Fire Stations

A fire station (also called a fire hall, firehouse or firefighters’ hall) is where fire engines and other firefighting equipment are stored. A fire station may also house full-time fire fighters in living quarters.

Fire stations vary in design depending on the types of emergencies that they are staffed to respond to. For example, aircraft rescue firefighting (ARFF) stations are located adjacent to airport runways and hazardous waste response teams are usually situated near potential spill sites. However, most stations will at a minimum have a garage for housing the fire fighting vehicles. The garage will include a heavy-duty vehicle maintenance bay, with a heavy-duty lift and all utility connections required for vehicle maintenance. The facility will also likely have administrative areas for standard office spaces as well as specialized areas such as computer training/testing facilities, training rooms and an incident command center.

If the fire station is staffed by full-time career firefighters, it will also have living areas for those who are on duty during the night. These will contain beds for the career firefighters to sleep while they wait for a call. In addition, the fire station will have a kitchen for them to prepare meals. Some firefighters will cook their own meals; others, such as rookies on probation, will be assigned to help with cooking duties.

Some older fire stations were built with the living quarters above the garage. This is an advantage in a crowded city, as the firefighters can quickly slide down a pole from their living area to their fire engine to go out on a call. However, many modern fire stations have the living quarters on the same level as the garage.

Many large cities have a numbering system for their fire stations. These are usually designated based on the primary fire company and the apparatus that is housed at each location. For instance, one of the primary fire companies in New York City is Engine Co. 49, which houses a fire engine and ladder truck. In some smaller communities, fire stations are numbered based on their original establishment. For instance, in a city with only eight fire stations, the first seven might be Engine 1, 2, 3, etc.

Some of the other activities that take place at a fire station include daily inspections and cleaning of the firefighting equipment, training drills for firefighters and other emergency personnel as well as educational community outreach programs. In addition, some of the fire companies will hold fundraisers at their fire stations to raise money for fire prevention and other public safety projects. In addition, the firehouse is often used for community events such as a neighborhood block party or holiday celebration. The fire station is also the home base for many volunteer organizations such as the “firemen’s association”, “fire buffs” and the “fire auxiliary”. Many of these groups are responsible for hosting a variety of special fire prevention related events and public education.

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