The supportive services branch of the Fire Department encompasses seven divisions. These divisions are: Building & Grounds, Communications, Fire Prevention/Investigation, Information Services, Training, and Vehicle Maintenance. Each of these divisions play an important part in the ongoing daily operations of the fire department. Firefighting is based upon "putting the wet stuff on the red stuff," however, without these supporting departments, that job would be much more difficult if not impossible.
The Fire Department is housed in buildings across the city. The city's oldest station, station #3, is almost 100 years old, the newest, just over 2 years old. Maintaining these facilities is our team of personnel from Buildings and Grounds.
Each year the fire department answers over 26,000 requests for service. The Communications Division staffs the Fire and EMS positions of the City's 911 center, answering, dispatching and processing information on all of those alarms. The Gary Fire Department's communication center is staffed by sworn personnel (firefighters) All of the fire dispatchers are certified Emergency Medical and Fire Service dispatchers.
An old saying states that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. One of the main goals of our Fire Prevention Bureau (FPB) is the prevention of fire. That process is twofold. Education, both of school aged children as well as adults in fire safety and prevention is a major focus of the division. The second, inspection of commercial and public buildings for fire and building code violations pays an important part in reducing the risks for fire. The FPB is also responsible to find the cause of fires in the city. The FPB investigators are trained fire and arson investigators. The Fire inspectors work 40 hours a week while the investigators work on a 24-48 schedule as the firefighters and medics do.
The FPB also has a Fire Safe house that they use to train the public on the dangers of and how to safely escape a fire.
All modern business have grasped technology and have become dependant on computers. The fire department likewise has followed suit. The Information Services division sets up and maintains the computer network that the administration of the department uses to maintain daily operations. In addition, the 911 center is also computerized as well as record management to meet reporting requirements by the State of Indiana's EMS Commission and Fire Marshal.
With over 300 medic and firefighting personnel, the Training Division has its hands full. Fire Science is evolving, and the demands placed upon the department are not limited to firefighting alone. Continuing education of all personnel as well as initial academy training for all new hires is coordinated by the Training Division staff. Many special projects including Haz-Mat and Water Rescue Operations are also coordinated by the training division.
The Training Division has two locations in the city. The first location is used as the fire academy. Classroom training is held on this site. The Fire Academy is located at 1201 West 5th ave. The City of Gary in 2003 has joined forces with the Gary Police Department and has opened its new training site at the old Nike Base on 35th Ave. The new training center will be the center for all hands-on training for the Gary Fire Department. The new Training Center will also be the site for the fire departments Flash Over chamber, the first one of its kind in the area.
Lastly, the department has over 40 vehicles in its fleet. The Vehicle Maintenance division is responsible for maintaining this fleet in ready to respond condition. The Vehicle Maintenance Department is located in City Gary Vehicle Maintenance building on west 11th ave.
The heads of each Supportive Branch of The Gary Fire Department are as follows:
Buildings and Grounds - Assistant Chief Carl Oren
Technical Services - Assistant Chief Garry Kotvasz
Fire Prevention/Investigation - Assistant Chief Dwayne Hull
Training Assistant - Chief Robert Walker
Drill Master - Battalion Chief Robert Grady
Vehicle Maintenance - Assistant Chief James Delgado
Emergency Medical Services - Assistant Chief James Morris
Dive Master - Captain Dave Evens