A fire station is the home of the local fire department’s personnel and apparatus. It houses the station chief, deputy chiefs, and on-duty fire marshal and includes a training room for firefighters, a centralized command center and an auxiliary building to park reserve apparatus.
An important function of the fire station is to dispatch emergency calls, such as structure and car accidents. The majority of medical calls are handled by the police dispatchers, while fire alarm calls are sent to a dedicated Fire Alarm Dispatch Office (FDNY) where the call information is categorized and assigned to available fire units. Using a system of numbered boxes, each corresponding to a geographical area or specific incident type, the fire alarm office can easily identify which unit is available and assign a crew to respond to the call.
The Fire Department Headquarters (HQ) is located in a modern, well-constructed fire station designed to withstand severe winds and debris from disasters such as hurricanes. It also houses the FDNY Emergency Operations Center.
Fire stations are strategically placed throughout the city and staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Each station is a two-story brick structure with a large, stainless steel bell mounted on the front. The firehouses house the Engine Company, Ladder Company, Rescue Company and Medic Unit, as well as the administrative offices of the fire department.
In addition to the firefighting equipment, each station contains a laundry facility and kitchen, living quarters for firefighters, and office spaces. It is a fully functional, modern firehouse with all of the equipment and capabilities needed to provide a safe and effective response to all types of emergencies.
FDNY has 33 fire stations based in five battalions throughout New York City. Each station is commanded by a battalion chief and supervised by a deputy chief. Each firehouse has a garage for parking reserve vehicles, and the auxiliary buildings contain the equipment rooms and additional storage space.
Company: A group of firefighters, a company officer, and a firefighting vehicle, often the engine or ladder. A company usually works on the same shift and shares the same firefighting duties, but is not the same as a platoon or unit.
Cockloft: a structural space above ceiling and below rafters, connecting adjacent occupancies or permitting fire to spread laterally in a structure. Cocklofts are usually rated to resist fire but may be at risk of collapse under the weight of debris.
Roof sector: A crew, often a ladder company, assigned to the roof of a structure for vertical ventilation or to check rooftop-mounted equipment.
“Two-in, two-out”: A standard safety practice of having one team enter a fire building or other hazardous area while another stands by outside in case the first team needs to leave. Also known as the buddy system.
Wet down: The ceremony of pushing an old fire vehicle out and wetting down the replacement before placing it in service.
NIMS: National Incident Management System – a set of common terms and procedures for the command and control of major incidents. Developed by the federal government to standardize communications among emergency agencies.