Fire Stations

fire stations

A fire station is a specialized facility that houses and supports firefighters and firefighter equipment. A typical station will accommodate housing, administrative offices, a vehicle maintenance bay and various support spaces for the apparatus. Some stations may have specialized spaces for emergency response teams such as hazardous waste or aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) teams.

Fire station design varies by department and by facility type. For example, aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) stations are often located adjacent to airport runways, while those for firefighting or hazmat crews may be situated near a potential hazardous waste spill site. Generally speaking, however, fire stations are designed to meet the specific needs of their community and are located in locations that minimize response times for firefighter personnel.

The firefighting equipment at a fire station is often organized into one or more companies led by a company officer. Each company may also be assigned a specific operational function such as fire ground command or roof sector. During an incident, a company officer is usually responsible for ensuring that all members of his or her team are aware of and familiar with the operation at hand.

An important feature of many fire stations is a smoke-proof stairwell with self-closing doors that can be sealed to prevent the entry of smoke and fumes during an evacuation of occupants from a building. These stairwells typically utilize positive pressure ventilation and a round orifice to direct a steady stream of pressurized air into the stairwell, which helps reduce smoke inhalation by firefighters.

Training is a key aspect of the work done at a fire station. Many departments offer academies to recruit and train firefighter candidates, as well as on-the-job-training programs for new firefighters. These programs are designed to ensure that all firefighters have a common base of knowledge and skills that they can draw upon when responding to incidents.

In the past, many firehouses used hand tubs, which required firefighters to manually pump water from a spigot in the floor of the fire engine. The modern fire engine has a hose that provides water through a spray nozzle. In addition to training and practice with the gear, many firefighters also attend classes for firefighting safety and related topics.

Firefighter jargon can be highly idiosyncratic and often differs from department to department, region to region and even between firehouses. Some terms are more universal, however, such as the term “plug” to refer to a fire hydrant. This carries over from the days when hydrants were actually plugged with wooden plugs to prevent them from accidentally being used.

The typical firefighter works two 24-hour shifts in a row, with three days off. Most firefighters are assigned to either a night or day tour, and will swap tours with a partner at the end of each shift. These swaps are called mutuals. In general, firefighters are paid on a salary basis rather than by the hour.

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