Under the direction of Fire Operations Division Chief Nick Carlson, the Fire Operations Division is comprised of three Battalions (A, B & C) of 39 personnel each. These dedicated women and men work 56 hour weeks to assure 24/7/365 day response readiness.
Each Battalion is led by a Battalion Chief.
Above, left to right: Battalion Chief Jimmy Massey (A-Shift), Battalion Chief Tim Daly (B-Shift), Battalion Chief Shawn Barrows (C-Shift)
A Firefighter’s day begins at 7:00 am and continues for a 24 hour period. They take care of their Fire Stations just like it is their home, including lawn maintenance, snow removal, painting, waxing the floors, light construction and cleaning them top to bottom.
A firefighter’s day is busy. They begin the day by checking their personal protective gear, equipment and trucks. Next, they engage in physical fitness training, followed by daily company training. The afternoons are spent performing equipment and station maintenance, conducting fire preplans, school visits, public education, fire inspections, drills, more training, station tours and much more. And remember, at any time, they may have to drop everything to respond to emergencies.
Rapid City Firefighters are well versed and highly trained in the area of wildland firefighting. In addition to providing wildland fire suppression and staffing Incident Command System (ICS) position in and around Rapid City, our firefighters deploy to large fires across the United States each year. In the last two years alone, Rapid City Firefighters have traveled to large fires in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Kansas, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana and Idaho.
To assist in battling these large blazes, our firefighters performed tasks such as fireline medics, helicopter crewmembers, engine bosses, firefighters, command & general staff positions, hand crew members and heavy equipment bosses. The experience our members get while deployed to these large fires makes the Rapid City Fire Department a top-notch organization able to handle the toughest fires when they arrive at our back door. In addition to the gained knowledge and experience, the expenses are reimbursed and directly fund apparatus and equipment that would normally have to be funded by general tax dollars.
The Training Section’s primary focus is firefighter education. The training section, led by Section Chief Matt Culberson, oversees the on-going training of our current firefighters to meet or exceed minimum standards set forth by federal, state, and local regulations.
Every other year year, the Training Section oversees a Fire Officer Academy. This academy, designed to follow NFPA Fire Officer I and Fire Officer II standards, prepares up-and-coming senior firefighters for the transition to fire officer within the Rapid City Fire Department. These senior firefighters are presented classes on management, interpersonal relationships, strategies and tactics, and many other topics pertinent to making that next career step.
The Academy culminates in a promotion exam including a written test, an interview, and a scenario based test. Candidates that successfully complete all phases of the exam are then ranked according to scores, and then placed on a list to await openings for Lieutenant (the first line supervisor within the department). This ranked list is good for 2 years.
Training Section plans and oversees the Rapid City Fire Department Recruit Academy for newly hired employees as well as putting together a training schedule for current firefighters. The Training Section will continue to prepare our people with the education necessary to deliver the highest degree of service to the Rapid City community.
Maintenance Mike Holmberg keeps our fleet of over sixty vehicles ready to respond to calls. With help from Lt. Tyler Wilcox, they are responsible for repair, maintenance and service of all Department ambulances, large & small fire apparatus, wildland apparatus, staff vehicles, and all other rolling stock. In addition to fire trucks, Randy, Mike & Tyler maintain and service all of the equipment that is utilized in our jobs.