The Borough of Swissvale is 1.3 square miles and borders the eastern side of the City of Pittsburgh. We also border Edgewood, Braddock Hills, North Braddock and Rankin Boroughs. Located in the historic "Steel Valley" along the Monongahela River, at the borough’s population peak, there were over 16,000 residents and Swissvale was one of the most densely populated municipalities in the Greater Pittsburgh Area. The community is urban in nature and is comprised of residential, commercial and industrial occupancies with a current population of just under 9,000 residents.
The Borough of Swissvale is served by a combination fire delivery system, including both paid and volunteer firefighters. There are actually two separate organizations that work together collectively to provide the superior fire protection that Swissvale residents enjoy under the auspice of "SWISSVALE FIRE".
The Borough of Swissvale Fire Department is comprised of a career Chief, an Assistant Chief, three Shift Commanders, and seventeen firefighters and is governed by the Borough’s elected council. The Swissvale Volunteer Fire Department is comprised of an Assistant Chief, two Captains, a Lieutenant and eleven firefighters and is governed by the organization's by-laws and Corporate Officers: a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer.
The majority of our firefighters are trained as Medical First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics. We provide Fire, Rescue and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) through our Quick Response Service (QRS) program and respond to a total of approximately 1,500 calls annually. Swissvale Fire operates a fleet consisting of two Engines, a Ladder Truck and four support vehicles out of our new station located at 7400 Irvine Street.
Swissvale Fire works closely with surrounding fire departments and provides and/or receives automatic and mutual aid from Edgewood, Homestead, West Homestead, Forest Hills, North Braddock, and Rivers Edge Fire Departments.
PROTECTING THROUGH PARTNERSHIP
The two departments have forged a partnership to operate under one unified command structure and work operationally in emergency situations as a unified delivery system, complimenting each other to provide the best fire protection possible to the community we serve.
With a combination fire delivery system, the community wins by having a quick response from on-duty personnel, while having the ability to muster the required additional resources for potentially major incidents, saving the taxpayers from the substantial burden of a completely paid fire force.
Both departments are recognized by the Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner for their professionalism in training. The Pennsylvania Fire Service Certification Program recognizes and certifies participating department’s firefighter training levels attained through the National Professional Board of Fire Service Qualifications.
Both departments have obtained a Gold level certification by demonstrating that 100% of the career and volunteer personnel have been trained, tested and certified to the level of the National Pro-Board requirements.
This places both the Borough of Swissvale Fire Department and the Swissvale Volunteer Fire Department in the top 1% of the states 2,488 fire departments.
What we do…… We don’t just put out fires!
The Swissvale Fire Department is not only responsible for fire suppression, rescue and EMS activities. The department is also charged with the enforcement of all building related codes and ordinances, fire codes as well as zoning compliance.
Building and Zoning Compliance
The Fire Chief serves as the Borough’s Building Code Official (BCO) and administers compliance of the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code. All building permits are issued by the fire department. The Fire Chief also serves as the Borough’s Zoning Officer and administers compliance of the Borough’s Zoning Ordinances. On duty firefighters assist in the permit and inspection process requirements of the Codes. We issue about 150 to 200 Building and Zoning Permits annually and perform more than 500 inspection visits related to those permits.
The fire department administers the Borough’s Occupancy Permit Ordinance. Every time occupancy changes in any dwelling or premises or the property is sold, the fire department must inspect said property to ensure that it is in compliance with current Property Maintenance, Fire and Life Safety Codes. We issue approximately 750 permits annually and perform more than 1500 inspection visits related to those permits. The Fire Marshal manages this program and schedules all inspections performed by him and other on duty firefighters.
Fire Prevention Activities
The fire department participates in fire prevention activities through local schools, senior centers and other organizations.
The fire department always takes a leading role in assisting with our community's events. These include Swissvale Community Days, Night of Lights, National Night Out, Run around the Square and other events. We also gladly attend various block parties and other events throughout the community.