A fire station is a structure that serves as storage for firefighting vehicles, personal protective equipment, hoses, and other related supplies. In addition, it often contains living and working spaces for firefighters, as well as administrative and training areas. The design of a fire station can vary widely depending on the specific needs of the department, but many have certain basic features.
Fire stations are typically located in locations that allow them to be reached within a reasonable response time. They may also be situated near possible spill sites or areas requiring fire protection due to hazardous materials. The facility may also be designed to accommodate other types of emergency response teams. For example, airport rescue and firefighting (ARFF) stations are often located adjacent to runways, while those focusing on hazardous waste may be placed near potential spill sites.
Some fire stations are occupied full-time by career firefighters. These stations will usually have dormitories that are used for sleeping during the night shift. In these cases, the firefighter will be called to the station by sirens or pagers when an emergency call is received. The firefighter will then prepare to depart for the scene by putting on their uniform and getting in their vehicle.
In areas where the fire department uses vehicles for emergency response, there are often large bays at each station for storing these apparatuses. These spaces are also sometimes used for vehicle maintenance and training. The design of the apparatus bay may be tailored to the type of apparatus that will be stored there. For instance, a vehicle bay for helicopters might have special provisions to accommodate the larger dimensions of these aircraft.
The design of a fire station often includes a day room for kitchen, dining, and living space. This area may be separated into subspaces for each function, or the design might be more open to encourage interaction between different users. In many cases, the dining space will double as a training or meeting room.
While the majority of a fire station is used by trained emergency responders, some are visited by members of the public for tours. This is especially common in cities that have a long history of volunteer firefighting, and the FDNY is no exception. The popular television series Rescue Me, which ran from 2004 to 2011, featured the fictional life of a firehouse crew in New York City. Elmo, the Sesame Street character, pays a visit to Engine Company 58 and Ladder Company 26 at Hooper’s Store in the 2002 movie Elmo Visits the Firehouse. A variety of books about FDNY life are also available.