About The Department
Portsmouth Fire Department is staffed by 32 Career Firefighter/EMT’s, 1 full-time Fire Chief, 1 full-time Fire Marshal, 1 full-time Training Captain, and 4 full-time Civilian Emergency Dispatchers. The Portsmouth Fire Department provides fire suppression, ALS medical service, marine, and water rescue as well as technical rescue services. All of the line firefighters are Advanced Life Support emergency medical technicians that provide fulltime advanced life support services with two ALS medical rescues and one ALS fire engine. Many of the department members are certified in various types of technical rescue disciplines; including high angle rescue, trench rescue, confined space rescue, water rescue, and hazardous materials. Fire prevention is staffed by one full-time Fire Marshal who provides life safety inspections, occupancy inspections as well as fire prevention educational service to the community.
The Portsmouth Fire Department is committed to providing to the community needed fire suppression, emergency medical services, technical rescue service, hazardous materials mitigation, public education, and fire safety inspections at the highest level attainable with available resources to meet the present and future needs of the community:
Professionalism – In our appearance, attitude, and standards
Openness – To our community without regard to age, gender, religion ethnic origin
Respect – For each other, our Department, the community and the citizens we serve
Teamwork – Encouraging unity, cooperation, and positive attitudes
Safety – To always work safe in any situation we face
Mentor – To serve as role models for fellow employees and the community at large
Outstanding – To always strive for the highest level of service
Understanding – To show kindness, empathy, and fairness to everyone we serve
Training – Always train and be progressive in professional development
Health – Personal and professional health are the highest priority for every employee
The Portsmouth Volunteer Fire Department was first organized in 1935; prior to that time, there was no organized fire fighting force that was dedicated to protecting the town. Oakland Farm, a Vanderbilt property located just south of Union Street, owned the first motorized fire truck in Portsmouth sometime during the early1920's. A second fire engine was purchased by Glen Farm sometime during the last half of the 1920's. It is believed that this purchase was made after one of the Glen Farm barns burned to the ground; despite the response of the Oakland Farm fire truck and a fire engine from the City of Newport.
The first home for the Portsmouth Fire Department was Quaker Hill Garage. Quaker Hill Garage was a service station owned by the Hall Family; the building also housed Hall Brothers Construction. The building is located across form Clement's Market and currently houses Aquidneck Construction. The Hall Brothers convinced town leaders to purchase a fire truck for the Town of Portsmouth; the truck they purchased was a 1922 Model T Ford Chemical Wagon. This vehicle was essentially a big chemical fire extinguisher. This fire truck and a fire engine purchased in 1935 remained at this location until 1940. In 1940 the department was moved to building next to the Portsmouth Town Hall.