Fire Stations

Fire stations are the centers of a community’s emergency response system, providing a home base for fire fighting vehicles and personnel. These facilities may be full-time, part time or volunteer, depending on the size and needs of a region.

An important part of any fire department is the firefighters themselves, who are trained to deal with a variety of emergencies that might be encountered on the scene. In many countries, the fire service is a volunteer organization. In other places, the fire service is partially or fully paid. In cities, the number of emergency events is greater than in rural areas or small towns and so fire departments must be composed of full-time, trained personnel.

The fire station is also the hub of a community’s emergency services, with a communications center for responding to and dispatching resources to incidents. A fire station’s communication system will typically include a 911 call button, a manual alarm switch and a voice communication system jack. In addition to the equipment needed to handle emergencies, a fire station will often have a storage area for firefighting supplies. Fire stations often have a “dry riser” to which hoses can be attached for water supply.

A firefighting vehicle is a large truck or other vehicle equipped to carry the equipment and personnel required to address an incident. This includes a fire engine, an ambulance, a ladder truck and perhaps specialized units for dealing with hazardous materials or aircraft accidents. Fire trucks are usually manned by a driver and an engineer, who are both responsible for operating the pump and using the tools and other equipment on the truck to fight a fire or respond to other emergency calls.

Dispatchers: Personnel in a fire department’s communication system who are responsible for interpreting and dispatching resources to a call. Some larger departments use a central dispatch office to handle all their incident dispatching.

Fire retardant: A type of material or fabric that reduces the speed at which a fire spreads. Fire retardant paint is available for use in buildings, and fire-resistant furniture can be purchased.

Foam: A fire-extinguishing agent formed by mixing foam concentrate with water and allowing it to expand. It can be sprayed or injected into fire streams at adjustable concentrations.

Cockloft: a space above ceiling and below rafters connecting adjacent occupancies; the air-track of heated smoke will flow into this space and potentially ignite other flammable materials, especially in the event of a collapse.

Buffer zone: An area of 3D defensive actions to reduce the risk of ignition of ceiling-level fire gases, e.g. by closing doors to unaffected rooms, which is less extensive than a’safe-zone’.

In most communities, firefighters will conduct regular drills to ensure that they are prepared for responding to emergencies. These drills are often open to the public and can provide valuable information on fire safety for building occupants. Building occupants can also invite local fire departments to give presentations on fire safety and to conduct hands-on portable fire extinguisher training for occupants.

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