Operations Division

Our Operations Division is directed by Deputy Chief Craig Dodson and Battalion Chiefs Mike Grzyb and Tim Wersching.

The Operations Division is the single largest component of the St. Charles Fire Department. This division is responsible for fire suppression, emergency medical services and special operations activities. Members of the St. Charles Fire Department's Operation Division respond to over 8,000 calls for help each year.

Staff & Firehouses
Operations are composed of 75 full-time personnel organized into three platoons. Each platoon is supervised by a Battalion Chief who is responsible for emergency and administrative functions for that particular platoon. Each Battalion Chief subsequently reports directly to the Deputy Chief of the department. The work schedule is an alternating schedule of 24-hour shifts.

The St. Charles Fire Department operates out of five firehouses located strategically throughout the city. We staff three advanced life support engine companies and two advanced life support ladder companies. The engine companies are intended to provide water for fire suppression, stretch fire hose and control/extinguish the fire. The engine companies are located at firehouses 2, 4 and 5. The ladder companies provides ventilation, forcible entry and search/rescue operations. They are located at Firehouses 1 and 3. All five companies are staffed with paramedics and equipment to provide advanced emergency medical care.

We also staff two advanced life support ambulances at firehouses 1 and 5. Each ambulance is staffed by two paramedics whose prime function is to provide emergency medical care and transport; however, they also perform firefighting duties during fire ground operations.

The St. Charles Fire Department also has personnel that are trained and equipped to handle unusual or technically challenging calls that fall outside normal fire or emergency medical responses. The personnel making up these special units, or "teams," are fire department personnel that have volunteered to confront incidents that pose a high degree of risk to both citizens and responders.

Special operations activities include hazardous materials response, dive rescue/recovery, swift water rescue, rescue boat operations, technical rescue activities and tactical emergency medical support. Each of these specialized areas is staffed by members of the fire department that have received specialized training in their particular field of interest in addition to normal fire department training.

Special Operations
Within the St. Charles Fire Department's Operation Division, there exist several groups or teams of personnel that are specially trained to handle specific high-risk events. These specially trained and equipped personnel are spread out over all three platoons within the fire department.

Special Operations within the St. Charles Fire Department began in 1979 with the formation of the Hazardous Material Response Team. Over the years, other specialized units such as the Technical Rescue Team, Dive Rescue Team, Swift Water Rescue Team, and Boat Rescue Crews were added to the fire department's resources.

These specialty units do not replace existing units; they make our existing personnel more productive by providing an increased level of service to the citizens of St. Charles. Responses to floods, hazardous chemical accidents, building collapse, and the release of weapons of mass destruction are all addressed by our highly trained personnel. In addition, these same firefighters and paramedics support the operations of other departments within the City of St. Charles as necessary.

The St. Charles Fire department has a variety of specialty equipment and apparatus that can be used to augment general operations. Personnel involved with special operations regularly train to maintain proficiency in their respective areas of expertise. This striving to maintain proficiency and to offer increased services establishes the St. Charles Fire Department as a leader within the community and the state.

Hazardous Material Response Team
The Hazardous Materials Response Team began in 1979 and was the first of the fire department's special operations units. Since 1979, the Hazardous Material Response Team has become a regional unit and is responsible for providing coverage to both St. Charles and Warren counties.

The St. Charles County - Warren County Hazardous Material Response Team is staffed daily by fire department personnel from the various fire departments and fire districts in St. Charles and Warren counties. Hazardous Material Unit 2 is currently stationed at our Engine House 5.

A hazardous material incident is generally described as the intentional or the accidental release of a radiological, toxic, corrosive, flammable or dangerous chemical, biological or nuclear agent into the environment. Personnel from the Hazardous Material Response Team stand ready to respond to intentional releases such as found with illegal drug labs, or to accidental releases that are associated with the normal processing or transportation of hazardous chemicals. The Hazardous Material response Team is also trained and equipped to handle the release of nuclear, chemical, or biological materials associated with terrorism.

Water Rescue
Water rescue in the St. Charles Fire Department had its beginning in the mid 1980s. During that time, a 20-foot rescue boat was purchased for water rescue responses on the Missouri River. Coordinated with the purchase of the rescue boat was the training of specialized personnel for underwater rescue/recovery.

Today, the St. Charles Fire Department operates a state-of-the-art 24-foot rescue boat that also boasts limited fire suppression capabilities. The original 20-foot water rescue boat and two small boats have been placed in reserve for use during floods. Two personal watercraft are utilized as water rescue platforms from April through September via a nationally available loaner program. These rescue boats and crews are quartered at Engine House 4.

Training for all of these various units is ongoing and takes place year round. Basic water rescue techniques are provided to other members of the Fire Department once a year.