The primary purpose of the Birmingham Fire Department is to save lives and protect property. To successfully accomplish this goal, fires must be kept to a minimum with the possibility of eradication. The methods proving successful are:
- Response time, on average 3 minutes - arriving with a full complement of personnel, apparatus, and equipment
- Public education
Birmingham is proud to house Oakway Haz-Mat I, the special response vehicle funded and manned by the surrounding Oakway mutual aid communities, which include Birmingham, Bloomfield Township, Ferndale, Madison Heights, Royal Oak, Southfield, Waterford and West Bloomfield. The Haz-Mat Team consists of 80 members trained to the Technician Level. The Team responds to and mitigates incidents such as chemical spills, gas releases, biological threats and acts of terrorism. It also has the capability to decontaminate involved persons. Training for the Oakway Haz-Mat Team is ongoing throughout the year.
The Birmingham Fire Department has continued to progress in the area of technical rescue. The department has a trailer equipped with various lifting, cutting and shoring tools to provide the newest and most advanced technology in rescue operations. The completion of our training tower will allow continued training throughout the year in high angle rescue, confined space, and structural collapse. Currently, five team members have completed the extensive Rescue Technician Program (technician level is the highest level of training) and will be continuing to train all department members to the operations level.
Vehicle extrication is the art and science of removing a vehicle from around an injured person. The Birmingham Fire Department attributes its success in vehicle extrication to both frequent training and quality equipment. The Birmingham Fire Department uses gasoline powered-hydraulic extrication equipment consisting of pumps, spreaders, rams and combination tools. With spreading forces in excess of 24,000 pounds, these special hydraulic tools provide the Fire Department with the technology to meet the challenge.
All Birmingham Fire Department response personnel train biannually on radiological response. This training includes response, identification, physics, radiological hazards and mitigation. Each fire engine is equipped with a radiological response kit made up of two monitors, six dosimeters (measures total accumulated radiation) and dosimeter charger. Level B personal protective equipment is also included in the kit. Additional equipment is also carried on the Oakway Haz-Mat response vehicle, which is stationed within the City of Birmingham.