The many duties of a "fire" department
There are many different types of emergencies that firefighters respond through throughout the year across the nation.
A structure fire is a fire involving the structural components of various types of residential, commercial or industrial buildings. Residential buildings range from single-family detached homes and townhouses to apartments and tower blocks, or various commercial buildings ranging from offices to shopping malls.
Technical/Confined Space/Rope Rescue
Technical rescue refers to the aspects of saving life or property that employ the use of tools and skills that exceed those normally reserved for fire fighting, medical emergency, and rescue. These disciplines include rope rescue, swiftwater rescue, confined space rescue, ski rescue, cave rescue, trench/excavation rescue, and building collapse rescue, among others. In the United States, technical rescues will often have multiple jurisdictions operating together to effect the rescue, and will often use the Incident Command System to manage the incident and resources at scene.
Confined space rescue is a subset of technical rescue operations that involves the rescue and recovery of victims trapped in a confined space or in a place only accessible through confined spaces, such as underground vaults, storage silos, storage tanks, or sewers.
Rope rescue is a subset of technical rescue that involves the use of Rope, be it steel or cable rope, or more commonly used nylon, polyester, or other type of rope
Vehicle extrication is the process of removing a vehicle from around a person who has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, when conventional means of exit are impossible or inadvisable. A delicate approach is needed to minimize injury to the victim during the extrication.
Many incidents that firefighters respond to are designated as "public assistance" responses. These situations are not related to fire, medical, or rescue incidents, however are still urgent in nature and require assistance from local Fire Department.
Examples of these situations are children or animals trapped in locked cars or individuals who have fallen and are uninjured, but unable to get up on their own. (However, if a cat is on an electrical post and we believe that the cat will come down when he is hungry; we will not risk electrocution of one of our firefighters!)
In public assistance situations, firefighters will do their best to solve the problem and if needed will contact additional resources.