What Is a Fire Station?

A fire station is a building where firefighters and fire trucks or fire engines are housed when not responding to an emergency call. These buildings are usually very large and can have a garage, office space, sleeping quarters and meeting rooms. They also provide vehicle maintenance bays, administration areas and specialized training spaces. Many cities have a minimum of one fire station for every 10,000 people. Some have several, especially larger cities. Fire stations are often located in central locations to ensure firefighters can reach an emergency situation within a reasonable amount of time.

The FDNY, the Fire Department of New York City, operates approximately 218 firehouses throughout all five boroughs of New York City. There are engine (truck) companies, ladder (truck) companies, rescue companies, squads and EMS units that each operate out of the firehouses.

Each company specializes in certain firefighting and emergency response skills and works under the command of a battalion chief. In addition to firefighting and emergency medical services, the FDNY places a strong emphasis on community safety and education through outreach programs.

Firefighters typically work alternating 24-hour shifts and live at the firehouse while on duty. The sleeping quarters are typically located above the garage in two story buildings. During a shift, firefighters are able to access the garage via a pole or slide should an alarm sound.

Most firefighters will also sleep in their own homes during off-shifts or weekends. The sleeping quarters in a fire station have beds, lockers and a day room/kitchen. During emergencies, firefighters can live in the firehouses for extended periods of time, depending on the incident.

A fire station is a complex facility with many different functions and a wide range of requirements. It has to be able to accommodate the needs of firefighters and the public in order to be successful. This means that the fire station must be able to serve as an administrative hub for the FDNY while providing industrial maintenance spaces and residential living space.

In the event that a fire station goes up in flames, firefighters will obviously be extremely embarrassed. They will likely be questioned about what happened and why the fire started. However, a fire station going up in flames is not common.

The majority of emergency responses to a fire station are for medical assistance and fire alarms. Many of these calls are for ambulances, and are handled by the Fire Department paramedics on the fire department’s ambulances. Fires are only about 5% of all emergency responses, and most are from natural causes such as a structure or lawn fire or caused by accidental discharge of fireworks. Typically, the fire department responds to these calls within six minutes of receiving a call. The longer the distance between the fire station and the emergency site, the more difficult it is for the firefighters to get there and respond quickly. In these cases, other stations from neighboring districts will be called to help.

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