• Frequently Asked Questions

    WPFPD addresses Frequently Asked Questions


    • Q: What is a Fire Protection District?

      A: A Fire Protection District, as governed by Chapter 321 of the Missouri Revised Statues, is a political subdivision which is organized to supply fire protection. That is to say that such a district is an independent (i.e. not part of a municipal government) organization, that levies taxes and uses the revenue from those taxes to provide fire protection. The residents that live within the defined boundaries of the the District elect a Board of Directors for the district and vote on all tax initiatives.

    • Q: Why do we use lights and sirens all the time?

      A: 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 state law, we do have certain privileges extended to us. Those being, to proceed through controlled intersections without stopping, travel against the designated flow of traffic, to exceed the posted speed limit. All of these privileges have rules that the legislation and department policy put on the drivers of these emergency vehicles. The main rule is that we can not do these things unless there are lights flashing and sirens going. Even in the middle of the night.

      We use this equipment to get us to the scene of an emergency in a quick, but safe manner. Above all, we are mandated to have control over the vehicle at all times. If you see an emergency vehicle approaching you, pull over and stop and let them by.

    • Q: Some times I see fire trucks running lights and sirens, then they turn them off for no reason. Are you guys just doing that to run red lights?

      A: Absolutely not! Because of the unpredictable nature of emergencies, and because we often get very little information when we are called, we assign trucks and personal to handle a serious incident. There are times when the first unit to arrive on the scene of an emergency will find that they are able to deal with the incident on their own or with less help than is on the way. In such cases the units that are not needed are canceled and put in service to respond to other emergencies, even though they were already on the way to this one. That is why you will some times see a unit "shut down" to non-emergency status.

    • Q: Why do I see firefighters shopping at the grocery store?

      A: Fire crews work 24-hour days and must supply their own meals while in the firehouse. They stop to purchase food within their assigned area and are always available for emergencies.

    • Q: Firefighters must spend a lot of time just sitting around, waiting for a fire, don't they?

      A: No! When they are not responding to emergencies, firefighters have lots of other duties. They perform fire inspections in businesses, schools and churches. There are also ongoing training exercises so they can keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date. They also take time to familiarize themselves with changes in our fast-growing area: new streets and new construction, so they are prepared to act quickly in an emergency. And, when time permits, firefighters are allowed to use part of their day for exercise, in order to stay fit for the often strenuous demands of firefighting and rescue work. These activities take place seven days a week.

    • Q: Why do so many emergency vehicles respond to every incident?

      A: West Peculiar has a system for determining the appropriate number of people and the urgency of the response for different types of emergencies. We send the amount that may be needed so there will be no delay in providing whatever aid is necessary.

    • Q: Why do firefighters cut holes in the roof of a building on fire?

      A: This is called "venting the roof." There are two basic reasons for this practice. Dangerous super-heated gases and dark smoke accumulate in a burning building. Unlike the movie versions of fires, it is impossible for firefighters to see in such an environment or for victims to survive. When a hole is made in the roof, and the building is “vented,” the smoke and gases escape because heat and smoke rise. It increases the victim’s chance for survival and makes it much easier for the firefighters in the building to see. It also reduces the possibilities of backdraft (explosion) and flashover. Another reason for venting the roof is to see how far the fire has progressed. One of the fastest avenues through which fires spread is the attic. Heat and smoke rise into the attic where the fire can move quickly. Firefighters may go ahead of the fire on a roof and cut holes to access the attic to stop the fire from spreading through the attic.

    • Q: Can the Fire Department fill fire extinguishers?

      A: No. We cannot endorse a company or individual, but we can suggest you look in the metropolitan phone book yellow pages under Fire Extinguishers or Fire Protection Equipment and Supplies for assistance. Also, your local department or hardware store usually carries these items.

    • Q: Why do firefighters cut holes in the roof of a building on fire?

      A: It depends on the situation. We will evaluate the situation and assess the risk to our firefighting personnel. Provided that there is no unsafe condition's we may attempt a rescue. We will usually require that the owner of the pet be present to accept liability should one of our personnel become bitten or scratched and require medical treatment. Often times a rescue is not required. With cats in trees, we strongly suggest opening a can of tuna (this usually works), leaving the immediate area and waiting for the cat to get down on its own.