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Fire Department General Information

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Values and Principles


How we accomplish our mission is as important as the mission itself. Fundamental to success for this department are these basic values:

  • People - Our people are the source of our strength. They provide our departmental intelligence and determine our reputation and vitality. Involvement and teamwork are our core human values.
  • Service - Our services are the end result of our efforts, and they should be the best in serving the citizens of our protection district. As our services are viewed, so are we viewed.

Guiding Principles

  • Quality comes first. To achieve citizen satisfaction, the quality of our services must be our number one priority.
  • Citizens are the focus of everything we do. Our work must be done with our citizens in mind, always providing the highest quality of service we can.
  • Continuous improvement is essential to our survival. We must strive for excellence in everything we do: in our services, our human relations and our efficiency.
  • Employee involvement - we are a team. We must treat each other with trust and respect.
  • Integrity is never compromised. The conduct of our department must be pursued in a manner that is socially responsible and commands respect for its integrity and for its positive contributions to our community.


From its inception in 1855, the Janesville Fire Department has progressed with Community prosperity. By 1888, the Department had begun employing full-time personnel to replace the original volunteer forces. By 1900, the Fire Service compared favorably with cities almost twice as large, at that time providing both fire protection and rescue. Fire prevention has been among services provided since 1914. In 1957, there were two new fire stations built. A third station was added in 1970, a fourth station in 1980 and a fifth station in 1997.

The Department's first ambulance was acquired in 1957. Medical transport was upgraded with formal Emergency Medical Technician training in the early 1970's, and has been augmented by Paramedic training since 1974. In 1997, a third paramedic ambulance was placed in service coinciding with the opening of the fifth fire station and a fourth paramedic ambulence was placed in service, at station #4,in 2004. Between 1979 and 1982, the City added a 24-hour civilian dispatch system and the City's fire insurance rating improved from ISO Rating 5 to ISO Rating 3.

In 1988, the Janesville Fire Department opened a training center and it was dedicated to Fire Chief Art Stearns in 2004.  All county dispatch services were consolidated to one location in 1993 with the opening of the Rock County Communication Center. 

Currently the Fire Department provides fire and emergency medical service to an approximate 77 square mile area outside the City limits in addition to approximately 34 square miles within the City limits. Services provided include: fire prevention, fire safety education, emergency medical service, extrication, dive-rescue, petroleum tank inspection and fire suppression.

Authorized Employees


Deputy Chiefs
Fire Marshal
Fire Inspector
Battalion Chiefs (1 per Chief)
Captains (1 per Chief)
Lieutenants (4 per Chief)
Administrative Support Staff
Firefighter/Paramedics (17 per shift)
Driver/Operators (7 per shift)


Office of the Fire Chief

The Fire Chief is responsible for all services provided by the Department. The Chief manages these services with the support of key staff members from within the Fire Department and also with the cooperation of other city agencies. The key services provided by the Fire Department include fire prevention, fire suppression, emergency medical, and other emergency and non-emergency requests for assistance from the public.

Management of these public services is carefully planned, organized, directed, controlled and staffed to maximize effectiveness and minimize cost. Internal functions which support this proactive approach to management include vehicle and equipment maintenance, rural service contracts, information management, budgeting, skill development, negotiations, and other human resource functions. In the Administrative Program, long and short range planning occurs, objectives are established, and policies are formed.

Office of the Deputy Fire Chief of Operations & Training


Fire suppression operations are supervised by the Deputy Fire Chief of Operations and Training along with three Battalion Chiefs. Firefighters work 56 hours per week and perform a wide variety of functions critical to providing timely and effective emergency service to the community. They respond to fire calls and hazardous conditions, conduct rescue operations, render general service and answer automatic alarms. There are approximately 2,600 such requests for assistance each year. In addition, they also provide emergency medical support when needed.

Personnel and equipment are distributed between five stations located within the city limits. From these five stations, they respond to requests for service in an approximate 111 square-mile area which extends beyond the City limits and is provided through a rural fire protection agreement.

In addition to emergency responses, suppression personnel routinely inspect local businesses and apartment buildings for fire hazards and safety violations. They also schedule special visits to selected buildings which have been identified as being at high risk for losses should a fire occur. These special visits (called preplanning) are a time-consuming but essential part of suppression activities enabling Firefighters to better handle emergencies in these buildings utilizing the special knowledge gained through the preplan.

All Firefighters are required to meet minimum performance standards. However, groups of individuals also receive supplemental and more specialized training in such areas as Dive Rescue, Technical Rescue, Hazardous Materials, and EMT-Paramedic.


Training at the Janesville Fire Department is managed by the Deputy Fire Chief of Training and Operations who coordinates and develops training programs for personnel. Although proficiency does not guarantee success, it is important to provide for high levels of competency and safety for personnel whether that person is a Firefighter, Paramedic, Diver, Driver, or another employee in the Fire Department.

The Training Center, located at 3000 County F, (N. Parker Drive)  provides the physical structure to accomplish a variety of training programs. It is used by Fire Department personnel and, in special circumstances, can be used by other organizations.

Fire Department personnel have the opportunity to request training in subjects that require special expertise. Training is conducted throughout the year and is accomplished at the City's five fire stations, the City's Fire Training Center, Blackhawk Technical College, The National Fire Academy, and selected schools throughout the country. Continuous training best enables Janesville Fire Department personnel to be ready to respond to emergencies.

Office of the Deputy Fire Chief of Administration


The Deputy Fire Chief of EMS & Support Services supervises the department's Emergency Medical Services along with the support of the three Battalion Chiefs. Those assigned to emergency medical services are Firefighters, but in addition, they are state certified paramedics and can do advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). Paramedics receive their training at Mercy Hospital in Janesville. They also support many other functions critical to providing timely and effective service to the community.

There are approximately 7,600 requests for ambulance assistance each year. Designated emergency medical personnel and equipment are placed at all five fire stations. As with suppression, the city also contracts with the surrounding rural area so that the total area covered is approximately 111 square miles.

Emergency medical personnel also work with suppression personnel to routinely inspect local businesses and apartment buildings for fire hazards and safety violations.

In addition to certified paramedics, the emergency medical services also includes individuals trained as EMT's and in basic life support skills. These Firefighters can respond to medical emergencies when the Paramedics are already committed or if they arrive first at the scene. The Fire Department provides four frontline staffed paramedic ambulances and one unstaffed reserve ambulance.

There is close cooperation with local hospitals to maintain and improve the service to the community. Emergency medical personnel respond to requests for emergency medical aid, fire calls, rescue calls, or whenever their special skills are needed.


Maintenance is also supervised by the Deputy Fire Chief of EMS & Support Services.  Department equipment includes:  1 ladder truck, 4 engines, 1 tender, 5 ambulances, 1 command vehicle and a variety of special purpose vehicles and reserve apparatus. These are kept in good repair through an established preventive maintenance program. The Deputy Fire Chief of EMS & Support Services also manages building maintenance for all five fire stations and the Fire Department Training Facility.

The Deputy Fire Chief of EMS & Support Services supports the effective management of the Fire Department by participating in planning and budgeting as they relate to vehicles, equipment, and building maintenance and coordinates with the City Services Center on maintenance.

Office of the Fire Marshal

The Fire Marshal supervises the department's Fire Prevention Bureau.  The bureau's focus is to educate the public and enforce state building codes relative to fire prevention and safety.  The prevention bureau organizes and trains department personnel to assist with this important responsibility.

The Fire Prevention Bureau is responsible for investigating fires, enforcing state fire codes, and coordinating public fire education efforts.  They also spend time supporting shift personnel who need their expertise and support in conducting routine inspections in schools, hospitals, theaters, and large manufacturing firms; reviewing building and remodeling projects; and conducting occupancy inspections.  The Fire Prevention Bureau accomplishes approximately 5,000 fire and tank inspections each year on commercial properties and apartments with three or more units.

Outdoor Tornado Warning Siren System

Rock County Emergency Management operates a county wide system of outdoor tornado warning sirens. Should a tornado warning be declared or a funnel cloud spotted in Rock County the system will be activated throughout the entire county. Activation of the system consists of a steady tone played for three to five minutes. Residents are urged to immediately take shelter and tune to local broadcasting stations or weather radio for information after the activation of the siren.

Rock County Emergency Management performs regular testing of the warning system to ensure that the system is operational and all sirens are working as intended. This testing is conducted at 12:05PM on the first Wednesday of each month, except December, January and February. Testing consists of a steady tone played for one or two minutes. To avoid confusion the system will never be tested during inclement weather.

To report a problem or a nonfunctioning tornado siren please call Rock County Emergency Management at 758-8440 or the Rock County Communications Center nonemergency line 757-2244. Additional information about the outdoor tornado warning siren system can be found on the Rock County Emergency Management Government Website.

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