Fire & Rescue Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a question to find the answer you are looking for.
The purpose of emergency warning equipment is to let drivers and pedestrians know that an emergency vehicle is on the way to an emergency. By Pennsylvania state law, we do have certain privileges extended to us. Those being, to carefully proceed through controlled intersections and travel against the designated flow of traffic. These privileges have rules that the legislation and department policy put on the drivers of these emergency vehicles. The main rule is that we cannot do these things unless there are lights flashing and sirens going. Even in the middle of the night.
A fire truck will sometimes arrive at an incident first because it is the closest emergency unit to the scene and we are committed to getting help to your location as fast as possible. The City has six fire stations spaced strategically around the City and one ambulance station. All firefighters are trained to provide basic emergency medical treatment. Since there are only four paramedic units in the City, firefighters respond to all calls involving life-threatening symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, chest pains, and severe bleeding. They initiate treatment to stabilize patients and provide information to the paramedics en route to the call so they will be aware of any additional advanced life support equipment that will be needed on the scene.
Each fire truck only carries two firefighters and it is necessary to have enough firefighters on the scene of an incident. There are a number of specialized roles that firefighters undertake at the scene of a fire, and firefighting is a very labor-intensive activity. If you get behind because there are not enough firefighters on the call, it is more difficult to extinguish a fire quickly.
Fire safety programs are available for schools, senior citizen groups, and industries; in addition, tours of one of our six fire stations can be arranged for groups of up to 30 individuals (larger groups are invited to arrange multiple tours). Arrangements may be made by contacting Esmeralda Villasenor, Fire Administrative Secretary, at 610-655-6080, or by completing this form and faxing it to: 610-655-6395 or by mailing it to:
Department of Fire
815 Washington Street, Suite 1-41
Reading, PA 19601
You can arrange to receive an incident report by calling the Department of Fire and Rescue Services at 610-655-6080. There is a fee to acquire a report of $35.00 for each report. Reports for medical incidents can be acquired by calling 610-655-XXXX (Ambulance station).
The City of Reading Department of Fire and Rescue Services purchases a limited number of smoke alarms for distribution to City of Reading residents who may otherwise not be able to afford them (see the Office of the Fire Marshal page). If you can afford a smoke alarm but have a question or concern regarding installation of your own smoke alarm, please contact the Office of the Fire Marshal at 610-655-6080.
You can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Child Safety Seat Inspection Station Locator website to find a location near you. The City of Reading, Department of Fire and Rescue Services does not offer child safety seat installation and inspection program.