Waterloo Fire Rescue - FAQ's
Why do fire trucks arrive with ambulances?"
Engines on medical incidents
Fire trucks will accompany ambulances on medical emergencies for several reasons. Depending on where the nearest ambulance is located, it is often possible for a truck company to arrive before the ambulance to initiate patient care. If there are many simultaneous calls for medical assistance, an ambulance may need to come from the other side of town to provide help. In this case, the closest fire truck would be sent to initiate patient care until the ambulance crew arrives. Firefighters in Waterloo are cross-trained as medical service professionals as well as being firefighters. In fact, the majority of department members have been trained to the highest level of prehospital care, referred to as a paramedic.
Can I get help installing a carseat?"
We would welcome a visit to any of our stations to help to ensure a safe installation of a carseat. In years past, several members of the department were certified for carseat installation but funding for the program has since gone unrenewed. Be sure to check with the manufacturer of the carseat as well as the car manufacturer: not all combinations may be advisable. Purchasing used carseats (with an unknown history) is ill advised; structural damage to the carseat may be present but not visible. In collaboration with Allen Hospital, car seat clinics are being offered by hospital staff nearly once per month at Station 3 ( ...More)
"Do property taxes cover the expense of EMS?"
The property tax allotment for Emergency Medical Services (EMS) supplements but does not fully offset the cost of staffing and maintaining our emergency vehicles. The city strives to keep charges minimal to those who require transport and care in an ambulance in recuperating some of the associated costs of the service.
"What do I do if I see a fire truck behind me?"
Yield to emergency vehicles
Operators of emergency vehicles (ambulances and fire apparatus) expect drivers to pull as far to the right as possible. This allows the emergency vehicle to negotiate traffic most expediently and for traffic to return back to normal as quickly as possible. Much as it is for a passenger vehicle, passing on the right is very dangerous for emergency vehicles.
If a driver finds it impossible to pull to the right, it is best to just stop in place and switch on the hazard lights (flashers) to acknowledge the presence of the emergency vehicle. Drivers are required to yield to emergency vehicles if emergency lights are flashing.
"Can I have a recreational fire in my backyard?"
Recreational fires that use clean, natural materials (e.g., dried logs) are permitted in the city. View Resolution 2022-292 Approving Policy for Recreational Fires here.
Smoky fires, including those that use leaves as fuel, are considered a nuisance by the City of Waterloo. Owing to the health hazard of inhaled smoke, the city has issued an ordinance against fires that generate smoke, are too large, or use non-natural materials as fuel. The burning of wet wood or other natural materials is in violation of this ordinance. Yard waste can be disposed either using the city's curbside service or at the drop off location at 2745 Independence Avenue (April through November).
"What is a typical day like for a firefighter?"
Job of firefighter
Firefighters and firefighter-paramedics work a continuous 24 hour shift, beginning in the morning. Crew members pitch in to purchase and prepare meals at the stations. Overnight hours are spent at the station, and calls for service are promptly answered as they are during the day. Between running calls, crews spend their time training, conducting vehicle checks, cleaning the station and apparatus, and inspecting equipment.
"I'd like to join WFR. What does it take?"
Our hiring process for recruits consists of three phases: a written exam, a physical ability test, and an oral interview. Applicants must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent and are encouraged to have EMT-B and FFI certificates or the ability to obtain these in the first year after hiring
"How many personnel respond to a call?"
Depending on the information that the emergency dispatcher receives as well as crew availability, as few as 2 firefighter-paramedics and as many as 27 personnel may initially respond to an incident.
How do I get a tank installed or removed that is used for the storage, dispensing and use of flammable, combustible and hazardous liquids as specified in the 2021 International Fire code and NFPA 30, 30A & 58?
Go to our Buildings Applications page and click on tank Application.