Author Topic: How are addresses assigned to boxes?  (Read 1431 times)

Offline BK_1253

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How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« on: January 31, 2019, 01:20:26 PM »
Hey all. I've lurked here for years, but a burning question inspired me to participate. I was looking at box locations and wondered what the actual area covered by each box looks like. For instance, my old address in Brooklyn was 710 President Street, and it appears to be more or less the same distance from boxes 1251, 1253, and 1254. First, which box is that address actually in? And second, is that based on distance to the box, or does each box cover a whole (or several) blocks?

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How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« on: January 31, 2019, 01:20:26 PM »

Offline manhattan

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 12:52:53 AM »
Good question.  I've often wondered about that myself, especially outside Manhattan's grid system.

Offline 811

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 08:28:19 AM »
Before Computer, every street in the City was entered into an alphabetic card file by address, lower numbers first progressing to the highest.  Every intersecting street was marked and nearest box number noted.  The Box Number was chosen that the building address fell between. In Brooklyn if the box was exactly at that intersection it was marked bolder than if it was a block away, meaning it was the ideal one to use for telephone alarms if the address was between two.

Before these files, dispatchers just looked it up on a map.  Each borough had a large scale map, with box numbers on it. 

As CAD was introduced in the early 1970s these files were entered into file and the computer was supposed to look them up using the same method. 

Traditionally Box Locations were written with the primary (or major) street listed first as in “Box 1259 Fifth Avenue and Second Street”  A portion of the Brooklyn Box Number Map is attached.

Offline entropychaser

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 11:19:57 AM »
When I was in the Bronx CO in 1967 they were using a table top borough map perhaps four foot square with street boxes marked as noted. It took only a second to establish the address, identify the closest box, write it on a slip of paper, call the first due company while "fisting" out the signal on the Morse telegraph key. If there was a choice of boxes, the preferred box was used where the first due company would be facing the address (rather than be behind them). The map use helped identify AKA addresses, nearby incidents, the over-all borough tactical situation, and idea of how far the responding companies would have to travel. For further insight, read Fire Department Deployment Analysis.....published by the RAND corporation in1979.

Offline BK_1253

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 03:14:21 PM »
I appreciate the responses so far. Based on that, my best guess for 710 President St. would be Box 1254, 5th Av & President St, since SQ1 is first due and they'd turn down President off of 6th Av, facing the address as they headed toward the box. Am I figuring that right?

Offline 68jk09

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2019, 04:30:29 PM »
Thank You 811 excellent info as usual.

Offline entropychaser

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2019, 04:50:20 PM »
Now, it's whatever is programmed in the CAD. I was describing what was done over half a century ago when all the guys had was a brain, two eyes, and an index finger.

Offline 811

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2019, 12:51:50 PM »
In the time of bells, on a phone alarm the first due engine and truck were "tipped" with the address after three rings on the Department phone before the bells were transmitted.  The remainder of the assignment had no information other than the intersection of the Box Number being used and that's what they responded to.

Choosing the Box Number for an address, it was best to use a box at one end of the reported block.  Otherwise the additional companies may come in to a box a block away, and not ever see where the first-dues were set up.  Remember this system was set up before radio, both on the rigs and portables.

Offline BK_1253

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2019, 02:28:23 PM »
Thanks 811! So at least when the bells were used, 1254 almost definitely would've been the box. I'd love to know what the computer would say today and what the rundown would be. In the 10 or so years I lived there I saw just a handful of 3+2 responses to the block. SQ1 obviously is first due engine there, but I saw both 219 and 220 arrive second due, and both 105 and 122 arrive as first due truck. I want to say it was usually 219/105 getting in first, but not sure. Probably would depend on traffic around 6th & Flatbush. Never had a 10-75, but I guess 239 would probably be the fourth engine with 132 FAST.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2019, 02:29:56 PM by BK_1253 »

Offline JOR176

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2019, 06:07:06 PM »
If all available

Sq1-239-219-226       105-122    132F

Offline BK_1253

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2019, 08:35:39 AM »
If all available

Sq1-239-219-226       105-122    132F

Thanks JOR. That's a surprise! I never saw 239 on the block. Maybe G-man... If you don't mind, what about box 1253?

Offline JOR176

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2019, 01:01:36 PM »
AA for Box 1253    6th Ave.  & Carroll St.

Sq1-239-219-220     105-122    132F

Offline BK_1253

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Re: How are addresses assigned to boxes?
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2019, 02:30:39 PM »
Thanks again JOR, and a big thanks as well to all the members of this site for both sharing info and helping to preserve the history of FDNY through their stories, rundowns, videos, and more.