OFM - 02-04-23

Capabilities of Existing Fire Protection Services

Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Subject Coding

PFSG 02-04-23




January 1998


Capabilities of Existing Fire Protection Services


Under Review


To identify methods to accurately assess existing capabilities of available fire protection services.

This section is a companion to Risk Assessment Analysis and Economic Circumstances Analysis.

Decisions, conclusions, judgements, recommendations, and options are not to be made at this stage, nor on the basis of this section only.

Factor Evaluation:

An evaluation of the following factors is essential to assess the existing fire service

Mission Statement and Mandate:

Indicate if the mission statement is:

  • relevant
  • consistent with approved goals and objectives
  • consistent with establishing and regulating by-law

Indicate whether or not the mandate is currently being fulfilled, or if there are policy deviations

Goals and Objectives:

Indicate whether or not:

  • the existing goals and objectives are appropriate in the circumstances
  • the existing goals and objectives are being achieved


  • Provide the fire service organization chart(s)
  • Provide the ranking and number of personnel


Describe and detail the following:

  • administrative facilities
  • staffing, including levels and assignments
  • support services
  • departmental rules and regulations
  • policies and procedures
  • reports and record management
  • professional affiliations
  • delegation of authority
  • officer (staff) meetings
  • research and planning
  • functional budgets and planning
  • collective agreements

By-laws And Agreements:

Review and describe the following:

  • by-law to establish and regulate a fire department
  • by-law to appoint a fire chief
  • by-law to appoint a deputy fire chief
  • by-law to appoint personnel as Inspector(s) under the Building Code Act
  • by-law to authorize an agreement for:
  • participation in automatic aid program(s)
  • participation in mutual aid plan
  • the purchase or sale of fire protection agreements
  • communication/dispatch agreements
  • alarm monitoring agreements
  • other by-laws

Indicate or describe the details of agreements.

Fire Prevention, Public Information, Public Education, Fire Investigations:

Fire Prevention

  • fire prevention policy
  • fire prevention program
  • enforcement of code, statutes, by-laws and regulations
  • inspection program, including in-service and home inspections
  • staffing and supervision
  • plan review and approval
  • approval process required by Fire Code
  • review and approval of sub-division and development agreements
  • consultation with architects, engineers, contractors
    site plan approval
  • records, reports and statistical compilation
  • liaison with building officials, others
  • approval and issuance of permits
  • letters of compliance

fees for services

Public Information

  • describe community information program(s)
  • describe responsibility for maintaining continuity, flow of information, and primary media contact in the absence of a community information officer
    Public Education
  • describe program(s)
  • describe responsibility for program delivery in the absence of a specific public education officer
  • describe process for determining public education focus
  • fire origin and cause determination
  • basic
  • advanced preparation for legal proceedings, liaison with police, OFM investigators, others


Indicate and/or describe the following:

  • communications centre
  • staffing and supervision
  • facilities
  • standards and procedures
  • inter-department communications
  • inter-municipal communications
  • communications with other fire departments
  • reporting facilities
  • dispatch systems for local fire service, and other agencies if any
  • data bases including emergency resource data base, sharing of data
  • radios
  • telephones
  • computers
  • alarm monitoring facilities
  • system for alerting volunteer and/or off duty personnel
  • separation, if any, of business and emergency communications systems

Emergency Operations:

Describe and/or indicate the following;

  • degree and level or participation in core services (reference guideline 04-12-13)
  • staffing, supervision and equipment adequacy and appropriateness
  • operating policies, procedures and guidelines
  • post-incident evaluations
  • safety considerations
  • response standards
  • minimum number of personnel for fire response and fire attack teams
  • multiple and simultaneous incident considerations
  • incident command and accountability systems

Training and Education:

Indicate and/or describe the following:

Program development and co-ordination practices, including:

  • development of trainer facilitators
  • co-ordination of core curriculum
  • establishing specialized staff development programs
  • suppression
  • prevention
  • public education
  • administration
  • communications
  • maintenance
  • support services
  • specialized services
  • development of succession training programs
  • development of self-directed learning programs

Provision of access to training facilities, including

  • co-ordination of access to training aids and facilities
  • delivery of hands-on training to all staff

Station training practices, including

  • delivery of curriculum specific to discipline's needs
  • supervisory training
  • provision of support and direction

Development, approval and delivery of incident management and accountability systems and procedures.

Co-ordination, development, approval and distribution of standard operating guidelines for various disciplines.

Vehicles and Equipment:

Indicate the following for all vehicles:

  • ownership
  • type and number
  • primary use
  • capacity (water tanks)
  • pump rating
  • height of elevating devices
  • age
  • condition
  • appropriateness for local needs
  • appropriateness of equipment

Indicate any significant inadequacies relating to tools, equipment, appliances and special devices

Financial Management and Budgeting:

Accounting and Budgeting

  • method of budget preparation, presentation and approval
  • method of expenditure accountability
  • method of review of budget requirements
  • operating budget
  • capital budget
  • reserve accounts
  • revenue allocation
  • divisional function budget submissions


  • preparation of specifications
  • preparation and method of tendering
  • purchase order and purchase authority policies and procedures
  • data availability
  • inventory management
  • bulk or joint purchasing procedures


  • describe policies and procedures for sourcing revenue, and such things as equipment and supplies

Automatic Aid and "Mutual Aid":

  • describe automatic aid agreement(s)
  • describe mutual aid plan participation

Building and Facilities:

Fire Stations:

  • Describe or indicate;
  • ownership
  • adequacy
  • locations (particularly as they relate to optimum response coverage)
  • physical condition
  • use by others
  • deficiencies
  • shared facilities

Other Fire Department Buildings and Facilities


  • ownership
  • use and occupancy
  • other pertinent details


Pre-Emergency Planning:

Indicate or describe:

  • types and occupancy of buildings included in the pre-emergency planning program
  • process for information gathering and processing
  • by function, the personnel involved in the process
    where plans are kept
  • how and by whom they are used
  • how and when they are revised or updated
  • functional responsibility

Disaster Planning:

Indicate or describe the role and responsibilities of fire service personnel in disaster planning and plans:

  • local
  • regional
  • county
  • district

Risk Management Planning:

Indicate/describe/outline how the department

  • maintains a continuing planning process directed towards maintaining a responsive approach to the changing needs of the community, and the local areas
  • continually reviews each aspect of it's services and functions to determine if the objectives are being achieved in accordance with the strategic plan
  • maintains a continuing awareness of new and changing standards, evolving technologies, innovations, and other advances that would improve the service delivery of the department
  • personnel are responsible for and included in these activities
  • incorporates pre-emergency planning into this process

Human Resources:

Indicate and/or describe the following:

  • recruitment, selection and retention programs
  • promotional policies
  • performance evaluations
  • career development and higher education
  • job classifications
  • secondary employment
  • performance standards
  • hiring policy
  • retirement policy
  • discipline policy
  • substance abuse policy
  • health and safety policy


Indicate and/or describe the fleet and equipment maintenance practices, including:

  • routine, preventative and emergency maintenance of fleet and equipment
  • testing programs
  • mechanical worthiness
  • ministry of labour requirements
  • pump certification and testing
  • testing and certification of elevating devices
  • specification development
    acceptance testing and approval of:
  • new vehicles and equipment
  • refurbished vehicles and equipment
  • central supply facility

Indicate and/or describe facilities maintenance, including:

  • maintenance of building infrastructure
  • provision of input re the design and construction considerations for new buildings, and major renovations to existing structures

Records, Reports, Data:

Indicate and/or describe:

  • records management
  • note taking
  • report and record retention and retrieval
  • freedom of information legislation
  • exchange, input, access and consolidation of records, reports and data with departmental divisions and other municipal departments

Water Supplies:

Indicate and/or describe programs dealing with the evaluation of water supplies, including

  • sources
  • adequacy
  • reliability
  • accessibility
  • alternate supplies or sources

Indicate and/or describe

  • private water supplies and systems
  • public and private hydrants

Indicate and/or describe the co-ordination and liaison processes with other departments regarding the maintenance and development of the water supply system

Related Functions:

Codes, Standards, Best Practices:

Codes, Standards, and Best Practices resources available to assist in establishing local policy on this assessment are listed below. All are available at www.ontario.ca/firemarshal. Please feel free to copy and distribute this document. We ask that the document not be altered in any way, that the Office of the Fire Marshal be credited and that the documents be used for non-commercial purposes only.

See also PFSG
Economic Circumstances
& 03 Fire Risk Assessment
Core Services
Comprehensive Fire Prevention Model
Service Delivery Considerations