A fire station is a building that houses the fire engines, ladder trucks, rescue vehicles and other equipment that firefighters use in their work. They can be located on land or a water tank. They can be located in a residential or industrial location.
They have to accommodate a variety of functions, including housing, recreation, administration, training, community education, equipment and vehicle storage, and hazardous materials storage. Depending on the type of function, they may also have to meet special needs, such as housing ambulances and providing a place for community outreach programs.
Volunteer fire departments first arose in the 1600s, when Dutch colonists formed groups that would respond to small fires and emergencies. They were later replaced by paid firefighters in the 19th century. The organization of the New York City Fire Department began in 1865, when the Metropolitan Fire District was created to cover Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Its members were paid based on their rank or grade and worked a continuous tour of duty. They were allowed three hours a day off for meals and one day off a month.
The FDNY is the largest fire department in the world, with over 11,400 uniformed personnel under its command. Its primary mission is firefighting, but it also provides emergency medical services (EMS), hazardous materials mitigation, technical rescue, and other responses.
In addition to the FDNY, nine volunteer fire departments are also located across the city and sometimes provide emergency assistance in times of need. These organizations have the advantage of being fully trained and operational with their apparatus, and often respond first or alongside FDNY as appropriate.
They are usually located in areas where they can be readily accessible, as well as near the areas they serve. For example, a station with aircraft rescue firefighting (ARFF) or hazardous materials response teams is often located adjacent to the airport or in areas where there are likely spills.
These stations must also have space for the maintenance and repair of their equipment. They may have a central garage, bays for firefighting and emergency response vehicles, and specialized industrial and administrative spaces.
Generally speaking, the apparatus bays, administrative and training spaces and residential areas are all separated from each other, with a few exceptions. This allows for good ventilation of the industrial areas, while ensuring that clean spaces are kept free of contaminants.
For example, if a firefighter needs to use the SCBA while on scene, they can do so in a clean room that does not contain asbestos or other contaminants. This can help prevent cross contamination and protect the safety of firefighters.
Dorm rooms are another important area of concern, especially for career firefighters. These rooms provide a sleeping area and a place for each firefighter to keep personal belongings. Some fire stations offer separate dorms for each crew or shift, while others allow firefighters to share dorms with other crews.
The dorm rooms at a particular fire station should be designed to promote quality of life and to ensure that the firefighter’s response times can be met, especially during overnight shifts. These rooms are also usually designed to encourage interaction between staff and firefighters.