Message from the Chief
Welcome to the Village of Midlothian website. As the fire chief, I take pride in our employees as they carry out our mission: to serve the public and safeguard the community from the impact of fire, medical and environmental emergencies through education, emergency services and enforcement.
Our fire department strives towards attributes such as Honor, Courage, Pride and Duty. We take each of these attributes seriously. We believe that serving the community is an honor and we hold ourselves to the highest standards. We take pride in our professionalism, whether we're utilizing our training or offering a simple gesture of comfort to those we serve. We understand that our service is our duty to our community and that we carry it out in the finest tradition of the fire service.
Information in the fire department portion of this website has been designed to help you learn more about how our department operates, how to prevent fires and hot to protect your family. We hope that you will find it easy to use and the information beneficial. Please let us know if you have any further questions or suggestions to improve it.
Stephen M. Hotwagner, Fire Chief
- What responsibilities do firefighters have other than fighting fires?
Firefighting actually represents a relatively small portion of the work of a typical fire department in today’s world. The number of residential and commercial fires has steadily decreased over the years due to a variety of factors, including improvements in construction, a greater public awareness of the risk factors leading to fires, and a significant reduction in smoking nationwide. Fires, however, are only some of the emergencies to which the Midlothian Fire Department responds. The majority of the Fire Department’s emergency responses are, in fact, for calls for medical aid, including illnesses / accidents at home and work, injuries resulting from vehicle accidents, and other medical trauma in Midlothian. Other calls for emergency response involve hazardous materials releases, response to fire alarms, and other calls for public assistance. Firefighters also spend quite a bit of time maintaining equipment, doing routine public safety inspections for businesses, training for all types of emergency responses, and filling out the reports and paperwork associated with these activities.
- Why does the Fire Department bring the fire engine just for a simple inspection?
The Fire Department brings the fire engine for two reasons. First, these inspections are conducted by on-duty engine companies that must be ready to respond to an emergency call from the field. This is why you almost always see the personnel together as a crew with the fire engine out with them when they are out of the fire station. Second, an important part of the value of the public safety inspection is to familiarize your local firefighters with the buildings and businesses in Midlothian. While they check for hazards and consult with business owners on how best to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of a fire, they also familiarize themselves with access points and the layout of the facility.
- Why did you chop that big hole in my roof? The fire was in the kitchen, not the attic!
During a fully involved structure fire, temperatures inside a structure are often 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. By cutting a hole in the roof and ventilating the building, the heat is allowed to escape through the roof, thereby making it safer for firefighters to enter the building and apply water directly on the fire. This extinguishing strategy is key to stopping a structure fire quickly, and actually helps minimize damage to other rooms.