Fire Stations

Fire stations house the vehicles and equipment, living quarters, training facilities and other support services of a fire department. These include the headquarters (often referred to as the firehouse) and a fire hall (also known as a fire barn). Fire stations may also contain a fire control room, an apparatus maintenance bay, water supply systems, fire prevention and training facilities. A fire station is often home to an engine company and a ladder company. Each of these is usually designated by a color. Firefighters who are on the same shift are known as a watch.

Staging: Sector of a scene where resources await assignment to other sectors of the incident. It may include temporary parking, shelter, sanitation, fuel and food for firefighters waiting for their assignment.

Premises inspection: Visit to a building by fire prevention officers to identify hazards and the resources needed to deal with them. This includes determining whether a building is safe to evacuate and rescue people, including children.

Hazardous materials: Materials that may react with heat to release gases that are flammable, toxic or harmful. This also applies to hazardous waste.

Quick attack: The use of a hand line pulled from a pumper immediately upon arrival at a fire. This is done in the hope of knocking down a fire quickly, before the supply line and other aspects of the operation are fully in place.

Ladders: A piece of portable equipment used by fire fighters to get to elevated or difficult-to-reach locations. Typical ladders are either straight or articulating, depending on their use. Some are equipped with a hook for breaking windows to enter buildings.

Smoke-proof stairwell: A stairway in a building that is designed to resist the flow of smoke during evacuation or escape from a fire. It typically has fire-resistant walls, self-closing doors and positive pressure ventilation.

Box: A number assigned to a particular fire alarm call by the fire department. The term originates from the era when the fire departments of large cities had a system of telegraph boxes, with each box number corresponding to a bell that would be rung in the event of an emergency.

Retained firefighter: Part-time firefighters, often based at a fire station, who are on call to respond to emergencies and receive a salary in addition to their normal wages for regular work. Retained firefighters are common in rural areas and small towns where there is not sufficient demand for full-time firefighting personnel. They may supplement wholetime firefighters in larger towns and cities. See also probationary firefighter. Firefighter’s helmet: The headgear worn by members of a fire department while on duty. Some helmets have visors, which help to protect against flying debris and falling dust. Other models have transparent faces, so that the firefighter can monitor his or her surroundings while on scene. Some have a clear face mask for use in chemical or radiological incidents.

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