Fire Department

Fire Department

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why do you send a fire truck along with an ambulance to a medical emergency?
    Fire trucks have first responder personnel and can get help to you more quickly. The ambulance or rescue unit will provide transportation to an emergency room, depending on the nature of the call. All members of the Cincinnati Fire Division are certified Emergency Medical Technician or Certified paramedics.
  2. Why do firefighters break out window and cut holes in roof during a fire?
    Firefighters ventilate smoke and superheated gases for safety and visibility. This lets firefighters to get inside the building to find and extinguish the fire, thereby reducing property damage. This also reduce the chances of a backdraft explosion.
  3. What is the difference between an ambulance and rescue unit?
    Ambulances carry Basic Life Support equipment, and personnel are trained as emergency medical technicians to handle and transport people with minor injuries to the hospital. Rescue Units are staffed with certified paramedics and carry advanced life support equipment for handling serious injuries such as heart attacks, strokes, gunshot wounds, etc.
  4. Why do you block traffic lanes at auto accidents -- more lanes than are necessary?
    It's for the safety of our personnel and our patients. Blocking extra lanes keep our personnel safe when they go back to our apparatus to get more equipment, and it helps protect the victim we're trying to stabilize.
  5. Why do firefighters get upset when you drive over fire hoses?
    The fire hose is the lifeline of a firefighter when fighting a fire. If you drive over it, the hose can be damaged, and any firefighter at the end of a nozzle will have the water interrupted -- possibly causing injury or death.
  6. How do you become a firefighter?
    To become a firefighter, you must have certain qualifications. You can get a list of the qualifications at Two Centennial Plaza, 805 Central Avenue, 2nd Floor, or call the Human Resources Department at 513-352-2400. For information on future recruiting efforts, contact the Fire Department Recruiting Officer at 513-352-1684.
  7. Why do firefighters keep weeds and bushes away from fire hydrants?
    Firefighters keep weeds and bushes 4 feet from fire hydrants for visibility and accessibility.
  8. How do you get a smoke detector from the Fire Department?
    Visit any firehouse to request one or by calling our Fire Prevention Bureau at 513-357-7595.
  9. What number do you call for a fire inspection?
    Call our Fire Prevention Bureau at 513-357-7597.
  10. Why is it illegal to burn leaves and brush on my property?
    Ohio EPA strictly regulates and prohibits open burning outdoor.
  11. Why do firefighters shop at the local grocery stores?
    Firefighters work a 24-hour shift and must supply their own food. They combine their money to purchase food for meals. Often, you will see them at a grocery store in a fire engine. The only way the Cincinnati Fire Department can ensure that four firefighters will respond and arrive in an average of less than 4 minutes is by using the vehicle they respond in -- with all four firefighters present and available. Sometimes they receive a call while shopping for food, which means they leave directly from the grocery store and have to come back later to finish their grocery shopping.
  12. Why does my water turn brown when firefighters turn fire hydrants on?
    We inspect fire hydrants for proper operation. We turn the fire hydrants on to make sure they operate properly. We turn the hydrants on slowly so as not to stir up the sediment that is in the pipes, but at times the sediment does get stirred up and the water coming out of your faucet can be brown in color.
  13. What should I do if I am unable to pay my ambulance bill?
    You can contact the EMS Billing Office at 513-352-4895 if you would like to arrange a payment plan.

    If you would like to apply for financial assistance, complete the Financial Aid Form (click here for Spanish version) and forward the Financial Aid Form with the requested information to this address:
    CINCINNATI OH  45202

If you are not sure whether you qualify for financial aid, our discount policy is outlined in Administrative Regulation 67.  You can find the income guidelines on the Sliding Fee Schedule.

  1. How can I obtain a copy of the bill or the report for my transport?

Complete the attached HIPAA release form and mail it to this address:

    CINCINNATI OH  45202

You may also fax your request to 513-357-7510 :  Attention EMS BILLING AND REPORTS