Philadelphia fire officials are looking to increase safety, communications and oversight with the restoration of two battalions and a division.
January 30, 2019
Philadelphia Fire Department
The Philadelphia Fire Department has implemented major changes by restoring two battalions and a district to increase safety, communications and oversight.
The city said in a press release on Wednesday that the restoration of Battalions 5 & 6 and Division 3 will put more chiefs in the field and better protect every neighborhood in the city.
“This is a huge milestone in our continuing efforts to reinvest in the PFD,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “Restoring these positions will improve safety for the public and for members of the department.”
The Philly Fire Department divides the city into battalions, each led by a battalion chief who supervises crews during emergency calls. A group of battalions make up a division led by a deputy chief who responds to major incidents.
The department had 13 battalions decades ago that were divided up into three divisions, but budget cuts forced the elimination of Division 3 and Battalion 6 in 1983 before Battalion 5 was shut down in 1993.
With additional resources now available through the support of Mayor Kenney and City Council, Battalions 5 & 6 and Division 3 are back in service in new locations, adding three more chiefs to the field on every shift.
“This pivotal moment in the history of the PFD restores vital services that will positively affect every neighborhood in our great city through enhanced safety, communication, and coordination of our dedicated workforce as they respond to almost 1,000 emergency incidents per day,” Philadelphia Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel said in the release.
Additionally, plans to hire more firefighters this year through a $16.6 million federal grant will bolster staffing levels to the point where the department can eventually reopen five engine companies and two ladder companies that were taken out of service in the wake of the 2008-09 recession.