Emergency Response

Unfortunately, even in a perfect world and the best prevention efforts, emergencies still continue to occur. The department maintains a force of personnel to deal with this reality. This ready force, when not fighting fires or related activities, actively participate in prevention efforts through In-Service Inspections and other types of specific inspections as needed as part of their normal shift duties. The ability and effectiveness of the department to provide emergency response is based upon 3 critical, interrelated components: Notification, Response, and Resources.

Latest Rive Forecast Information

For the latest River Forecast information, please visit the National Weather Service's Northeast River Forecast Center page.


Time is critical. Prompt notification provides the best opportunity for the successful protection of life and property. The longer a situation goes undetected, be it a fire, medical, environmental, or rescue emergency, the worse it gets, the more costly it becomes to resolve and the greater the potential for life and property loss.


Time is critical. Prompt notification is of questionable value without a quick response. Quick response minimizes the additional deterioration of a life and/or property threat, once notification has been made. Response time is impacted by time of day, day of the week, weather conditions, traffic conditions, and station locations.

Department response is facilitated by the number and location of our existing stations. Three stations; Station 1 (59% of all calls) in the center of the City, Station 2 in West Lebanon (37% of all calls) and Station 3 in Mascoma (4% of all calls) provide the bases from which the Department operates. Station 1 has both career and paid on call (call) firefighters. Stations 2 and 3 have call firefighters.

Department response is a 2-tiered system on-duty force of career firefighters augmented when necessary by call and off-duty career firefighters. On-duty career firefighters immediately respond with minimal time loss. Call and off-duty career firefighters' response is hampered by the fact that they are at their homes or places of work which create delays. For initial response during normal weekday work hours, there are few, if any call members available.

Response Time - Variation

Response time, from time of notification to arrival on-scene, varies from 3.5 to over 15 minutes, depending upon the location of the emergency, the location of our resources at the time of notification, and availability of them.

There is a direct correlation between time of response and calls for service. Typically, long response times occur in areas of the City where few calls originate.

In areas of the City where there is a long response time, with a higher call volume, automatic mutual aid agreements are in place. An example of this is the agreement between Hanover Fire Department and the Lebanon Fire Department. Hanover automatically responds to reported fires to the north end of Route 10 in West Lebanon, while Lebanon automatically responds to the Blueberry Hill location of Hanover for reported fires. This is an equal exchange of services for both communities. These are classic examples of fire service risk management.


Prompt notification and quick response will be effective only if the response is appropriate for the particular threat. Each type of life and/or property threat requires resources specific to that threat. Fire department apparatus are toolboxes, transporting the best combination of human and equipment resources to a particular threat. Just as a carpenter has many tools to ply his trade and has them with him or her when working, the firefighters have their tools and keep them with them when working. Continuing the analogy to a different level, a carpenter, electrician, mechanic and painter each have different vehicles. Likewise, the department has pumpers, rescues, ladders and support vehicles to meet the different threats to our City.

Trained Personnel

The arrival of a sufficient quantity of personnel, trained to meet the specific life and/or property threat assures the best possible outcome while minimizing the potential for creating additional dangers. The department currently has 19 career and 27 call firefighters. A 24-hour-a-day on-duty force of 3.5 career firefighters (on average) is available to immediately respond. During weekdays, when additional personnel staffing is at a minimum and calls are their highest, Chief Officers from Station 1 can immediately augment the force while additional members respond to their stations.


The proper tools of sufficient quality, quantity and capability must be available for use at the location of the life and/or property threat. A specific life or property threat that is detected quickly and receives the prompt attention of personnel trained and equipped to handle that threat will result in the best possible outcome.