Open main menu

The Jefferson County Fire Service (abbreviated as JCFS and known locally as "County Fire" or "Suburban Fire") is an organization that coordinates the independent fire protection districts in Jefferson County, Kentucky. The JCFS was formed for the purpose of mutual aid, dispatch, training, and local standardization. The Shively Fire Department is the only suburban department that has not joined the JCFS; it uses the same dispatch and radio channels as the Louisville Division of Fire.

Jefferson County Fire Service
Jefferson County Fire Service (badge).gif
"Dedication, Loyalty, Honor"
Operational area
Country United States of America
State Kentucky
County Jefferson County
Agency overview
Employees418 Career
433 Volunteers
EMS levelBLS & ALS
Facilities and equipment
Stations43 Active
Engines35 Engines + 14 Reserve
3 Squrts + 2 Reserve
1 Snozzle + 0 Reserve
2 Quads + 2 Reserve
Trucks0 + 1 Reserve
Tillers3 + 0 Reserve
Platforms1 + 0 Reserve
Quints12 Quints + 3 Reserve
1 Telesqurts + 2 Reserve
Ambulances4 ALS + 1 Reserve
0 BLS + 0 Reserve
Tenders2 + 0 Reserve
Light and air1
Website EMS Units =


Jefferson County Fire DepartmentEdit

Before 1947 Jefferson County Fiscal Court operated the Jefferson County Fire Department. The department operated three engine companies from three stations equally spread across the unincorporated county land.[1]

Fire Taxing DistrictsEdit

A chapter of Kentucky's codified set of laws, the Kentucky Revised Statutes allows for the incorporation of fire protection taxing districts in otherwise unincorporated areas. As the population of Jefferson County grew after the Second World War small communities began to believe the services of the county fire department were wholly inadequate for their growing needs. These communities secured the votes necessary to establish fire protection districts. The districts levied a tax based on a property owner's total real estate worth and allowed for more money to be available exclusively for fire protection. Eventually, 21 separate districts were formed, completely covering all of Jefferson County outside of the Cities of Louisville and Shively. Since it was now unnecessary Jefferson County Fiscal Court disbanded the county fire department completely in 1964.[1]


Effects of the 2003 Louisville – Jefferson County mergerEdit

The 2003 merger of Louisville and Jefferson County governments did little to affect the Jefferson County fire districts. Since then, other non-official names for JCFS have been coined such as "Louisville Metro Suburban Fire" and the "Suburban Division, Louisville Metro Fire"[citation needed]; however, since Louisville Metro Government has no direct control over the suburban fire departments, such references would be inaccurate and possibly misleading.

The merger legislation permits the continuing existence of all governmental subdivisions of the county including cities and fire protection districts. It does, however, prohibit the incorporation of new ones. Consequently, true "mergers" of districts are not possible since a new governmental entity would necessarily be created, although several districts have chosen to dissolve and to be absorbed by neighboring districts.[citation needed]

Of the 21 fire protection districts extant in 2003, by mid-2019 almost half had dissolved or were in the process of merging into other departments.

2003: Okolona – Black MuddEdit

The Okolona Fire Protection District absorbed the Black Mudd Fire District in 2003. Black Mudd station 1 became Okolona station 3.

2004: Pleasure Ridge Park – South DixieEdit

The Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Protection District absorbed the South Dixie Fire District in July 2004. South Dixie station 1 became Pleasure Ridge Park station 7, and South Dixie station 2 became Pleasure Ridge Park station 8.

2005: Okolona – EdgewoodEdit

The Edgewood Fire District merged into the Okolona Fire Protection District in 2005. Edgewood station 1 became Okolona station 4, and was closed and torn down in 2010.

2011: Lake Dreamland – Dixie SuburbanEdit

Dixie Suburban merged into the Lake Dreamland fire department in July 2011.[2] Dixie Suburban station 1 became Lake Dreamland station 3, which currently serves as a storage and training facility.

2018: East End mergersEdit

Anchorage – MiddletownEdit

On March 1, 2018, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer signed the executive order making the merger between Anchorage Fire & EMS and the Middletown Fire Protection District official. The Anchorage Middletown Fire & EMS Department is headquartered on Urton Lane, formerly home to Middletown Station 1. [3][4]

Jeffersontown – McMahanEdit

On July 1, 2018 Jeffersontown Fire Department absorbed the McMahan Fire Protection District, which began operating in the Hikes Point area in 1955. [5][6]

St. Matthews – LyndonEdit

The Lyndon Fire Protection District merged into the St. Matthews Fire Protection District on July 1, 2018.[7] With this merger, St. Matthews Fire and Rescue became responsible for fire protection services in the areas of St. Matthews, Lyndon, Hurstbourne, Norbourne Estates, Indian Hills, Graymoor Devondale, Plantation, Rolling Hills, Westwood, and Bellemeade.[8]

2019: Pending East End mergersEdit

On April 17, 2019, the boards of trustees for the Anchorage Middletown Fire & EMS Department, and the Eastwood, Harrods Creek and Worthington fire districts voted to merge the latter three into the Anchorage Middletown department; the expanded department will, when the merger takes effect, have 11 stations covering 92 square miles of the East End of Jefferson County. Anchorage Middletown Chief Kevin Longstreet will remain as chief of the department, while the Eastwood, Harrods Creek and Worthington chiefs will take on management roles with the expanded department. The merger is expected to become final on July 1, 2019.[9]


Member districts of JCFS include all departments within Louisville-Jefferson County organized under KRS Chapter 75.

Although not fire protection districts organized under Chapter 75 of the KRS the City of Shively Fire Department and Louisville Division of Fire often participate with JCFS in training.

The JCFS is not a distinct fire department per se but a coordinating organization that facilitates cooperation among the suburban fire districts. JCFS does not have a chief or any type of hierarchy and has no binding executive or legislative authority over its membership. Instead it comprises various committees and associations that specialize in areas that affect the fire service in Jefferson County as a whole.

Most of the Jefferson County fire districts wear the Jefferson County Fire distinctive insignia patch on the right shoulder of their uniforms.[citation needed]

Fire departmentsEdit

The Jefferson County Fire Service consists of 14 fire protection districts that collectively protect 333 square miles and 495,000 people, surrounding the original Louisville city limits.[10]

Fire Protection Districts Fire Department Website
Anchorage Middletown Website
Buechel Website
Camp Taylor Website
Eastwood Website
Fairdale Website
Fern Creek Website
Harrods Creek Website
Highview Website
Jeffersontown Website
Lake Dreamland Website
Okolona Website
Pleasure Ridge Park Website
Saint Matthews Website
Worthington Website

Unit numbering systemEdit

Fire departments in the JCFS use a unified numbering system for dispatch and radio transmissions. The numbering system consists of 4 digits; from these 4 digits, a firefighter can tell the department, the type of unit, and the number of the unit for any given vehicle.[citation needed] Many other counties surrounding Jefferson County in Kentucky also use this numbering system or a similar one.[citation needed]

The first and second digits of the 4-digit number represent the department. Department numbers include:[11]

  • 11- Highview
  • 12- Harrods Creek
  • 16- Lyndon
  • 18- Worthington
  • 22- Pleasure Ridge Park
  • 26- Saint Matthews
  • 33- Jeffersontown
  • 37- Buechel
  • 40- Lake Dreamland
  • 50- Camp Taylor
  • 55- McMahan
  • 64- JCFS Trench Rescue Team
  • 66- JCFS Hazmat Team
  • 68- JCFS Water Rescue Team
  • 71- Fern Creek
  • 77- Eastwood
  • 80- Okolona
  • 90- Fairdale
  • 99- Anchorage-Middletown

Defunct department numbers include 20 (Anchorage) 30 (Dixie Suburban), 35 (South Dixie), 44 (Edgewood), and 60 (Black Mudd).

Third digitEdit

Old numbering systemEdit

The third digit of the 4-digit number represents the type of unit.[11]

  • 0- Chief Officer/Command Units
  • 1- Officers/Misc. Personnel, Fire Marshall, & Chaplain
  • 2- Engine (w/ less than 1250 GPM; not used that much anymore for most units have 1250+ GPM)
  • 3- Engine (w/ greater than 1250 GPM), Articulating Squrts
  • 4- Quads (engine companies with more ground ladders)
  • 5- Quints, Trucks, Towers, Tillers, Telesqurts
  • 6- Tankers
  • 7- Brush Units
  • 8- Rescues, Ambulances, & Hazmats
  • 9- Service, Utility or Special Purpose Vehicle
New numbering systemEdit

The JCFS has recently made official an updated numbering system. It is quite similar to the old numbering system, but with a few changes. Though most of the units that have to change their number have not done so yet, but they will do so soon.

  • 0- Chief Officer/Command Units
  • 1- Officers/Misc. Personnel, Fire Marshall, & Chaplain
  • 2 & 3- Engines, Articulating Squrts
  • 4- Quads (engine companies with more ground ladders)
  • 5- "Wet" Ladder Trucks (ladder trucks with a pump and water tank, i.e. Quints), Telesqurts
  • 6- "Dry" Ladder Trucks (ladder trucks with no water pump or water tank)
  • 7- Brush Units & Tankers
  • 8- Rescues, Ambulances, & Hazmats
  • 9- Service, Utility or Special Purpose Vehicle

The fourth digit of the 4-digit number represents the unit number. Some departments use the number of the station the truck is usually located at, while others pick and choose a number.

JCFS special teamsEdit

The Jefferson County Fire Service has special service teams[12] that consist of members from various departments across the county. These special teams have their own tones and "department number". The JCFS Special Operations Team uses 2 "department numbers", 1 for their water rescue equipment trailers, and 1 for their collapse and trench rescue equipment trailers. While many departments carry special equipment in their own marked vehicles and trailers, the JCFS owns their own special equipment in JCFS marked vehicles & trailers. Though some trailers go under the "department number" of the department that owns the station it's located at, or have their own call-signs.

JCFS-owned vehicles and trailersEdit

The JCFS owns 2 specialized vehicles (1 hazmat and 1 utility), along with many trailers carrying specialized equipment for special operations. Unit/Hazmat 6691 is currently located at and responds from Lake Dreamland Fire Protection District station 1, which has a close proximity to a local heavy industrial area known as Rubbertown. Unit 6691 is a 1993 Ford CF-8000/Betten that is ex-Jefferson County EMS.[13] Unit/Utility 6697 is a utility that is located at and responds from Okolona Fire Protection District station 1. Okolona is centrally located along the southern border of Jefferson County. Unit 6697 is a 2001 Ford F-350/1977 E-One, with the chassis and cab being ex-Jefferson County EMS, and the body ex-South Dixie Fire Protection District.[13] Unit 6697's main purpose is to pull trailers with special purpose/operations equipment.

JCFS Hazardous Materials Operations TeamEdit

The JCFS Hazardous Materials Operations Team consists of members from nearly all of the departments that are part of the JCFS.[14]

JCFS Special Operations TeamEdit

The JCFS Special Operations Team[15] consists of the JCFS's Water, Collapse, Trench, Confined Space, and Rope Rescue Operations Teams.



Emergency and most government services in Jefferson County operate on one radio system, locally called Metrosafe. Metrosafe currently uses a Project 25 Phase 1 trunking system.

Radio channelsEdit

The Jefferson County Fire Service currently operates from multiple radio channels.

Radio Channels & Uses
Radio Channel: Uses:
JCF Page Main dispatch, receive only
Fire 5 Primary Operations Channel, receive & transmit
Fire 6 Secondary Operations Channel, receive & transmit
Fire 7 Backup Operations Channel, receive & transmit
Fire 8 Backup Operations Channel, receive & transmit
TAC XX (Replace XX With Each Department Number) Local departmental auxiliary communication channel

Radio call-signsEdit


Mutual aidEdit

The primary purpose of JCFS is to coordinate help and cooperation between the fire districts in fire suppression activities. The member district of JCFS have, through the years, integrated their response plans with one another to the extent that the districts de facto operate as one on the fireground. Newly adopted dispatching protocols disregard traditional district boundaries and direct the response of the closest, most appropriate fire equipment to a call for help. It is not uncommon to see fire apparatus from two or more districts on the scene of a routine fire call. Interoperability between the JCFS districts and Louisville Division of Fire is informal and the two organizations do not participate in the unified chain of command when operating together.

Notable emergenciesEdit

April 3, 2015 major flooding and 8-Alarm GE Appliance Park fireEdit

GE Appliance Park has completely removed building 6 after the fire, and they currently have no plans to rebuild the building or build a new building on the site.

Other informationEdit

Fairdale High School Fire & EMS AcademyEdit

Fairdale High School offers a Fire & EMS program that introduces students to and prepares them for careers in emergency services. The academy often trains with local fire departments, and is active in the community. They have, for a long time, maintained a fully equipped and operational pumper. The current unit, Brutus II, is a 1990 Pierce Lance pumper with a 1500 GPM pump and a 1000-gallon water tank. This unit was donated by the Fairdale Fire District, where it served as Engine 9032.

Before Brutus II arrived, the program maintained Brutus. Brutus was donated to the school from the Pleasure Ridge Park Fire Department, where it served as Engine 2223. Brutus was a 1982 Duplex D-350/Grumman 1250/750.[16][17]

Junior Firefighter ProgramsEdit

Many of the Jefferson County Fire Service fire departments have an explorer program to allow kids, usually ages 16 to 18 to get a feel for what it is like to be a firefighter. They get hands on training, a state firefighter number, and their training hours get logged into the system. Namely the Highview and Okolona Fire Departments have existing official explorer/junior firefighter programs implemented and active. it is unclear whether the Fairdale Fire Department, Buechel Fire Department, Fern Creek Fire Department, and the Eastwood Fire Department still have an active program.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Brief History Of Jefferson County Fire Department (2nd Edition) 1945 to 1951" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  2. ^ "Local News | The Courier-Journal |". Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  3. ^ "Middletown, Anchorage fire departments officially merge". WLKY. 2018-03-05. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  4. ^ "Middletown and Anchorage complete merger of fire districts". WDRB. 2018-03-05. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  5. ^ "Merger planned for McMahan and Jeffersontown Fire Protection Districts". WDRB. 2018-04-12. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  6. ^ "McMahan Fire District". McMahan Fire District. 2017-07-31. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  7. ^ "An Executive Order To Merge The Lyndon Fire Protection District With The St. Matthews Fire Protection District To Be Known As The St. Matthews Fire Protection District" (PDF). Louisville Metro Government. 2018-06-28. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  8. ^ "department website home page". St, Matthews Fire Protection District. 2018. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  9. ^ "4 east Louisville fire departments will now merge into 1". WLKY. 2019-04-17. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  10. ^ "Jefferson County". KentuckyFireTrucks. 2015-08-01. Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  11. ^ a b "Jefferson County (KY) - The RadioReference Wiki". Retrieved 2016-10-09.
  12. ^ "Special Teams". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  13. ^ a b "Jefferson County Fire Service Special Teams - KentuckyFireTrucks". Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  14. ^ "Jefferson County Hazmat Team". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  15. ^ "Jefferson County Special Operations Command". Retrieved 2016-11-11.
  16. ^ "Fairdale High School Fire Academy - KentuckyFireTrucks". Retrieved 2016-11-20.
  17. ^ - Fairdale High School Fire Academy - Fairdale High School Fire Academy Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2018-03-07. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ - NEPVFF - NEPVFF Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 2018-03-07. Missing or empty |title= (help)