email fire watch dates/times to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Fireworks – Residential Only novelty consumer fireworks are allowed in city limits. These include poppers and sparklers. All other fireworks traditionally sold at a firework stand are not legal to light within city limits.

Pyrotechnic Permit – proximate audience and display Pyrotechnic Permits can be obtained by calling 605-394-5233 or emailing us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Turnaround Download specifications for our pdf widest turning vehicle here (50 KB) .

For more information regarding required fire-related permits within Rapid City, please contact the Fire and Life Safety Division at 605-394-5233.

April 28, 2016 - 9:42 am

Special Operations

Special Response Team


The Pennington County Special Response Team is a law enforcement team that is used in life threatening critical events that are beyond the capabilities of normal patrol resources. These events include High Risk Search Warrants, Hostage Negotiations, and Active Shooters. To resolve these types of incidents, the SRT uses professional and standardized training to deploy special weapons and tactics.

The team is made up of law enforcement officers from the Rapid City Police Department, Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, and four Paramedics from the Rapid City Fire Department. The Paramedics from the Rapid City Fire Department are trained in Tactical Emergency Medical Support. This is specialized medical training to provide immediate lifesaving skills in scenes too dangerous for ambulance operations.

For more info on the RC/PC Special response team, visit the Rapid City Police Department or the Pennington County Sheriff's Office


Heavy Rescue

IMG 0117

Heavy Rescue is located at Station 7.  Heavy Rescue specializes in structural collapse rescue, trench rescue, confined space rescue, high angle rescue and vehicle extrication.  A high level of training and hours goes into obtaining and maintaining these certifications.  Station 7 is also the home to “Cisco”, the canine search dog.  He is a Belgian Malinois and is certified to find live victims in wilderness search and building collapse.  He is currently the only canine in South Dakota certified in building collapse search.


Select members of the heavy rescue station- including Cisco- are members of South Dakota Task Force 1.  Station 7 provides the search and rescue component for task force. The task force is made up of members from Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Aberdeen, and Watertown.  



Water Rescue Team


The Rapid City/Pennington County Water Rescue Team (WRT) has been a combined effort of the Rapid City Fire Department, the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office, and the Rapid City Police Department, since 1987. The team provides services to Rapid City, Pennington County and the surrounding region.

The WRT can respond to a variety of calls, including:

  • Dive rescue and recovery
  • Surface rescue and recovery
  • Swift water rescue and recovery
  • Ice rescue and recovery
  • Evidence recovery and underwater crime scene investigation

As the largest water rescue team in the region, the WRT is classified as a Type III response team and is currently undergoing training to enhance their capabilities to a Type II response team.

The team can be called to a myriad of water related calls and the members perform their duties in trying and hazardous conditions that include black water diving, ice diving, night time operations, and exposure to extreme temperatures. The team is available 24 hours a day.

With the area’s growing population and increased interest in water sports, as well as a continuing threat of flooding from Rapid Creek and the surrounding area, the WRT is an essential part of the public safety efforts provided by the cooperating agencies. Over the past several years, the WRT has responded to dozens of water related calls for service including drowning rescue and recovery, evidence recovery, and swift water rescues and recovery.

                       IMG 4500

April 19, 2016 - 10:37 am

Fire and Life Safety Division

The Fire and Life Safety Division helps you stay safe from fire in the city - wherever you work, shop, worship, play, and sleep. We try to keep dangerous fires from starting. When that fails, we give you the best chance of getting to safety using fire sprinklers, fire alarms, education, and ensuring buildings are built and maintained to protect you during a fire.

We investigate the cause and origin of fires. We pay attention to why, where, and how often there are fires and related incidents to help us best use the resources we are provided.
FLSD Main Page 2 minutes too hot too poisonous photo 
Two minutes after a fire starts, the room is often too hot to stand up in and too full of poison for your brain to think. In just another short minute the room can be full of fire. The rest of the building will fill with poisons and empty of oxygen. Learn how to protect the ones you love.
FLSD Main Page wildland link photo for main FLSD page 
Is your home at risk from a wildland fire? A few simple actions now can protect your home from outside fires. Click here for more information.
Wildfire Risk Assessment Map. See the risk of wildfire damaging your Rapid City home. This map is a work in progress with properties added every week. If your house doesn't have a rating yet, check back again soon.
FLSD Main page FIEF hands overlay with logo
We need everyone's help to fight fire. Our fire fighters are highly trained professionals who will successfully stop a fire once they arrive. The community will be safer if everyone can escape a fire before we arrive and even safer if they never start a fire. Learn more about how you can help.
FLSE Main Page codes
Find information about burn permits, blasting permits, pyrotechnic permits, assembly planning, fire codes, local amendments, turnaround specifications, and more Click here for information on permits, planning, and code-related concerns.
Would you like us to visit your group or organization to talk about fire prevention or life safety systems? Use the contact information below or submit your information on this form. https://forms.clickup.com/f/80k10-525/661FTU9L0W1H642L1Q
 RCFD Patch transparent thumbnail
Fire and Life Safety Division
Rapid City Fire Department
Station 6 (lower level), 1930 Promise Road, Rapid City, SD 57701
Phone: (605) 394-5233 Fax: (605) 394-5235
April 19, 2016 - 10:21 am

Employment Opportunities

Thank you for your interest in the Rapid City Fire Department.

In 2020 we were called to more than 19,000 incidents, over 70% of which were medical in nature. As this number continues to grow, so too does the need for public education and community involvement. Our Fire Department has the following values: Reliability, Service, Professionalism, Pride, Integrity, and Loyalty - please be thinking about what those values mean to you for your interview.

As the largest fire department in our area, we have the unique opportunity to participate as 'All Risk.' This includes fire protection for our citizens, National Wildland fire, Heavy and Light rescue, Water Rescue, Hazardous Materials (HazMat), and Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting (ARFF) at our airport.

Our employees are committed to delivering the highest level of community service and believe that creating a safe community adds to the overall quality of life for our citizens and visitors. The Fire Department focuses on preparing and preventing hazards to the citizens through community risk reduction, public information, and code enforcement programs as well as internal development and continuing education.


Employment Opportunities

The Rapid City Fire Department is hiring Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics, both full time and part time. Check under benefited positions for full time and non benefited positions for part time. To apply click here. 


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