Ministry of the
Solicitor General

OFM - 04-12-13

Core Services (Response and Support) and Associated Guidelines

Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Subject Coding

PFSG 04-12-13


Emergency Response


January 1998


Core Services (Response and Support) and Associated Guidelines


Under Review


To provide a summary of the core services that a fire department may provide.
It is not expected that a fire department would be involved in all levels of service listed under emergency response. For example some fire departments will provide interior structural firefighting with a rescue component while others may be unable to provide rescue components.

Emergency Response:

  1. basic firefighting - no expected rescue component
  2. structural firefighting including rescue
  3. vehicle firefighting
  4. grass, brush, forestry firefighting
  5. marine firefighting
  6. automatic aid
  7. mutual aid
  8. basic medical assist
  9. advanced medical assist with defibrillation
  10. awareness level hazardous materials
  11. operations level hazardous materials
  12. technician level hazardous materials
  13. vehicle accidents
  14. vehicle extrication
  15. transportation incidents involving vehicles, trains, aircraft and watercraft
  16. water and ice - shore based
  17. water and ice - water entry
  18. water and ice - boat
  19. public assistance
  20. ambulance assistance
  21. police assistance
  22. public utilities assistance
  23. community emergency plan participation
  24. urban search and rescue (light and heavy)
  25. high angle rescue
  26. confined space rescue
  27. farm/silo rescue
  28. role as Assistant to Fire Marshal re suppression

Fire Prevention and Public Education:

  1. selection of appropriate programs
  2. role of chief fire official
  3. role of Assistant to Fire Marshal re prevention
  4. input into fire prevention policy development
  5. code development input
  6. development of fire prevention by-laws
  7. inter-action with building department(s)
  8. inter-action with other government agencies
  9. inspection practices, including:
  • complaints inspections
  • conducting routine inspections per fire prevention policy
  • dealing with code compliance issues (mandated)
  • enforcing municipal by-laws
  • conducting inspections, preparing reports and issuing written responses to requests
  • issuing permits
  1. public education practices, including
  • providing routine education programs as per fire prevention policy
  • facilitating smoke alarm initiatives
  • providing access for media
  • delivery of specialized programs
  1. fire investigation practices, including
  • determining cause and origin
  • assessing code compliance
  • assessing fire suppression effectiveness
  • determining compliance with building standards
  • determining effectiveness of built-in suppression features
  • interacting with OFM investigator
  • supporting criminal prosecutions
  • consulting with police and other agencies
  • providing forensic services
  1. plans examination and approval practices, including:
  • examining and approving new construction plans
  • examining and approving renovation plans
  • reviewing and approving sub-division/development agreements
  • reviewing and approving site plans
  • providing on-site inspection of approved plans to determine compliance
  • issuing occupancy permits
  1. preparation for and appearances in court
  2. systems checking, testing and approval
  3. compile, analyze and disseminate functional statistics
  4. consultation with architects, engineers, planners, contractors and building trades

Fire Administration:

  1. planning & growth practices, including
  • master planning
  • evaluating programs and services
  • projecting station locations and reallocations
  • determining staffing levels and assignments
  • co-ordinating with other emergency services
  • co-ordinating development with other community departments
  • co-ordinating with other Counties/Districts/Regions
  1. financial & records analysis practices, including
  • co-ordinating use of information from suppression activities
  • co-ordinating use of information from fire prevention activities
  • transitional adjustments for capital stock
  • input into level of service issues (based on available funding)
  • developing, controlling and monitoring budgets
  • co-ordinating with department divisions
  • identifying alternative sources of revenue and fees for services
  • operating
  • capital
  • purchasing
  1. records management, including
  • note taking
  • records retention
  • freedom of information legislation
  1. human resources practices including
  • recruitment, selection and retention
  • promotion
  • performance evaluation
  • career development and higher education
  • job classifications
  • secondary employment
  1. client/customer relations practices, including
  • preserving local identity
  • enhancing fire department image
  • marketing
  • environmental scanning, anticipating pressures and developing communication strategies
  • enhancing public perception of access to fire department staff
  • developing inter-agency relationships
  1. health and safety practices, including communicable diseases

Communications/ Resource Centre:

  1. dispatch practices, including
  • liaising with dispatch centres
  • providing access points for operational supervisors
  • receiving emergency calls
  • dispatching of appropriate resources
  • providing on-going resources to operation during emergency
  • compiling emergency response data and inputting of information in data bases
  • sharing data with other department divisions
  • sharing data with other municipal departments
  • accessing information from other sources
  1. technology issues including,
  • maintaining and repairing communications systems and components (both routine and emergency)
  • providing technical support
  • developing specifications for radios, pagers, telephones, and computers
  • providing interface capability with other data systems, e.g. assessment, building department, roads departments

Training & Education:

  1. program development practices, including
  • developing trainer facilitators
  • co-ordinating core curriculum
  • developing specialised staff development programs
  • suppression
  • prevention
  • administration
  • communications
  • maintenance
  • support services
  • developing succession training programs
  • developing self-directed learning programs
  1. providing access to training facilities, including
  • co-ordinating access to facility
  • delivering hands-on training to staff
  1. station training practices, including
  • delivery of curriculum specific to discipline's needs
  • supervisory training drills
  • providing support and direction
  1. development, approval and delivery of incident management and accountability systems and procedures
  2. co-ordination, development, approval and distribution of standard operating guidelines for various disciplines


  1. fleet and equipment maintenance practices, including
  • maintaining fleet and equipment (both routine and emergency)
  • providing annual testing programs
  • mechanical worthiness
  • Ministry of Labour requirements
  • pump capacity and certification
  • specification development
  • acceptance testing and approval of new apparatus and equipment
  • maintaining specialised equipment, e.g. SCBA
  • central supply facility
  1. facilities maintenance, including
  • maintenance of station infrastructure
  1. providing input re design and construction considerations for fire stations

Support Services (shared municipal/fire department functions):

  1. purchasing practices, including
  • bulk purchasing through local and area organizations
  • developing standardized specifications for all apparatus and equipment
  1. financial practices, including
  • financial analysis
  • liaising with other area departments
  • co-ordinating day to day financial services
  • arranging long term funding
  1. risk management practices, including
  • assessing changing risk
  • operationalizing risk management into every function
  • providing insurance
  • prevention planning
  • risk avoidance
  • loss control
  • loss reduction
  • separation and diversification of losses
  • risk transfer
  1. human resources practices, including
  • developing recruitment and retention programs
  • specializing in fire service legislation and related issues
  1. co-ordination with other agencies for shared infrastructure, including
  • municipal water system development
  • maintenance and access to water supply

Codes, Standards and 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 . 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
04-06-13 Codes, Standards, Acts, Regulations, Best Practices