Fire Stations and What They Do

fire stations

Fire Stations (also Firehouse) house the fire apparatus and the firefighters that serve a community’s emergency response needs. Firefighters respond to a wide variety of incidents, including fires, medical emergencies, hazardous materials incidents, train or transit accidents and other incidents that require rescue, evacuation and/or hazard mitigation. They also conduct fire prevention inspections, and develop plans to protect structures from a variety of hazards.

Often, the first firefighters to arrive on scene of an incident will use a firehose or a ladder to quickly and efficiently “lay out” water supply to the fire, establishing a water stream to combat the fire, and indicating to the next fire company to come in that they have a water supply. Firefighters will also perform a primary search of the structure, looking for individuals inside to ensure their safety and that there is no one trapped.

The FDNY’s work is complex and multifaceted, requiring the highest levels of training, skill, equipment and knowledge. The city’s unique architecture and occupancies, many secluded bridges and tunnels, the subway system and large parks, wooded areas with brush fire potential, a major airport and numerous other transportation systems present special challenges to our firefighters.

Standard operating procedure, guideline or standard: The rules of a fire department, encompassing its response to various types of emergency situations, training requirements, radio procedures and other details. May include local interpretations of national standards and regulations.

NFPA: National Fire Protection Association – the association that sets standards and codes for the fire industry. Typical documents include building codes, fire fighting standards and technical data for equipment and vehicles, fire alarm systems and fire sprinklers.

Type 3 IMT: A group of firefighters from the same fire district trained to function in command and general staff positions during the first 6-12 hours at a major or complex incident. Frequently deployed at regional and national incidents.

Utility truck: A vehicle that can be manned by an engine company and is typically used to respond to non-medical calls such as water main breaks to save fuel costs of the fire engines. Some small departments also use them to respond to medical calls to cut down on the number of fire units needed at the scene.

FAST or RIC: Firefighter assist and search team or rapid intervention crew — implementations of the two-in, two-out rule for firefighter rescue; often composed of specialized personnel who have a wide range of skills and tools. NIMS: National Incident Management System is currently in the process of determining which terms will be nationally-mandated.

Detection: The act of sensing the presence of an odor, smell or sound associated with a fire, smoke, chemical release or other event. May be automatic, or manually triggered by an event sensor, or by the action of a firefighter, such as a hose handle turning on.

Ventilation profile: The overall state of airflow in a structure, taking into account the area, number and location of existing ventilation openings, any forced airflow from fans or the venturi effect of a firehose or other device, etc. This may be altered tactically, for example by opening doors or windows or adjusting fan speed to increase or decrease flow.

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