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Fire Department Overview

The City of Charleston Fire Department consists of 20 fire companies located throughout the peninsular City and incorporated areas of West Ashley, James Island, John’s Island, and Daniel Island/Cainhoy. CFD operates 16 fire engine companies and four ladder companies, and provides service to more than 120,000 citizens across a service area totaling approximately 109 square miles.

Mission Statement

The Charleston Fire Department protects and serves our community through professional delivery of prevention, outreach, and emergency response service.


The Fire Chief oversees the department which is broken into the following primary sections: Operations Division, Training and Technical Services, Fire Marshal Division, and Administrative Services. 

Operations - Deputy Chief John Tippett 

  • Emergency Operations of 20 companies 
  • Special Teams
  • Safety
  • Oversees shift operations

Training and Technical Services - Deputy Chief Mark Davis 

  • Maintenance Division
  • Logistics
  • Training Division
  • Professional Development

Fire Marshal Division -  Chief Fire Marshal Mike Julazadeh

  • Fire Plan Review & New Construction Inspections
  • Fire Code Enforcement
  • Fire & Arson Investigations
  • Community Risk Reduction & Public Information
  • Pre-Plans and Hydrant Maintenance
  • RMS (records management system)

Administrative Services - 
 Admin. Manager Cassandra McSwain

  • Budget
  • Finance
  • Admin support

  • The CFD currently has over 300 career firefighters (no volunteer firefighters) located in 21 companies.
  • The CFD was founded in 1882, and continues to meet the challenges of serving a growing, thriving, and historic port city with nearly 20,000 structures of which over 8,000 are historically important, and many are national landmarks. Furthermore, a significant number of residential and commercial structures in the city’s central peninsula are more than one- and two-hundred years old, stand in close proximity or attach to neighboring structures, and are largely constructed of wood.
  • Current inventory of major fire apparatus including special equipment: The Charleston Fire Department has 16 front-line pumpers, four reserve pumpers, one training pumper, two HAZMAT units, four aerial apparatus, one reserve aerial apparatus, one light & air truck with cascade system, a decontamination trailer, a rehab trailer, a urban search & rescue trailer, and one 36-foot fire boat.
  • The City leadership and the Fire Department continue to monitor the City’s growth and assure that adequate resources are available to meet nationally accepted response time goals.
  • The Fire Department maintains an aggressive training regimen for sworn fire personnel, offering a multitude of certification, coursework, and advancement opportunities. The Training Division is responsible for supporting daily training, annual re-certification training, and recruit training.
  • The Fire Department Hazardous Materials & Technical Rescue Team conducts monthly exercises and have incorporated ongoing training for emergencies involving terrorism and weapons of mass destruction (WMD). In 2004, the Fire Department received a new COBRA Trailer Unit and vehicle through Charleston County Homeland Security funding for hazardous materials and WMD incidents. Also in 2004, the Department received a Type II USAR Trailer and vehicle through Homeland Security funding at the state level. This unit is part of the South Carolina “Task Force One” Urban Search and Rescue Team.
  • The Fire Department maintains mutual aid agreements with all fire departments in the tri-county area and stands ready to share expertise and equipment. The Fire Department is currently in an Automatic Aid agreement between City of Charleston, North Charleston, St. Andrews, St. Johns, and James Island fire departments. This agreement pulls resources together, depending on location, from different departments to respond to a scene. Training and resources are shared between the participating departments.