Whitefish Fire Department - About
The City of Whitefish Fire Department is a combination fire department, combining both volunteer and career firefighters to provide an all-hazard emergency response to the City of Whitefish and the Whitefish Fire Service Area.
The "All-Hazard" emergency response includes:
- ALS (Advanced Life Support) Ambulance Services
- Structural Firefighting
- Hazardous Materials Response
- Wildland Firefighting
- Various Rescue Responses, including:
- Vehicle Extrication
- Water Rescue
- Ice Rescue
- Rope Rescue
- Confined Space Rescue
Created in 1907 as the all-volunteer Whitefish Volunteer Fire Department. In 1989, with the creation of the Whitefish Fire Service Area, homes outside the city that previously independently contracted with the fire department for fire protection were now part of this new fire service area. To this day, the Whitefish Fire Service Area continues to contract for fire protection with the City of Whitefish.
The Whitefish Fire Service Area does not contract for ambulance service. EMS is provided through a separate contract between the City of Whitefish and Flathead County EMS, to an area larger than the City of Whitefish, the Whitefish Fire Service Area, Olney Fire District, and portions of the Flathead Fire Service Area combined.
As the calls for service increased and the number of volunteers dwindled, the fire department changed from an all-volunteer department to a combination department. In 1993, the City hired its first Fire Marshal. In late 1995, it hired its first career Fire Chief followed by hiring two firefighters. The process slowly continued until in 2009 when, with the help of a FEMA Safer Grant, the City was able to hire enough firefighters to provide 24-7-365 coverage with five firefighters assigned per shift, a staffing level that remains today.