Fire - EMS
To provide a high quality of life for residents and visitors to the City of Salem by providing protection of life and property, provision of pre-hospital care for the sick and injured, and the mitigation of man-made and natural emergencies. We will accomplish this through safety education and effective and efficient delivery of emergency and non-emergency services. We will perform our duties honestly and faithfully to the best of our ability and without favor, or prejudice.
To be recognized throughout the nation as a leader in the delivery of Fire, Emergency Medical Service, and Disaster Management.
There are many facets to our profession. We have our specialized teams, Technical Rescue and Hazardous Materials Team, showcased on the site. Photos of the training and real incidents can be found in galleries there.
The men and women of Salem Fire-EMS also devote time "off the clock" to the preservation of firefighting's rich culture. The Honor Guard is highlighted in these pages, protecting tradition and showing respect for fallen firefighters.
- Why do your fire trucks use lights and sirens, even in the middle of the night when there is no traffic?
The purpose of emergency warning equipment is to let drivers and pedestrians know that an emergency vehicle is on the way to an emergency. By Virginia state law, we do have certain privileges extended to us. Those being, to carefully proceed through controlled intersections and travel against the designated flow of traffic. These privileges have rules that the legislation and department policy put on the drivers of these emergency vehicles. The main rule is that we cannot do these things unless there are lights flashing and sirens going. Even in the middle of the night.
- Why does a fire engine come when I only request an ambulance?
All firefighters are trained to provide at least basic emergency medical treatment. Certain types of medical emergencies require more than the standard two members of an ambulance crew for lifting assistance, carrying equipment, and otherwise assisting the medic personnel on scene to better serve the patient.
There are times a fire truck arrives at an incident first because it is the closest emergency unit to the scene and we are committed to getting help to your location as fast as possible. As mentioned above, firefighters are trained to provide basic emergency medical treatment. About 50% of the department is trained in advanced life support (ALS) care. Since there are only three paramedic units in the City, firefighters respond to all calls involving life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest pains, and severe bleeding. They can initiate treatment to stabilize patients and provide information to the paramedics en route to the call so they will be aware of any additional equipment that will be needed on the scene.
- Why do you send so many fire vehicles to a fire, especially a small fire?
Each fire truck only carries three firefighters and it is necessary to have enough firefighters on the scene of an incident. There are a number of specialized roles that firefighters undertake at the scene of a fire, and firefighting is a very labor-intensive activity. If you get behind because there are not enough firefighters on the call, it is more difficult to extinguish a fire quickly.
- I saw a City of Salem fire truck at a grocery store and some of the firefighters were inside shopping for food. Why do firefighters use fire trucks for non-emergency purposes while they are on duty?
To ensure the most effective service at the time of an emergency, our crews must remain in their designated response territory with their fire trucks during their entire shift. Our crews work 24 hour shifts with no scheduled breaks, and meals are not provided by the City.
Personnel on each shift must purchase their own food and prepare their own meals, so they may make a daily trip to the grocery store within their first due neighborhood to buy whatever they need to prepare their meals for the entire shift.
Fire and medic crews do not have to be sitting in the fire station to be dispatched to a call. They are dispatched by a radio system; that's why they carry portable radios wherever they go while on duty and out of the station. All City of Salem units maintain constant radio contact with Fire Communications and the entire crew must always be together with their truck. That ensures they are always ready to respond to any emergency, regardless of their current location or non-emergency assignment.
- How do I arrange to tour a fire station?
Please visit our Request for Services page. We suggest contacting us at least 30 days in advance prior to the desired tour date.
- How can I get a copy of a fire incident or medical incident report?
You can arrange to receive an incident report by calling Amy Keister at the Salem Fire-EMS administration offices, 540-375-3080.
- What do you do with my personal information after I call 911?
We are bound to protect a patient's personal information. The regulations regarding that can be found in the City of Salem Fire & EMS Notice of Privacy Practices document.
- How can I get a smoke detector from the fire department? Will you change the batteries?
The City of Salem Fire-EMS Department purchases a limited number of smoke alarms for distribution to City of Salem residents who may otherwise not be able to afford them. If you can afford a smoke alarm but have a question or concern regarding the installation of your own smoke alarm, please call Captain Mike Perdue, at 540-375-3080 .at the Salem Fire-EMS administration offices
- Where can I go to have my child safety seat inspected or installed?
The Salem Police Department offers this service by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, please contact the Services Lieutenant or Sergeant at 540-375-3083.
- How do I dispose of hypodermic needles?
Put needles in an opaque container (Clorox type bottle). Once full, contact the Sanitation Department to arrange to pick up. NEVER throw needles in the trash.
- Is there open burning in the City of Salem?
No open-air fires are allowed. The only exception is a warming fire for outdoor workers. It must then be placed in a steel/metal barrel and no construction debris can be burned in this barrel.
- Where can I find more information on fire training, emergency management and the like?
Links to be used
- I need information that I couldn't find on your site. What now?
You can either submit the Request for Services Form, or you can give us a call at 540-375-3080. Our offices are open 8-5 pm. Monday through Friday.
In an emergency, please dial 911.