About Colerain Fire Department
Today your Colerain Township Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) stands among the leaders of the fire service in the United States. On July 1, 2016, the department formally received a Class 1 Public Protection Classification from the Insurance Service Office (ISO), an organization that independently evaluates municipal fire protection throughout the United States. Colerain’s entrance into this elite group of departments represents less than one half of one percent of all fire departments in the country; one of only two within the State of Ohio; and the only Class 1 department in Southwest Ohio. Providing Class 1 fire protection assures the citizens and businesses of Colerain Township that they now receive the lowest rates for fire casualty insurance of any community in the country.
Achieving this distinction was not an overnight process. The Colerain Township Department of Fire and EMS serves the largest township in Ohio, measuring 43.5 square miles, with approximately 60,000 permanent residents, and abutting the City of Cincinnati. The department was formed in 1975, but its roots go back much further.
Fire and Life Squad service began in 1931, when the Groesbeck Improvement Association helped form the Groesbeck Fire Department as an independent fire company. This relationship lasted until the mid-1960’s when the department, along with the newly formed Dunlap Volunteer Fire Department contracted with Colerain Township to provide fire and life squad service for the central corridor of the township. Separate contracts in the western part of the township were held by the then New Baltimore and Miamitown Fire Departments.
In 1975, the Groesbeck and Dunlap fire departments merged into the Colerain Township Fire Department under the direction of Chief Cloyce “Corky” Snyder and assumed responsibility for the entire township as a township fire department. This ‘new’ department consisted of eight full-time firefighters including Chief Snyder, and approximately 60 volunteer firefighters who were the backbone of the department.
The Colerain Township Fire Department functioned well from its onset under this system. The department maintained the high regard that was afforded the Groesbeck and Dunlap departments. Residents and businesses of the township received the best fire suppression, fire prevention, and EMS that was available at the time. During this time the completion of I-275 (Cincinnati’s circle freeway) brought rapid and significant growth to the once predominantly rural community. The township expanded its two-station fire department to four, which better served the expanding community. While township growth continued into the 1980’s, retaining volunteer firefighters and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)’s became increasingly difficult.
Part-Time & Career Employees
Chief Snyder and his staff pursued various options to remedy the staffing situation. The chosen option consisted of staffing the stations 24 hours a day with a combination of career and part-time personnel.
During mid 1984, Colerain’s volunteer system was disbanded and staffing of the stations was around the clock with part-time and career employees. Volunteers who wished to retain their status with department were then considered part-time employees of the Township. Stations were staffed 24 hours a day, in contrast to responding to the firehouse from home, as was the case with the volunteer system. This form of staffing ensured adequate personnel, as well as a more timely response to emergency scenes. Colerain was one of the initial departments in Ohio to utilize this form of staffing; a system that still works well for the department today.
Chief Snyder’s strong leadership continued moving the department in an upward direction until his retirement in 1986. Upon Chief Snyder’s retirement, Assistant Chief Bruce Smith was appointed Director and Chief of the department.
From a membership of approximately 75 in 1986, the department grew to over 100 by 1989. In May of 1989, paramedics were added to the department’s EMS division. The department’s EMS, previously operating with advanced EMT’s, was upgraded to include six career firefighter paramedics. The addition to the career staff, bringing the total to 17, would ensure continuous medic coverage to the township. From the program’s inception, Colerain’s ALS (advanced life support) units continue to remain the second busiest in Hamilton County, next to the City of Cincinnati.
Due to growth of the community, in October of 2004 a 5th fire station opened at the corner of Kemper Road and Pippin Road. Over the years, our duties have greatly expanded to include not only Fire and Advanced Life Support (paramedic) Emergency Medical Services, but also:
- Hazardous Material response
- Mass Casualties incidents
- Rescue, including Extrication, Water, Rope, Technical, and Urban Search and Rescue
- Severe Weather responses
- Tactical Medics
We have literally become your “All Hazards” response team. The fire department annually makes over 10,250 emergency responses, with 82% of these emergencies calls being for medical aid, and the remaining 18% for fire emergencies and rescues.
In 2015, Chief Bruce Smith retired having served the department for over 40 years and Chief Frank W. Cook assumed the duties as the Chief of the Department. In 2020 Chief Cook retired and Chief Walls was promoted into the role. Chief Walls' vision is to keep the department progressive and attuned to new techniques that provide enhanced safety to both our firefighter/paramedics and the citizens of Colerain Township. That is why one of the department’s main emphasis is on Community Risk Reduction. There are a variety of safety programs and services that are available to residents that help to prevent injury or illness which include smoke alarm installations; fall prevention; CPR training, and blood pressure and glucose screening. Additionally, in cooperation with the Colerain Township Police and the Addiction Services Council, our Quick Response Team or QRT consisting of a firefighter/paramedic paired with a police officer and member of the council, work as a team to offer drug intervention and assist with admission to rehabilitation and recovery facilities.
The Colerain Township Department of Fire and EMS is a team of both career and paid part-time firefighter/paramedics that consists of dedicated men and women who care about you and this township. When the need arises and crews respond, these men and woman provide the highest quality service in a caring and professional manner to our residents and guests. We appreciate the support shown to us by you, our residents of the township and pledge our best to you in return.