Fire Department Background

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The Whitehorse Fire Department is “A proud and committed organization, dedicated to proactively providing compassionate and responsive service”. The Department is “dedicated to the protection of life, property and the environment” by providing fire prevention and suppression services, public education, hazardous materials response, rescue, and first aid.

The Fire Department was originally formed in 1901 after rapid growth in the area. Initially, all the firefighters were volunteers and, like today, they were from all walks of life. The Whitehorse Fire Department can proudly claim having Robert Service as a member for a short period of time. For the first forty years of the Department’s existence, steam-powered pumps and hand- drawn hose reels were the mainstay of the Department’s firefighting equipment. In 1942, Dowland Construction one, of the main contractors on the Alaska Highway Project, purchased a brand new Ford fire truck for the citizens of Whitehorse. The new truck was the first motorized equipment owned by the Department. In 1950, the Territorial Government granted the status of “city” to Whitehorse. Since then, the Fire Department has been operated by The City of Whitehorse. The Whitehorse Fire Department has continued to grow and develop into the department that exists today.

As we move forward in the 21st Century, the Department is placing more and more emphasis on fire prevention, including wild fire abatement, public education, pre-emergency planning, and fire inspections, to reduce the number of destructive fires that occur each year. Mutual Aid agreements with surrounding Fire Departments enhance the suppression services available to the citizens of Whitehorse and the adjacent areas. The Department is also involved with Emergency Measures planning to prepare for those situations that may overwhelm the local resources.

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The Whitehorse Fire Department is comprised of both Career and Volunteer Firefighters.
The department break down is as follows:

  • Fire Chief
  • Fire Prevention Officer
  • Training Officer
  • 4 Platoon Chiefs 
  • 4 Fire Captains
  • 16 Career Firefighters
  • Approximately 15 Volunteer Firefighters

The Department operates out of two fire halls. Fire Hall #1 is located at 2nd Avenue and Wood Street next door to City Hall, and Fire Hall #2 is located at Two Mile Hill and Range Road in Takhini.

  • Fire Hall #1 is equipped with one 1500 GPM SMEAL Pumper Apparatus and one Spare pumper with Rescue equipment.
  • Fire Hall #2 is equipped with one 1500 GPM SMEAL Pumper Apparatus, One 1250 GPM 75Ft Aerial Ladder Apparatus, one Rescue Utility Vehicle, one 1500 Gallon Tanker and various patten Command Vehicles.

Fire Halls are staffed 24 hrs/day on a rotational shift pattern by a normal complement of five members on duty, three in one hall and two in the other, with volunteers providing backup for all responses.

The Whitehorse Fire Department responds to approximately 500 to 600 incidents per year. This works out to an average of 5 to 10 calls per week and fluctuates throughout the year.

Next, learn more about Duties and Expectations of a Volunteer Firefighter