A fire station is a building or area where the city or county stores its firefighting apparatus and personal protective equipment, often in conjunction with living space for firefighters. Some fire stations have offices, conference rooms, training facilities, and dining areas.
The design and architecture of fire stations vary from place to place and from department to department. Whether it is a single story or multi-story structure, fire stations are typically designed to maximize the efficiency of responding to emergency situations with minimum disruption to the neighborhood.
Many stations have a garage for storing fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. These are usually located along major streets or near other critical infrastructure and should have signage posted to alert traffic when the station is closed for routine maintenance, such as washing firefighting vehicles.
In large cities, fire stations are named after the primary fire company or apparatus housed in the station, such as Engine 18 for the New York City Fire Department (FDNY). In smaller and rural communities, a fire station may be named for the town or district it serves.
Some fire departments operate volunteer fire companies, which are independent organizations governed by local volunteers. These firefighters are supervised and trained by the department’s career personnel.
These volunteer fire companies have their own board of directors and command structure, but are able to work side-by-side with career personnel at emergency scenes, and all work under a common set of operating procedures. Baltimore County provides millions of dollars worth of financial support to its 29 volunteer fire companies each year.
Each fire station has a designated area for storing firefighting apparatus, including engines, ladder trucks, and hoses. These are called “bays.” Some stations also include a kitchen and living quarters for the firefighters, which can be separated into separate areas.
Dorm rooms are another area that can be found in many fire stations. These rooms are often a place for the firefighters to sleep during their shifts, and can be separated into individual spaces that function as dormitories or shared living space.
The layout of dorm rooms can be complex and varied depending on the fire department and station. Some dorms are designed to function as bunk beds and a desk, while others are designed to function as a full apartment with a kitchenette and dining room.
A dorm room can provide firefighters with a bed, desk, and lockers. The design of dorm rooms can differ from one fire department to the next, but should be arranged to allow for adequate response times, and should not interfere with access to the station.
Fire trucks are the most common type of vehicle that is assigned to a fire station. These vehicles are designed to handle a wide range of emergencies from simple fires to major accidents and even hazardous materials situations.
These trucks have a toolbox onboard that carries equipment for extrication, firefighting and rescue operations. They also carry water, which can be used to put out most fires.