The Fire Suppression Bureau operates three shifts, each commanded by a Deputy Fire Chief. Firefighters respond from 30 Engine Houses located throughout the City and organized into six districts. Each district is commanded by a Battalion Chief. there are 36 front line fire suppression apparatus staffed by a minimum of four firefighters per apparatus. The Fire Department can have a fire suppression apparatus to any block in the city within an average of four minutes of being dispatched. The Fire Department's mission is to provide the highest possible fire, rescue and emergency medical services for the protection of life, property, commerce and the environment in the City of St. Louis.
Of the 36 front line fire suppression apparatus, 34 have pumping capabilities with 25 of them having aerial capabilities. The Fire Department staffs: nine Engine Companies (without an aerial), 20 Truck Companies (with 75 ft. aerial ladders), and five Hook & Ladder Companies (with aerials greater than 100 ft.). The remaining two front line apparatus are Heavy Rescue Squads. The squads carry tools and equipment to assist firefighters rescuing persons who are trapped in any situation -- from auto accidents and elevators to building or collapsed buildings.
All firefighters are trained in the latest fire suppression techniques, hazardous material recognition, medical first response and basic rescue techniques. A firefighter's base of knowledge must cover the areas of building construction, hydraulics, medical treatment, fire sprinkler design, safe driving practices and vehicle extrication techniques. Each one of these areas is continually changing with new training to keep him/her abreast of changes in these areas.
The Fire Department is broken down into three platoons, or "shifts." Each shift is 24 hours long and commanded by a Deputy Chief. The city is broken into six battalions or districts, each commanded by a Battalion Chief. Each battalion is made up of six companies. Each company consists of an apparatus staffed by a Captain and a minimum of three firefighters.
"A" shift - Deputy Chief Brian Walsh
"B" shift - Deputy Chief Michael Arras
"C" shift - Deputy Chief John Altmann