Frequently Asked Questions

1) Why does a fire truck respond when I call for a medical emergency?

  • Firefighters are certified first responders, emergency medical technicians or paramedics. The Johnson City Fire Department has fire stations that are located in central locations throughout the city. This coverage allows firefighters to get on scene quickly when minutes count.

2) Why do firefighters break out windows and cut holes in my roof during a fire?

  • Firefighters ventilate smoke and dangerous gases for victim safety and rescuer visibility. This allows firefighters to get inside the building to find and extinguish the fire, thereby reducing property damage. This also reduces the chances of a possible backdraft explosion or flashover.

3) Why do you block so many lanes at motor vehicle accidents?

  • We block traffic lanes to protect our patients and our personnel. Firefighters need room to work in a safe area in order to effectively treat patients.

4) Why can’t I drive over the fire hoses if I need to get someplace?

  • Running over a fire hose can damage the hose and interrupt the water supply. The fire hose and the water it supplies are the lifeline for any firefighter on the other end of it. Losing water can cause serious injury or death.

5) Why do firefighters keep weeds and bushes away from fire hydrants?

  • Firefighters keep weeds and bushes 4 feet from fire hydrants for visibility and accessibility. Please do not plant next to the hydrant.

6) How do you get a smoke detector from the Fire Department?

  • Visit any fire station to request one or call (423)975-2840.

7) Can I burn leaves and brush on my property?

  • Open burns are prohibited in the city limits. Brush and leaf pickup is provided by the city.

8) Why do firefighters shop at the local grocery stores?

  • Firefighters work 24-hour shifts and must supply our own food. We combine our money to purchase food to cook or to buy our meals.

9) Why does my water look muddy when firefighters turn fire hydrants on?

  • We turn on fire hydrants to ensure they are operating properly and to check the amount of water available. We turn the hydrants on slowly in an attempt to not stir up the sediment that is in the pipes, but at times that does happen and the water coming out of your faucet can be brown in color.

10) Where can I pick up a fire report if I need a copy?

  • Copies of incident reports can be obtained at the Fire Department Administrative Offices located at 603 Bert Street, inside Keystone Community Center.
    You may also request one online here.

11) What do firefighters do when not responding to calls?

  • Firefighters have numerous duties and responsibilities including:
    • Station and truck cleaning
    • Truck and equipment maintenance/testing
    • Drills and training classes
    • Pre-planning for local businesses
    • Public education classes
    • And since we work 24-hour shifts, we also have to cook, eat, shower, etc

12) How can I set up a public education event?

  • Contact the Administrative Office at (423)975-2840 to schedule an event. Please have the following information ready:
    • Name of the event
    • Date, time, location
    • Contact name and phone number

13) What should I do if a fire hydrant is leaking or has been damaged?

  • Contact the Water and Sewer Services Department at (423)461-1645 during business hours or (423)461-1643 after 5 p.m. and on weekends. You may also contact the Fire Department at (423)975-2840.

14) Do you do car seat inspections and installations?

  • Yes, the Johnson City Fire Department has several car seat technicians available to help. Please call (423)975-2840 for more information.

15) Can I get a blood pressure check at the stations?

  • If firefighters are at the station, they can give you a blood pressure reading. If you are experiencing a medical problem, we recommend you call 911.

16) Is there a specific code requirement on construction projects for an electrical shutoff box?

  • Yes, the City requires that specific brand due to the key being specific for the Johnson City Fire Department to access the electrical shutoff box. Each city usesd a specific brand in this type of entry access for fire departments. The City currently uses Knox Box brand. Click here for their website.