Calling the Fire Department

There are many things citizens can do to assist the Fire Department in helping you and other citizens in the community.

Whenever there is a fire or a medical emergency, there are things that citizens can or cannot do, which make differences in how effective firefighters can be in emergency situations.

Types of Emergencies

Medical Emergencies

  • Car accidents
  • Heart attacks
  • Respiratory emergencies or difficulty breathing
  • Seizures

Fire Emergencies

  • Brush fires
  • Car fires
  • Structure fires

About 9-1-1

Cleveland has an enhanced 9-1-1 system that lets the operator identify the phone number and address of calling party. This assists in timely dispatching of police or fire units to emergency scene.


  1. When a call is received they will say “What is your emergency, police, fire, or medical?” The caller should tell the dispatcher the type of emergency they are reporting, or give description of the problem. If it is medical, the caller will be transferred to a paramedic dispatcher. This dispatcher is specially trained for medical emergencies to provide self-help instructions to caller.
  2. The dispatcher will stay on the line and take information. The dispatcher will ask for the proper address and phone number to verify.
  3. Emergency units are then dispatched according to the nature of the call. The closest unit will be sent to ensure that help arrives as soon as possible. Sometimes more than one fire unit may be sent to the scene.

Guidelines for Calling 9-1-1

  • Your message needs to be clear.
  • Stay on the phone until the person in the 9-1-1 center has released you from the conversation. The dispatcher may ask more questions or want you to stay on the line.
  • Try to stay calm.
  • State what kind of emergency it is: fire, car accident, heart attack, etc.
  • Tell the dispatcher where the incident is.
  • Emergency units are dispatched even while you are talking with the dispatcher.
  • Younger children should be taught their home address and telephone number as soon as possible.

About Firefighters

Some firefighters receive medical training and at a minimum some are EMTs (emergency medical technicians).

Those firefighters receive additional training and attend a 6-month class to become paramedics who are then knowledgeable to provide advanced life support treatment including IVs, drug therapy, and cardiac care.