A day in the life of a Sidney firefighter


By Blythe Alspaugh - [email protected]



SIDNEY — There’s no such thing as a typical day in the life of a Sidney firefighter.

“Every day that our personnel come to work is unique and unlike any other day they have or ever will work. Unlike many occupations, the job we do is different each shift,” Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger said.

According to Hollinger, the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services responds to 11 emergency incidents per day— which can reflect a day of crews handling three to five emergencies, or responding to over 20 alarms a day.

The types of emergencies they respond to also vary from day-to-day. The crews may encounter everything from injuries resulting from slips or falls to heart attacks and strokes, from false fire alarms to serious motor vehicle accidents and structure fires.

“Whenever the alarm sounds, our crews await the report from our dispatch center to determine which personnel and what apparatus need to respond,” Hollinger said.

Personnel begin their 24-hour shift at 7 a.m. at their assigned station. At Station 1, located at 222 W. Poplar St., there are five to seven personnel on-duty at a time. At Station 2, located at 411 S. Vandemark Road, three personnel report for duty each day. Their day begins by checking their radios and other assigned personal gear and equipment. Next, the crews will perform readiness checks on department apparatus and mission-critical equipment. After these assignments are completed, firefighters meet with their officers for a daily briefing and then perform physical fitness training, complete cleaning around the station, and conduct detailed cleaning and inventory on specific apparatus based upon the day of the week.

Citizens may have seen members of the department at a local grocery store in the mid-morning hours buying groceries. This individual is the cook for the day and will develop a menu, purchase and prepare the food, and then be reimbursed by their crewmates.

“The time around the kitchen table is a valuable time at the firehouse. Stories are shared by senior members of the department and the younger members learn the history of our department. It is a great time of fellowship and camaraderie,” Hollinger said.

After lunch, the crews will often attempt to take a quick break before department training begins in the afternoon.

Training topics vary by week of the month. EMS, fire, technical rescue, and hazardous materials are each assigned a week of training. Crews will train on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with Monday and Friday left open to catch up on missed training or other details. Saturday and Sunday are rarely assigned any details or additional work.

The afternoon training sessions generally end around 4 p.m. After this time, personnel are free to work on individual assignments, study, read, or other just enjoy some down time. Unless supper is interrupted by calls, crews will again come together around the kitchen table to enjoy a meal together.

“While this daily schedule sounds pretty routine, when emergency calls are added in throughout the day it becomes anything but routine,” Hollinger said.

Firefighter/EMT-paramedics work as a team. Each team, determined by crew and shift, spends every third day together. Over the course of a 25 year career, they spend over eight full years together.

“For that reason, our selection process is very detailed and time consuming. When someone joins our department, we must be sure that they will acclimate well to not only the job, but also their crewmates. Once a member of the department, you have a second family,” Hollinger said.

The city of Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services is currently accepting applications for the position of Firefighter/EMT-paramedic. For more information on the hiring process, please visit the city’s webpage at www.sidneyoh.com and click on the ‘employment’ section on the homepage.

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By Blythe Alspaugh

[email protected]

The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Fire and Emergency Services Department, 222 W. Poplar St., Sidney.

The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Fire and Emergency Services Department, 222 W. Poplar St., Sidney.