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The Special Fire Police Officer


A Pennsylvania Special Fire Police Officer is a member of a volunteer fire company empowered by the municipality to handle emergency situations throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  We are trained to address those situations and difficulties the public faces in encountering them. 


We are the face of the volunteer fire company.  When a resident arrives on the scene in a panic as their home and belongings are being destroyed by flames, we are the compassionate face that directs them to the scene to learn the extent of their loss. 


We make a safe path for apparatus arriving on a scene. 


We welcome the men and women of the media as they attempt to do their jobs.  We allow them to do so in a limited area for their safety and the safety of the fire fighters on the scene. 


We welcome the Red Cross and provides a safe place for them to work. 


We assist the utility worker in making a scene safe for all those present. 


We direct motorists around the scene of an accident or explains to them the reason for the delay.  As best as we can, we provide information on alternate routes, recognizing that many people do not respond well to a change in their plans. 


We assist the Ambulance Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics in working without interference, and in departing the scene to obtain necessary treatment for victims. 

We provide safe clearance around a helicopter landing zone so no one is injured by flying debris or a possible landing accident. 


We protect the public from a police incident where there may be live fire. 


We assist the public in evacuation and clearance of a hazardous material incident. 


We are the face that the friend or relative of an accident victim sees as they approach with apprehension for their loved ones.  We calm them and provide a safe place to park.  We walk them to command to assist them in dealing with the tragedy. 


We help the police officer move a wrecker into position, control a crime scene, and identify possible arson suspects in a suspicious fire scene. 


We observe an impaired motorist and within our limited authority, detain that motorist until a police officer is available to address any motor vehicle code infraction. 


We are dedicated, trained and prepared to solve any problem we face.

We direct the tow truck driver to the best way in to access a scene.

We direct authorized media, press and photographers to command and notify command of anyone who wishes to access the scene.

Fire Police Duties


To regulate traffic at emergency scenes:
This shall include traffic at the scene of any emergency to which your department has been called, until relieved by your chief, or the regular police agency upon arrival.

To protect firefighters while fighting fires:
Remember that we are all firefighters first, and secondly fire police. Our main objective is to provide the adequate protection for the firefighters so that they may do their job without interference of others.

To protect the general public at the scene of a fire:
Residents, owners, occupants, relatives, transients, spectators, and even the news media tend to hamper the operations. Tact and courtesy must be deployed to keep them safe and away from harm or obstructing fire operations.

To keep fire areas clear for fire fighting purpose:
Apparatus, emergency vehicles, service vehicles, firefighters' vehicles all need room to park, operate within, turn around, tanker operations and even hose line lays for fire-fighting operations, etc. always keep this space available and clear.

To protect the equipment of a fire company:
Keep all non-firefighters away from and especially off from department vehicles, and away from its equipment. Don't allow anyone to damage any equipment, prevent looting of equipment, also prevent someone from taking a department vehicle for a joyride.

To enforce the laws relating to firematic activities and firefighting techniques:
The reckless disregard for safe driving within an emergency area, driving over fire hoses, spectators disrespect for fire lines, non-emergency vehicles intrusions, these are only some of the laws we must be firm in controlling at the scene with respectability.

To cooperate with all regular police agencies:
We are all there for the same cause and reasons, to provide protection, safety and to prevent a situation from getting out of hand, therefore we must cooperate with each others basis of operations by working together efficiently.

To protect the property at the scene of a fire:

Until the Chief releases the fire police from duty and turns the responsibility over to other police agencies or to the owner. Allow no one to enter within the scene without proper identification or credentials. Be alert, we may see or hear something from a person that may have a direct bearing upon the situation, protect the scene's evidence, and report unusual events or happenings.

To carry out the orders of the Chief or local Law Enforcement Agency: Example: In Pennsylvania at fire scenes the Fire Chief is in command and at vehicle accidents the Pennsylvania State Police or Local Police Department is in charge of closing and opening roadways for traffic flow depending on multiple factors to consider such as downed wires, damaged telephone poles, debris/fluids, crime scene investigation, fatality investigation,  road bridge weight limits for detouring of traffic, road height limitations for detour of traffic, vehicles are actively on fire or are at risk of catching fire, if all lanes of travel are obstructed, if there is enough room for all types of vehicles including tractor trailers to safely pass scene of accident without hitting first responders or other personnel called to scene such as tow truck drivers, firefighters may even need the roadway to stay closed for rescue efforts to remove accident victims from the car who cannot get out on their own and need the assistance of ems or cutting tools to remove portions of the vehicle such as doors or even the roof


Traffic control at fires, car crashes, mass casualty incidents (MCI) emergencies, drills and other fire department operations which would include: 

  • protecting firefighters and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel.

  • protecting bystanders and crowd control at emergencies.

  • protecting each other's safety while on post.

  • protecting fire department equipment.

  • assisting with police investigations.

  • routing responding emergency vehicles to their assigned locations.

  • rerouting non-emergency traffic away/around emergency operations.


Often first on scene, fire police are able to report status, suspicious cause & origin and mark the location of the structure, driveway, apartment entrance, etc. for first due companies.


Included in this are:

  • Locate and mark downed energized electric service or other hazards to first responders.

  • Utilize their department/county team apparatus as command posts to relay radio communications to/from IC.

  • Utilize their department/county team apparatus to distribute equipment, gear, portable radios, etc. to posts.

  • Deploy their department/county team apparatus utilizing lights and equipment at road blocks.

  • Conduct, those authorized by the IC, through fire lines.

  • Turn, back-in & stage ambulances, tankers, etc.when required by space limitations.


In addition they may also establish and maintain: 

  • a clear unblocked entrance and egress to & from an incident scene for use by apparatus.

  • fire lines & outer haz-mat zones.

  • a fire police officer at the IC to deploy arriving fire police units & advise of incoming mutual aid or equipment so they can be directed to their assigned locations.

  • a fire watch for as long as required.

  • a unbroken chain of evidence until it can be surrendered to PD or Fire Marshall.

  • FD control of a possible crime scene enabling an immediate PD investigation.

  • staging areas for apparatus, triage, Red Cross, news media, etc.

  • security at a fire house, department event, carnival, PD investigation, etc.

  • a pool of trained reserve officers to relieve first due company's fire police or PD.

  • a safety watch at fire police posts beyond the immediate emergency area affording the IC with additional reliable information otherwise unobtainable.

  • a crowd-watch for suspicious spectators, drive-bys, etc.

  • a written record of personnel, witnesses, evacuees, observations, etc.

  • the privacy and dignity of victims and their families.

  • custody of valuables and personal property and assist with salvage & communication with police, highway and other support agencies.

  • a department photographic/video record of an incident for reference and training.

  • a fire police boat for search, rescue & recovery.

  • Fire police may also conduct area evacuations & maintain in/out traffic at haz-mat decontamination centers and establish ground control and mark the landing zone (LZ) for a requested med-evac helicopter.

  • assist with locating woodland smoke sightings and/or brush fires. participate in lost person searches.

  • close roads & mark downed trees, wires, etc. after hurricanes or other weather emergencies.

  • assist at fire department funerals, wakes and memorial services.

  • assist at fire department parades and inspections.

  • assist with state training courses involving the use of public thoroughfares for training purposes.

  • participate in Fire Prevention Week & other public service education programs.

  • continue to attend advanced fire police meetings, training classes and seminars.

  • under the mutual aid plan, assist neighboring county/state fire police response teams when requested.


An often overlooked facet of fire police operation is that it provides an interface between the fire department and the public. The public seldom have occasion to talk with firefighters while they are working at an emergency. Fire police at times have the opportunity to speak with bystanders and answer questions about the operation, their volunteer fire department, or simply give directions or suggest possible detours. During these times their professionalism, appearance, and demeanor, or lack thereof, reflects directly on their department and the entire volunteer fire service.

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