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Fire Suppression

Firefighter Duties

Responsibilities of today's firefighter extend well beyond the job title.  In fact, over 70 percent of Tacoma Fire Departments call volume consists of medical emergencies. When not responding to alarms, firefighters have a variety of other duties including fire code inspections, pre-fire planning, community presentations on fire prevention, disaster preparedness, and other public safety issues. 

Search and Rescue

The first priority at a fire scene is to search for and rescue any potential victims in the involved structure.

Fire Suppression

After confirming that human life is not endangered, firefighters work to extinguish the fire while stopping its spread. 


To reduce smoke and heat so that the fire may be located and extinguished more quickly, firefighters may ventilate the structure by cutting strategically located holes in the roof.

Salvage Operations

Firefighters attempt to minimize damage to personal property from fire, water, and smoke by using tarps and removing valuable items if possible.

Mutual Aid

In addition to incidents within the city limits, TFD has mutual aid agreements with several fire departments in surrounding communities to help each other on major incidents.

Medical Call

TFD provides first response on medical calls, assessing, and stabilizing patients.

Alarm Activation

A fire company is dispatched to locations where a fire or water flow alarm is set off.

Carbon Monoxide

A fire company responds when a carbon monoxide (CO) detector activates to determine the nature of the problem.

Broken Water Pipe

Usually residential, a fire company will secure an area where water from a broken pike could create a hazard until repair crews can arrive.

Wire Down/Arc

A fire company will secure an area where damaged wires could create a hazard until a repair crew arrives. If necessary, firefighters may request that power be cut.

Water Rescue/Fire

Our fireboats respond to incidents where a victim is in danger, such as an overturned boat, and to fires on boats, structures, or the shoreline on Commencement Bay.

Technical Rescue

The Technical Rescue Team respond's to incidents requiring high-angle, confined-space, structural collapse, trench or technical extrication rescue.


TFD cleans up small fuel spills that result from accidents or at gas stations.

Hazardous Condition

TFD helps monitor and mitigate situations that involve hazardous materials such as chemical spills or ruptured gas lines.

Investigate Odor

A fire company will respond to a citizen concerned about an unusual or potentially dangerous odor and attempt to pinpoint its cause.

Emergency Lockout

A fire company will respond to vehicle lockouts when someone is endangered due to the situation.

Blood Pressure Checks

If you need your blood pressure checked, please stop by your nearest fire station and if we are not on a call we will be happy to take your blood pressure. 

Fire and Life Safety Presentations

Firefighters teach classes on a variety of fire and injury prevention topics.

Day Care Visits

Upon request, firefighters visit day care centers and explain the basics of fire safety to children.

Station Tours

Firefighters welcome visitors and tours can be scheduled through fire headquarters. 

Special Appearances

Firefighters and apparatus often fill requests by communities or organizations to make appearances at special events such as parades, festivals, etc.


Tacoma firefighters conduct maintenance inspections of existing structures annually.

Hydrant Flow Tests

Firefighters check flow capacities of water mains for existing and new structures in the city.

Pre-Fire Plans

Firefighters often familiarize themselves with structures located in their territories to identify hazards and risks so they are better prepared for an emergency response.

Skills Improvement Training

Advanced training in a particular discipline that often involves multiple companies.  Such training may include the proper handling of propane fires, flash-over.

Annual Continuing Education

Firefighters complete training driven by the specific internal needs of TFD and the regulatory requirements of external agencies.

Specialty Training Requirements

Specialty units such as technical rescue team, hazmat team have additional training requirements.

Professional Development

Firefighters at various ranks participate in professional development training to help prepare them for the next level of service.

Outside Training Opportunities

Many firefighters seek training opportunities outside of TFD, often presented by professional fire service organizations. Examples include the National Fire Academy, incident command seminars, and driving courses.

Apparatus Maintenance

Routine maintenance and restocking of apparatus in stations.

Upkeep of Station

Firefighters are responsible for general cleaning and routine maintenance of station building.