The Enfield Fire Department is one of five separate fire departments situated within the Town of Enfield (pop. 46,000). The Fire Department was organized in 1896 and has operated continually ever since. The Enfield Fire Department is under the direction of Chief Edward Richards and has a maximum active roster of sixty personnel, not including the Chief. Currently the roster consists of thirty-six volunteer, 6 cadets and 8 career firefighters.
The Fire Department receives alarms in the police/fire dispatch center located in the Enfield Public Safety Complex primarily through an Enhanced 911 telephone system. The Fire Department ordinarily responds to over 1200 incidents per year.
The Fire Department protects more than 22,000 residents over approximately 12 square miles and a grand list of approximately $934 million. The Fire Department operating budget adopted for fiscal year 2018-2019 is $3,421,000 with a tax rate of 3.6 mills.
The District that the Fire Department serves is largely residential, with some commercial and light manufacturing. Interstate Route 91 and U.S. Route 5 cross the District running North/South and a major rail line used by Amtrak for passenger service and various freight lines runs the length of the District near the Connecticut River. The District also lies in the approach path to Bradley International Airport which is located approximately seven miles to the southwest.
The Fire Department operates eight pieces of fire apparatus out of two stations. Headquarters is located at 200 Phoenix Avenue (Station 1) and 199 Weymouth Road (Station 2) extends coverage to the south east region of the District. Apparatus includes two engines, two quints, an aerial ladder tower, a heavy-duty rescue, a mini-pumper and a brush truck. The Department also operates four command/staff vehicles, a State of CT sponsored Hazardous Materials Response vehicle, a Hovercraft and a maintenance vehicle. The normal response on all structural fire calls within the District is two quints, an engine, the aerial and the rescue.
Enfield Fire District No. 1 is governed by a Board of Fire Commissioners comprised of local resident/taxpayers. The nine member board consists of a President, Vice President, Clerk/Treasurer and six Commissioners. All nine are elected by the taxpayers at annual meetings (three in any given year) and serve staggered three year terms. Officers of the Commission members and are elected by the Commission members and serve one-year terms. The Fire Commission meets monthly, generally on the first Thursday of the month. Sub-committees of the Commission meet on an “as needed’ Basis throughout the year. The Annual Meeting of the Fire District is held on the first Thursday in May. Special meetings of the District or Board of Commissioners are held as needed during the year.
The Fire Chief is appointed by the Board of Fire Commissioners. The Fire Chief appoints all of the Line Officers with notification to the Board of Fire Commissioners. Currently the Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Chief/Training Officer, Fire Marshal, Maintenance Officer, Fire Inspector and four firefighter positions are full-time, career positions. Career personnel are on duty at both stations every weekday from 7 AM to 5 PM. In addition, a combination of career and paid-call / volunteer members staff Station #1 for eight-hour shifts covering Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night and Sunday each weekend.
Regularly scheduled training drills are generally held by the Department’s Training Division at 1830 hours on the second and fourth Tuesday evenings of each month and the immediately following Friday mornings at 0900 hours. Weekend shifts and weekday shifts often include additional training sessions. Many other hours of training are scheduled throughout the year. Meetings/training sessions for the Department Line Officers are generally held on the third Tuesday of every month.
The Enfield Fire District No. 1 Volunteer Firemen’s Association, Inc. was organized to provide firefighting manpower for the Fire District and was incorporated as a non-profit, charitable corporation in 1967, having been in existence since 1896. The roster capacity is sixty (60) persons, not including the Fire Chief. The membership process consists of submitting an application, undergoing an interview by the Fire Chief or his/her designee, being approved for probationary membership by the examination, and being approved for regular membership after successfully completing six months of probation upon recommendation of the Fire Chief and Training Officer. In order to maintain regular membership a firefighter must attend a minimum of 25% of the “toned out” incidents and 12 regular drills per fiscal year.
The Association holds meetings on the first Tuesday of every month at 1900 hours except for January, June and September when the meetings are scheduled for the second Saturday in the month at 1830 hours as a dinner meeting. The Association also sponsors several social events during the year such as Christmas party for the children and siblings of the members, a family picnic, and a Ladies Night Dinner/Dance. Fund raising events such as a Chicken Barbecue are occasionally scheduled.
The Enfield Fire Department and/or its members belong to many state and national fire service organizations in order to stay abreast of the latest technology, techniques and information affecting the contemporary fire service.
The Fire Department and/or its members also belong to several local fire service organizations such as the Enfield Fire Chiefs Association, the Enfield Fire Training Association the Enfield Fire Marshals Association, and the Enfield Fire Prevention Committee. These organizations foster interaction and cooperative efforts among the five Fire Departments in Enfield.
“…to protect lives and property both real and personal, by providing skilled personnel and modern equipment to respond to emergency situations, through development of fire prevention programs, firefighter training programs, and through participation in interagency cooperatives and mutual aid plans.”