Fire stations are buildings or other areas that house firefighting apparatus and equipment as well as working and living spaces for firefighters and support staff. A fire station also provides facilities for training and maintenance of the apparatus and equipment. The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) operates 24 firehouses throughout the city. The most famous of these is Station 8 in Manhattan, which appears twice in the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters.
The FDNY responds to many different types of emergencies. These include building fires, hazardous materials incidents, medical emergencies, hydrant issues, train or subway accidents, fire boat emergencies on the water, high-angle rescues, confined space rescues and many others.
To report a fire or other emergency, a civilian can call the FDNY’s fire alarm central office by dialing either 9-1-1 or a special seven-digit number published in each borough for this purpose. The latter option allows the caller to reach firefighters directly, whereas the former routed the call to fire alarm dispatchers in the proper borough’s communications office.
When a fire alarm is received by the FDNY, it may be categorized as either a Class A or a Class B fire. The fire classification refers to the type of hazard involved and determines which firefighters, trucks and equipment are sent to the scene. Firefighters must follow strict procedures when responding to each category.
Firefighting equipment that is typically housed in a firehouse includes engines, ladders and fireboats. Firehouses are also often equipped with a fire-fighting foam system and water tanks.
In addition to firefighting equipment, a firehouse is usually equipped with a kitchen and dining area, showers and toilets, sleeping quarters, administrative offices and other rooms. The kitchen is where food for firefighters and other personnel is prepared during a shift. It also contains a refrigerator and freezer for keeping perishables cold.
An important part of a firehouse is its voice communication system, which allows two-way communications between the fire command center and any location in a structure where telephone jacks or handsets are installed. Such locations include entries into stairwells on each floor, standby and emergency power rooms, service elevator machine rooms and passenger and freight elevator cars.
Other equipment that is frequently stored in a firehouse includes a brush unit, which has specialized vehicles that are used to fight brush fires and other types of wildfires. It can also be used for assisting with rescuing people from natural disasters, such as floods and tornadoes.