A fire station (also firehouse, fire hall, or engine house) is a structure that houses a number of firefighting apparatuses and equipment. It may also include working and living space for the firefighters and their support staff.
A large city may have multiple fire stations, with the name of the station often referring to the apparatus that is housed there, or to the company that operates it. Some small cities or towns, such as in forestry, may have only one fire station and it is called the “firehouse” or “station.”
The New York City Fire Department is responsible for responding to many different kinds of emergency incidents that can occur throughout the five boroughs of New York City. These can include structural fires, explosions, natural disasters, vehicle accidents, entrapments, confined space incidents, hazardous materials incidents, medical emergencies and transit emergencies.
There are a variety of different types of firefighting apparatus that can be housed at a fire station, including fire engines, aerial ladder trucks and rescue boats. Each type of apparatus requires a specific set of tools, equipment and facilities to function properly in the field.
Some of the specialized equipment that may be housed at a fire station includes hoses, nozzles, foam, air refueling units and water tenders. Some fire stations also house vehicle maintenance bays where they can maintain and repair their fire fighting vehicles.
Most fire stations are located in residential areas, but there are some that are located in industrial parks or in rural areas as well. This allows the stations to provide firefighting services to residents as well as commercial and industrial property owners.
Each station has a dispatcher who answers the emergency calls from the public. The dispatcher may answer the phone, radio or use a computer-generated voice to communicate with the firefighters on the scene of the incident.
The dispatcher will also have access to information about the nature of the fire or emergency, including location and extent of damage, and any hazards to the firefighters and the public that are present at the scene. This information is typically recorded on the fire ticket, and is referred to when it is requested by the supervising dispatcher.
Some fire stations also have a division chief’s unit that delivers the division chief to an incident, or a mask service unit which refills the air bottles that the firefighters use to breathe in fires. The division chief’s unit is an important tool for allowing the division chief to communicate with his crew and to command the operation at the scene.
There are numerous training drills that take place at a fire station, where the firefighters practice their skills and procedures. The station may also host fundraisers or be used for public events, such as pancake breakfasts or Fire Prevention Week.
In the US, many fire departments participate in a mutual aid agreement with other fire departments within their area. This is called “automatic aid.” The fire departments and other agencies that participate in this agreement share their resources, including equipment, to provide a better service to the public.