FDNY: Frequently Asked Questions


Active member
Nov 27, 2007
I've seen a lot of repeat questions asked all over on forums, youtube, etc.  So here's me attempt at a comprehensive FAQ; feel free to add anything else you want to see added/corrected.

Post 1: Fire Operations and Special Operations | Post 2: Communications and Apparatus | Post 3: History

Fire Operations

Terms and Terminology:

Q: What is BI?
A: BI (or officially BISP) stands for Building Inspection Safety Protocol.  This was implemented in 2007 following the death of 2 firefighters at the Duetsche Bank Fire, and replaced the old AFID program.  Conducted every weekday, companies go out and inspect buildings in their first due response area to gather CIDs information and inspect for violations.  When a unit is delayed due to BI it is usually because they have members inside a building and/or are responding from different parts of their area.  At around 10:15 hours and 13:15 hours each day a roll all is taken over the air in each borough to check the 10-10 (location) of all units on BI.

Q: What is the FAST truck?
A: FAST stands for Firefighter Assist and Search team.  While usually a truck company at times engines and other units can be FAST.  A FAST truck at a box stands by in case a firefighter becomes trapped, injured, etc.; they are tasked, along with the Rescue and Squad, with locating lost firefighters and removing them safely.

Q: What is MUD?
A: MUD stands for Multi-unit Drill.  Conducted every weekend, it is usually a drill excercise run by two or more houses that run 1st and 2nd due together on multiple boxes (e.g. E297, E295, L130, and TL144 in College Point/Whitestone).

Q: Primary/Secondary searches?  What do they mean?
A: Primary searches are basically a quick sweep performed by truck companies while a fire is still burning.  Secondary searches are a more careful, meticulous search after most fire has been put out for victims and extensions.

Q: What is Decon?
A: Decon, short for Decontamination, is generally used in two ways.  The more common one is used by Engine companies following EMS runs when firefighters may need to clean off blood or other bodily fluids.  The less common use is in a HazMat situation where both civilians and FDNY personnel may become contaminated by chemical agents.  In that instance decon is usually done on-scene with one of the mobile Decon Shower trucks.

Q: What is [insert building type]?
A: There are several terms used to describe buildings.  They include but are not limited to:
- Class 1: A (usually) more modern building made of fireproof material
- Class 3: A (usually) older building made of non-fireproof material
- SRO (Single-resident occupancy): A multiple dwelling with 1 occupant per room.
- OMD (Occupied Multiple Dwelling)
- PD (Private Dwelling)
- Commercial
- Mixed - Occupancy

Operations and Special Units:

For basic information on what companies do what, the FDNY has released educational videos on their website: http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/media/video/fdny-series/index.shtml

Q: What is a "Ladder Pipe Operation"?  What's a stang and a multi-versatile?
- Ladder Pipe: Aerial Ladder companies do not have a pre-piped waterway attached to the aerial.  In exterior operations tower ladders are usually used to deliver water to the fire.  However, sometimes an aerial might be located in a way that it can reach the building where a tower can't, at which point a ladder pipe is put into operation.  Ladder pipes consist of a nozzle with pre-attached length of hose, usually stored next to the aerial.  The nozzle is attacked to the tip of the ladder and the hose stretched down the aerial, thus providing a fixed elevated water distribution point.
- Stang: A stang is the term for a deck gun.  It can refer to the fixed deck gun on the engines or a portable one carried by engine cos.  Because stangs are weighted down or fixed they can be used to deliver more water than regular handlines at exterior operations.
- Multi-versatile: These are carried and supplied by the satellite companies.  A variety of lines can be supplied from 1 multi-versatile, making them useful in areas where hydrants may be limited.

Q: What is the job of a Squad company?
A: A squad responds as either an engine, truck, or special unit.  They respond as engines to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd due boxes (with the exception of Squad 1), and as a special unit on All-Hands in their response area.  Squad crews are also trained as HazMat techs and receive extensive SOC training.

Q: What is a Satellite?
A: The Satellite system actually consists of 2 parts: a 2000 gpm engine and a Satellite unit.  The Satellite carries a deck gun with changeable tips; when fed by the engine it can feed water at rates around 5000 gpm.  The Satellite rigs do not have pumps themselves; rather, they rely on the engine or a combination of engines to provide water.  The Satellite also carries extra foam, hoses, manifolds, and multi-versatiles.  The Satellite companies are E9/Satellite 1, E72/Satellite 2, E284/Satellite 3, E324/Satellite 4, E159/Satellite 5, and E207/Satellite 6.  Each Satellite also has a backup engine, these are Engs. 24, 97, 330, 291, 152, and 210.

Q: What is a Purple K Unit?
A: Purple K unit carries several pounds of dry chemical retardent which is used instead of water on certain chemical and electrical fires.  These rigs are assigned to an engine company and are staffed by members of the Engine.

Q: What is the High-Rise Unit?
A: High Rise Units are assigned to 10-76s and 2nd Alarm 10-77s citywide.  They carry equipment, lights, and generators that are used in combating high-rise building fires.  The High-Rise units are with Engs. 3 and 39, with Engs. 33 and 22 as backups.

Q: What do the High-Rise fire designations mean?
A: The high-rise designations are as follows:
- High-Rise Nozzle Engine: There are several engine companies citywide equipped with a High-Rise Nozzle, a long, bent nozzle that can be used to fight a fire via window from the floor below.  A nozzle can be seen here here stored above the hosebed of E14.  Usually the 4th-due Engine.
- CFRD Engine: Because EMS workers are not equipped with SCBA, at high rise fires an engine company is assigned to perform CFRD work on the upper floors where SCBA may be required to operate.  Usually the 5th-due Engine.
- Lobby Control Engine/Chief: A High-Rise situation can be chaotic, both with the number of residents and responders.  Lobby Control crews are responsible for maintaining the lobby, assisting residents out and keeping the lobby clear for other crews.
- Safety Officer: Works with the Safety Battalion to ensure the safety of members while operating.
- Ventilation Support Co.: A company equipped with a  large Tempest Fan.

Q: What are the Thawing Units?
A: One in each borough, the Thawing Units are staffed only in the winter time and perform a "hydrant patrol" in which they thaw out frozen hydrants.  They respond on reports of frozen hydrants at working fires, and can be special called to assist with the thawing out of hydrants, connections, and hoselines.

Q: What are the Highway Units?
A: The Highway units at L159 and L170 are used for responses on the Belt Parkway.  They carry a compliment of truck tools and are used to access stretches of the Belt where weight requirements on the bridges do not permit a regular ladder apparatus.

Q: What are the RAC Units?
A: "RAC" stands for Recuperation and Care (or Rehab and Comfort depending who you ask).  One is assigned on all incidents of All-Hands or greater.  They carry a variety of replenishing fluids to supplement the cooler tanks carried by companies and provide a place for firefighters to take a breather during an operation, and are staffed by a single light-duty firefighter.

Q: What exactly is "The Rock"?
A: The Rock is the FDNY Training Academy on Randall's Island, located between the Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan.  New firefighters receive basic training here, companies conduct drills here, and several SOC and HazMat units are quartered here.  The Rock is also home to Chauffeur Training School (CTS) where firefighters train to operate the rigs.  Oftentimes brand-new rigs will go to CTS before being sent to companies so that newer trainees could become familiar with them.  Unused rigs that are not kept as spares or reserve companies are usually assigned to the Rock.

Special Operations Command
Q: What is SOC?
A: SOC stands for Special Operations Command.  The Rescues, Squads, HazMat Units, and a variety of other specialized units fall under this Division.

Q: What are the various SOC companies?
A: There are a variety of units marked "SOC."  The most common ones are:
- SOC Logistics Van: Basically assigned to assist with logistics at operations, carries extra supplies such as lights and batteries
- SOC Compressor Unit: This unit carries a large air compressor.
- SOC Dewatering Unit: A combination of the Dewatering Support Unit and a Tactical Support Unit, this company carries a dewatering pump to supplement those carried by engine companies for water removal operations.
- SOC Scuba Van: Technically a training unit now since all the Rescues are scuba-trained, this unit carries equipment and personnel for dive rescues as needed.
- SOC Decon: A decon unit similar to those quartered citywide.
- SOC Collapse POD: This is a combination company.  The first part is the POD (Point-of-distribution) carrier; there are two of these, one at the Rock and the other on SI.  The second part are the collapse PODs located throughout the city.  Each POD can be loaded onto the carrier (a la dumpster style) and transported as needed.
- SOC Battalion (Rescue Battalion)
- HazMat Battalion
- Marine Battalion

Q: What are the Collapse Rescue Units?
A: The Collapse Rescue Unit actually consists of 2 parts: the Rescue Company, and the Collapse Rig.  The Collapse unit responds to reports of collapses and 10-60s in the response area of the Rescue and carry a variety of planks and tools used for shoring up buildings.  Collapse Rescues 1, 2, and 4 are quartered with SOC Support Trucks (L25, L132, L116) that respond with them and assist with collapse operations.  CR3 and 5 are quartered with the Rescues.  The backups for the CR units are TL14, TL131, L27, TL116, and E160/TL79.

Q: What is the Squad 1 TRV?
A: Squad 1 TRV is a holdover from Squad 1's early days, following the disbandment of the original squads.  When Squad 1 was the first squad (and for decades the only squad) reformed, they were given the Technical Response Vehicle as a citywide special operations unit.  To this day they continue to respond with the TRV on all 10-60s citywide.  The TRV carries technical rescue equipment on one side and HazTec equipment (like those carried by the other squads) on the other.

Q: What are the Tactical Support Units?
A: The TSUs carry a variety of equipment not normally carried by the Rescues, Squads, and SSLs such as a generator, raft, crane, and Spotlights.  They respond to all 2nd alarms and special rescues citywide.  There are two TSUs, TSU1 on Roosevelt Island/The Rock and TSU2 on Staten Island.

Q: What is a SOC Support Ladder?
A: The SSLs consist of two pieces: the ladder company and a second supply truck.  SSLs carry a variety of tools not normally carried by trucks that may come in handy in a special operation, including extra rescue tools.  At least 2 SSLs are required to respond on a 10-60.  At times when Rescue and Squad companies are busy an SSL may be assigned instead.  A list of SSLs can be found here: http://nycfire.net/fdny/soc_truck

Q: What is a Chemical Protective Clothing Ladder?
A: A CPC truck consists of two pieces: the ladder company and a second supply truck.  CPC companies carry chemical suits used to mitigate HazMat situations, primarily for decon.  They are not the same as the ones carried by the HazMat companies.  A list of CPC units can be found here: http://nycfire.net/fdny/hazmat/cpc

Q: What's the difference between HazTec and HazMat?
A: The main difference is degree of severity.  A HazTec incident is usually a smaller hazardous material spill or leak.  The city's Squads, as well as Engs 44, 165, 250, 274, and Rescue 5 are trained in HazTec operations and have a second piece for handling such incidents.  HazMat incidents are usually larger, either in size or danger depending on the chemicals (e.g. an oil tanker leak that cannot be containe by HazTec).  These incidents bring HazMat 1 and the HazMat Battalion.

Q: What's a Decon Task Force?
A: There are two kinds of DTFs, the Technical Task Force and the Mass Task Force.  Technical Task force consists of a SOC Support Truck, the engine housed with it, and the Battalion Chief for that house.  A list of TDTF can be found here: http://nycfire.net/fdny/hazmat/decon_tf .  The MDTF by comparison consists of 1 Battalion, 2 engines, 1 CPC Tower Ladder, 2 SOC Support Trucks for gross decon of multiple victims.

Q: What's the difference between Marine 1 and Marine 1 Alpha?
A: There are two kinds of fire boats used by the city: the large, standard fireboat and a smaller attack craft.  The large boats, Marines 1, 6, and 9, have several deck guns capable of pumping out massive amounts of water at high pressure.  They are staffed full-time and respond normally assigned on all marine incidents and a majority of waterside boxes.  The smaller, faster attack boats may be staffed by as little as 2 firefighters, and only have 1 or 2 deck gun(s).  Several of them are seasonal companies that are only staffed at certain times of day, such as Marines 3 and 4.  Marine 1 and Marine 1A is a combination company, with Marine 1 being the main ship and Marine 1A being a fast attack boat.  When Marine 1 receives a box, the members will determine which boat is appropriate.

Q: Why do Marines 3, 4, and 8 go "10-9" at night?
A: These three "light" boats are only in service from 0700 hours to 2300 hours daily, from late spring to early fall.

Q: What is the Command Tactical Unit?
A: Operating out of FD Operations Headquarters at 9 Metrotech in Brooklyn, the CTU is basically a mobile camera van.  Staffed by 1 officer and 1 firefighter, it has a variety of wireless and satellite linked cameras, both portable and mounted, that could be set up to provide live video to the vehicle's interior monitors as well as to portable computers that can be set up at the command post.  They can also be streamed live to FDOC and remain in contact with FDOC to provide both Operations and the Incident Commander with updated information from multiple angles of the operation, providing both with live video of what was previously only conveyed through radio messages.

Also see the main site: http://nycfire.net/node/286


Active member
Nov 27, 2007
For Dispatch-related questions I suggest checking out the following pages:

Frank Raffa's site: http://www.fdnewyork.com
Main site: http://nycfire.net/fdny/communications
FDNY VHF/EMS UHF Radio Frequencies: http://www.n2nov.net/nypd_ems.html
FDNY/EMS UHF Frequencies: http://nycfire.net/forums/index.php/topic,1289.0.html

Q: What are the "Citywide" frequencies?
A: Citywide 1, the only Citywide frequency under the older VHF broadcast frequencies, is used primarily by special operations units and staff chiefs.  This is where units located at 9 Metrotech, the Rock, or Special Operations Command @ Roosevelt Island as well as the Safety Battalion can be raised when they are available.  The department's radio mechanics, in charge of maintaining rig radios, MDTs, and sirens, are also dispatched on Citywide.  Lastly, progress reports for incidents of All-Hands or greater, special unusual incidents, and all transmissions of a 10-45 (fire-related injury) are relayed to Citywide by either the borough of incidence of the FieldCom Unit.  Citywide 2 is not yet in use.

Q: What is the difference between the VHF and UHF frequencies?  Will I hear the same thing on both?
A: FD Communications is in the process of switching over from an older VHF radio frequency to the more fine-tone and wide-broadcast UHF.  While the change occurs, all frequencies will be simulcasting on both UHF and VHF frequencies.  The most notable change for some listeners will be the separation of Staten Island and Bronx into two separate frequencies.

Q: What is a "Class 3" alarm?
A: A Class 3 alarm is a signal received from an alarm system, either via automated system or manual pull.  For example: "Class 3 Box 620 Terminal 1 for the address 425 East 25 St for an ASA automatic alarm" means that an automated signal was received from the ASA company for Box 620 from fire station terminal 1.

Q: What is a class E, J, etc. alarm?
A: Under national standards fire alarm systems fall under various classes, labeled by alphabet.  Two of the more common ones in NYC are Class E and J.  Alarm types are separated by a variety of factors including: sprinklers, automatic responses, visual alerts, audio alerts, fire communications within the building, standpipes, etc.; class E for example includes full automated system including sprinklers, alarms, and light warnings.  Different alarm classes warrant different response assignments.  For example manual pull alarms receive a full 3 engine, 2 truck, Battalion response, whereas Class J alarms may be investigated by a single engine and truck with a Battalion chief monitoring.

Q: Who/what is Car [insert number]?  How do they respond?
A: The Car assignments are the designations for special personnel, either administrative or command, who are associated mainly with FD HQ.  For example, Car 36B is for the Department Chaplain.  There are certain responses, such as a third alarm or 10-60 transmission, that require the response of certain cars.  For example, multiple alarms requires the response of the on-duty staff chief (a chief at rank DAC or above).  There is a list of car assignments at: http://www.firebellclub.org/cars.html
Some Car assignments and who they are (as of November 2009):
Car 1 (Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro)
Car 1A (Executive Assistant to the Commissioner)
Car 2 (1st Deputy Commissioner Daniel Shacknai)
Car 3 (Chief of Department Edward Kilduff)
Car 4 (Chief of Fire Operations James Esposito)
Car 4A (AC James Manahan, Assistant Chief of Operations)
Car 4C (AC Ronald Spadafora, Chief of Logistics)
Car 4D (AC Joseph Pfeifer, Assistant Chief of Operations - Counterterrorism/Preparedness)
Car 4G (AC Edward Baggott, Assistant Chief of Operations - Administration)
Car 4H (DAC James Daly Jr, Deputy Assistant Chief of Operations - Planning & Strategy)
Car 5 (Chief of EMS Operations John Peruggia)
Car 6 (AC John Sudnik, Manhattan Borough Commander)
Car 7 (DAC James Leonard, Brooklyn Borough Commander)
Car 8 (DAC Michael Marrone, Staten Island Borough Commander)
Car 9 (DAC Robert Maynes, Queens Borough Commander)
Car 10 (DAC Kevin Butler, Bronx Borough Commander)
Car 11 (AC William Seelig, Chief of Special Operations Command)
Car 11A (BC Stephen J. Geraghty, Chief of Rescue Operations)
Car 11B (DC Nicholas Delre, Chief of HazMat Operations)
Car 11C (BC James Dalton, Chief of Marine Operations)
Car 12 (AC Stephen Raynis, Chief of Safety and Inspectional Services)
Car 13 (AC Thomas Jensen, Chief of Fire Prevention)
Car 13A (AC Richard Tobin, Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention)
Car 13B (DAC Joseph Woznica, DAC of Fire Prevention)
Car 14 (Chief Fire Marshal Robert Byrnes)
Car 15 (AC Thomas Galvin, Chief of Training)
Car 15A (DAC James Mooney, Chief of Fire Academy)
Car 16 (AC Robert Boyce Jr., Chief of Communications)
Car 17 (BC Michael Gala Jr., Chief of  Personnel)

Q: What is the FieldCom?  What's the difference between FieldComs 1 and 2?
A: Staffed by 2 dispatchers and a firefighter, the FieldCom unit assists with communications on the fireground and between the Incident Commander and the borough of incident.  It responds automatically on all second alarms, as well as below-grade level emergencies, high-rise incidents, and any other boxes where communications may be disrupted.  FieldCom 1 is the primary unit, FieldCom 2 is a reserve unit on a small Sprinter chassis.

Q: What are the Mobile Command Centers?  How do they differ from the Incident Management Unit?
A: The two large Mobile Command Center units are used for incident command at large-scale operations.  They facilitate communications and provides a command post for chiefs to operate from.  The smaller IMT Unit is used at major incidents for the Incident Management Team, who plot out how to progress with the operation.

Q: I heard on the air that searches are delayed due to "Collyer's Type Condition."  What does this mean?
A: The Collyer brothers were found dead in their Harlem brownstone in 1947 in what could only be described as a mini-landfill.  It took several weeks of clearing out before the decomposed body of one of the brothers was found.  The Collyer's type (or Collyer's Mansion) condition refers to an area that even under regular circumstances would be difficult to get around.

Q: What are the 10-45 codes?  How are they different from the 10-37 and 10-31 codes?
A: A 10-45 is transmitted for when a civilian is injured in a fire and requires medical assistance.  The 10-37 codes by comparison are used for any form of non-fire related medical assistance, while the 10-31 code is for any other form of civilian assistance, raging from assisting with a lockout to a stuck elevator. 
The 4 code levels of the 10-45 correspond with the EMS trauma tags:
- Code 1: Black Tag - Victim is deceased.  Does not require immediate attention
- Code 2: Red Tag- Immediate.  Victim has life-threatening injuries and requires immediate attention/transport
- Code 3: Yellow Tag- Delayed.  Victim has injuries that will require further, but not necessarily immediate, attention
- Code 4: Green Tag- Minor.  Victim is "walking wounded."  Minor injuries that can be treated on scene and do not require immediate attention.
The 4 code levels of the 10-37 correspond with victim condition:
- Code 1: Victim is deceased
- Code 2: Victim is not breathing, CPR may be required.
- Code 3: Victim is breathing with illness.
- Code 4: EMS is on scene and FD has no patient contact but may still operate (i.e. using apparatus for scene blocking)

Q: What are Queens Boxes 269 and 37, and why are they automatic 2nd alarms?
A: These are the crash boxes for JFK and LaGuardia Airport, respectively.  These can only be transmitted via manual/verbal alarms from the airport towers and are transmitted for an aircraft in distress.  Each box brings an automatic second alarm (8 engines, 4 trucks, 4 battalion chiefs, 1 division chief, tactical support unit, satellite company, Rescue, Squad, FieldCom, and a FAST company) as well as an additional Rescue, HazMat 1, HazMat Battalion, 2 additional satellites, the nearest Hosewagon (see below), the nearest Foam company, and the HazMat Battalion.  The boxes corresponding to the Airport firehouses and rendezvous points with Port Authority PD fire units.

Q: What is a staging box?
A: As its name implies, a staging box is a box transmitted for companies to respond to specific location to standby for further orders.  These can be dispatched for a variety of reasons; some examples are:
- Any 10-76 in Lower Manhattan requires staging Boxes 9031 and 9032 to be transmitted in Brooklyn for companies to standby at the bridges.
- At times of heavy fire activity in Staten Island, staging Box 400 may be transmitted for companies to stage at E160's quarters in order to ensure adequate fire protection on the island.
- An incident at Penn Station in Manhattan may be accompanied by Box 8550, which sends an engine, truck, and chief to each standby at each end of the East River Tunnel, plus a Rescue company to the Queens side.

Q: What does it mean when a Rescue or Squad is "normally assigned"?
A: Squad companies respond normally as Engine companies in their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd due areas.  For example, Squad 18 would be the 1st due engine to Box 508, but would be a Squad at Box 597 (where they are 4th due).  Rescues have their own 1st due areas, in which they'll respond 1st due to structural alarms.  For example, Rescue 1 would be assigned to reports of a structural fire at Box 912, but not to a class 3 alarm or a car fire.

Q: What does it mean when a company responds "emergency mode" or "modified response"?
A: For certain "minor" structural alarms such as reported gas leaks and automatic alarms, a full structural box is assigned.  However, only the 1st due engine and ladder respond on these calls with lights and sirens (emergency mode), while all other companies follow normal traffic regulations (modified response).  Companies may be upgraded or downgraded from/to modified response based on additional info.

Q: Who are the primary manufacturers of FDNY rigs?
A: Most engines, trucks, and rescues are made by Seagrave or Ferrara.  Chief and support vehicles are usually on Ford, Chevy, or GMC SUV or pickup chassis.  The majority of units are purchased via competitive bidding.

Q: What is the difference between a "Spare" and a "Reserve" apparatus?
A: The 25 Reserve Engine companies and 10 Reserve Trucks are fully equipped at all times and are quartered with regular companies citywide.  They are put into service on short-term basis when needed and operate as a regular company when in-service.  Spare apparatus by contrast are rigs kept at the Shops, not equipped with tools that are assigned to companies when their rigs are at the shops, usually on a long-term basis.  When a company receives a spare they must move all their tools over to the spare.  Spare units are usually identified by markings in sticker/duct-tape form, or at times not at all.  Usually a company will receive a specific type of spare based on their apparatus (i.e. rearmount to rearmount, tower to tower).

Q: What is the difference between all the engine types?
A: There are 5 main engine types in service:
- 2000/500 or 1000/500 - This is the most common, 2000 (or 1000 on older units) gallon per minute pump with a 500 gallon booster tank.
- 1000/500 HP - HP engines can be switched to High Pressure in stages, allowing them to pump at High Pressure.  Their main specialty is at High-Rise fires where the High Pressure could pump to High-Rise standpipes with more pressure than normal engines.
- 1000/750 - On Staten Island, some engines have 750 gallon booster tanks.  They are found in areas where hydrants may be fewer, such as around areas of brush.
- 2000/500 HP - Engine 8 is the only company with a 3-stage 2000 gallon per minute high pressure pump.

Q: Why are there so many different kinds of ladders in the city?
A: There are 4 main ladder types in service, each with their own benefits and drawbacks:
- 100' Rearmount aerial - The standard FDNY ladder truck.  Aerials can carry a variety of equipment and can quickly provide an exterior means of access to a fire building.
- 75' Tower Ladder - Tower Ladders offer a more stable elevated operating platform than aerials, and allow for victim removal from the exterior.  However, because of the considerably larger boom they cannot reach heights that aerials could, and the installed ladder rungs should not be used except in emergencies only.
- 95' Tower Ladder - the extra length of the 95' Tower gives it more reach, but also drastically increases the truck's length, making it harder to maneuver on narrower streets and too long for most houses.  They are thus limited to areas that truly benefit from having them.
- 100' Tillered Aerial - Tillers are few in the city but where they are assigned they are usually needed.  Because the rig is articulated and has rear-wheel drive, it can make tight turns that rearmounts and towers cannot, making them essential for tight areas such as Downtown Brooklyn and the Lower East Side.  However, the extra length and weight of the truck means that only certain houses can accommodate them.

Q: What is the ATRV?
A: ATRV 329 is a small 4x4 manifold used by members of E329 for responding to areas of Breezy Point where the streets are too narrow or too sandy for the normal engine.

Q: What is the JFK/LGA Hosewagon?
A: The hosewagons, quartered with the engine companies closest to the city's airports, are just that: wagons that carry hoses.  Due to the long stretches associated with runway incidents, a box at the airports requires the response of both a hose wagon and a Satellite company in order to get adequate hose and water/foam on an aircraft fire.  The two hosewagons are converted from the old satellites and do not carry pumps.

Q: What company makes the FDNY rig lightbars?
A: FDNY warning lights are predominantly made by Whelen or Federal Signal.

Q: What is the main FDNY siren?
A: Rigs that are 2003 or older models use a customized Federal PA300 with a foot switch that allows it to be operated like a Q siren.  2004 or newer rigs (except for a few engines) predominantly have Federal EQ2B siren.  Newer support or chief vehicles use the Federal Smartsiren.

Q: Why do FDNY chauffeurs "play" with the siren when responding instead of leaving it on wail/priority/etc.?
A: Studies have shown that mixing up the siren is more effective at moving traffic than leaving it steady.

Q: Why is the Federal Q Siren "banned"?
A: There are several reasons/theories as to why Federal Q sirens aren't allowed on FDNY rigs, including:
- Power draw of the sirens
- Noise/echo concerns in mostly high-rise environments
- warranty issues

Q: I spotted a rig at The Rock marked [insert unused number].  What's going on?
A: Most likely the rig was recently or is soon to be in a movie or television shoot.  Sometimes movies or TV shows like "Rescue Me" that involve the FDNY will use spare or training rigs for shoots.

Q: What are "The Shops"?
A: Located in Long Island City queens, the Shops are the main FDNY Maintenance Facility.  Rigs are brought here for routine maintenance as well as all repairs.  There are also several lots throughout the city were spare rigs are kept.  When a company's rig goes in to the shops for maintenance, they must transfer all their tools and hoses from their regular rig to the spare.  There are also several other shop buildings and yards, both in the LIC area and citywide, as well as contractors and dealerships in the tri-state area where work may be carried out.

Q: What are the Emergency Crews?
A: The EC units are basically roving repair vehicles.  They respond to the field when an FD rig requires field repairs or fixes at quarters, and belong to the Fleet Maintenance Division.  Other Fleet Maintenance vehicles that occasionally get called out to the field include the Tire Truck and the Fuel Truck.

Q: What is Squad 800?
A: Squad 800 is the designation of the "reserve squad company."  It operates a 1993 Seagrave 1000/500 engine that has been modified into a heavy rescue engine and is usually kept at either the Rock or on Roosevelt Island.  The rig is occasionally used as a spare squad piece.


Active member
Nov 27, 2007
For general History questions, I recommend looking up http://nyfd.com/

Q: What were the "War Years"?
A: The War Years were the busiest times in the history of the department, roughly ranging from the late 60s to the 80s (some even say the early 90s).  A combination of civil unrest, budget crisis, and deteriorating living conditions lead to an unprecedented - and unrepeated - amount of fire calls, especially in the Bronx and Brooklyn where entire city blocks burned down and All-Hands fires would be handled for by an engine and a tower ladder.  Some companies racked up over 8000 runs a year on fire calls and false alarms alone.  For some great War Years stories, see http://nycfire.net/forums/index.php/topic,3017.0.html

Q: What were the original squads?
A: Please see this thread: http://nycfire.net/forums/index.php/topic,1104.0.html

Q: What was [insert random company]-2?
A: During the War Years many companies had a second company staffed either full or part time that responded when the first piece was already out on a box.  Most of these were either disbanded or converted to other companies following the budget crisis of the 70s.

Q: What were the bell codes?
A: The bell codes were literally numeric codes that were banged out in quarters on the firehouse bell by fire communications, signaling department messages and tone outs in the days prior to department radios and voice alarms.  Some of these are still in use today, though with the exception of 5, 7, 5-7, and 6-5-2, are not often heard over the air.  A list can be found at http://www.nycfire.net/fdny/communications/bell_codes

Q: Why doesn't [insert random number] company exist?
A: Please see http://nyfd.com/history/also.html

Q: What rigs were lost on 9/11?
A: Please see http://www.fdnewyork.com/apparatus.asp

Q: What rigs were donated after 9/11?
A: A variety of Seagrave engines and trucks were either donated or paid for through donations, including (but not limited to) Engs. 6, 7, 10, L10, L118, and Squads 1 and 18.  In addition, several non-Seagrave rigs were donated including:
- Ferrarra 1000/500 Engine: assigned to E283 before being moved to the Rock.  This rig returned to Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina
- Ferrarra Equipment Truck: Used as the SOC Dewatering Unit
- American La France 1000/500 engine: initially assigned to E34, now serves on Governor's Island to minimize time spent at the shops
- American La France Walk-in Rescue: First placed into service as a spare rescue, then served as Rescue 6.  Now alternates roles.
- Mack/General Safety Walk-in Rescue: First placed into service as a spare rescue, then served as Rescue 6.  Now used as Rescue 7.
- Spartan/Luverne 1000/500 Engine: Never placed into service, used as funeral caison.
- Spartan/Luverne/Aerialscope 75' Tower Ladder: Built with an ex-1973 FDNY Mack boom.  First served at TL105, now serves as TL53 to mimimize time spent at the shops.
- E-one Tactical Vehicle: This was actually used as a demo for Squad 1 TRV prior to 9/11.  When the TRV was destroyed, this vehicle returned to the FDNY as the replacement.

Q: What is/was Rescue 6?  How about Rescue 7?
A: Rescue 6 is the designation of the "reserve rescue company."  It has been placed into service several times in recent years including after 9/11 and for a month in 2004 during the National Convention.  Officially it operates the 2002 America La France rescue apparatus donated after 9/11, although that rig is also used as a spare rescue piece.  Rescue 6 is usually quartered at L20/Division 1 in Lower Manhattan.  Rescue 7 is the designation of the fully equipped reserve rescue.


Active member
Apr 9, 2007
What do the different Classes of Fire Alarms mean? Class 3, Class E & I believe Class J


Active member
May 14, 2007
Noting the original poster's suggestion to offer changes or corrections, the following are submitted.  The original text is in quotes.

?All specialized units that are not normal engines, trucks, etc., fall under SOC?.

The following special units are not SOC components:  Mask Service Unit, Field Comm 1 and 2, Mobile Command Centers 1 and 2, Command Tactical Unit, Fire Scene Unit, Mobile Operations Center, High-Rise Units 1 and 2, IMT Planning Vehicle, FDR Drive Response vehicle, two ATV/MARC movers, three Hose Wagon/ATRV units, five Thawing units, six Purple-K units, eight Brush Fire units, ten Foam Carriers, and the Foam Tender.

?The Satellite carries a deck gun with changeable tips; when fed by the engine it can pump water at rates around 7000+ gpm?

The IntelliGiant monitor on the satellite wagons is rated at 5250 GPM with the largest (four-inch) tip at 150 psi.  The satellite wagons have no pumps.

?Purple K unit carries several gallons of chemical retardent?

The six Purple K units are intended to carry 1000 pounds of a commercial dry chemical made by the Amerex Corp.  A realistic load is about 750 pounds.

?CPC companies carry additional chemical suits in the event that those carried by HazMat 1 and the Haztec companies isn't enough for a hazmat incident.?

The CPC role is primarily defensive with emphasis on search, rescue, removal, and decon of civilians and emergency responders.  Their protective gear is tailored to their specific needs, and does not supplement that of the mitigation/offensive-oriented Hazmat and Hazmat Technician units.

?FDR 1 and 2 are a pair of Ford supply wagons with a small tank and pump.  There are two such rigs, one staffed by E16 and the other by E22.??

Only one FDR response vehicle is in service, at Engine 22.



Well-known member
Dec 7, 2007
catry - Thanks for the time and effort you've put into this; it's really great.

A few more questions:

1. How, where and when are apparatus refueled?  Do any firehouses have their own diesel pumps?

2. I know the differences among building types (Class 1 and Class 3), but why isn't there a Class 2?

2. A.  Are these classifications related to NYC Department of Buildings' classifications or were they developed by FD?

3.  Same question for alarm classes:  there's a "Class 3" but no Class 1 or 2;  Classes "E" and "J", but what about "A" through "D" and "F" through "I"?




Active member
Nov 27, 2007
I'll answer these here since they're not entirely that frequently asked:
1. Most houses have their own pumps and are refueled in quarters.
2. I'm not versed in Building Code but I think there is a Class 2, it is just really uncommon in the city.  And these codes and the DoB's classifications are both based on national standards.
3. Likewise I'm not versed in alarm types, but I believe (someone correct me if I'm wrong) these classifications are NFPA standards.  Class 3, E, and J are just the most common ones in the city, I'm sure there's more.


Aug 16, 2007
Building classes:
  • Class 1 = Fireproof construction
  • Class 2 = Fire protected construction
  • Class 3 = Non-fireproof construction (also referred to as NFP)
  • Class 4 = Wood frame consruction
  • Class 5 = Metal construction
  • Class 6 = Heavy timber construction

Class 3 alarms are those received from a central station monitoring company. I don't know how or why we started using this term but it dates back at least 35 years, probably longer.

I was told that Class E and J alarms take their name from a building classification code unrelated to those I listed above. I don't know whose code it is though.


Feb 27, 2007
Most of the firehouses have a diesel pump in there quarters.  i knoow my dads house E92 L44 BN17 have them on both side of the apparatus floor


New member
Jun 25, 2008
fdnyrules92 said:
Hey All, My name is James... my dad is on the job he works at  Engine 92 Ladder 44 Battalion 17, hes been on the job for 35 years.  my grandfather(dads father) was in squad 1 and a lieutenant in south jamaca in the 70's and 80's.he retired with 40 years on the job my dad used to take me to work with him from 96 til like 04 and i loved it. i had my own bunker gear and i used to put out car and rubbish fires. ive seen a lot of crazy shit.....engine 82 ladder 31 quarters go up in flames..i was there when Don Franklin L44 was killed in 2001 .  god bless his family. i have a long lasting love for theFDNY i want it so bad... ever since the day i stepped foot in his quarters. i was told by my dads friend who is  a lt. in engine 5. that its easier to get certified and become an emt and take the promotional test. i want to know how i can and if i can get CFR-D right now. because the next test "supposidely" is in 2011 and i wanna be ready at all costs.
did you get your own bunker gear and ride the rig when you have to be 21 and why dident he get a pension after 20 years working for 40 to 35 years answer me thoes and ill help you out

p.s. vouleenter at your local fire department than take the firefighter 1 and 2 test then you will take the medic class and there you go


Apr 9, 2007
FDNYE54 said:
fdnyrules92 said:
Hey All, My name is James... my dad is on the job he works at  Engine 92 Ladder 44 Battalion 17, hes been on the job for 35 years.  my grandfather(dads father) was in squad 1 and a lieutenant in south jamaca in the 70's and 80's.he retired with 40 years on the job my dad used to take me to work with him from 96 til like 04 and i loved it. i had my own bunker gear and i used to put out car and rubbish fires. ive seen a lot of crazy shit.....engine 82 ladder 31 quarters go up in flames..i was there when Don Franklin L44 was killed in 2001 .  god bless his family. i have a long lasting love for theFDNY i want it so bad... ever since the day i stepped foot in his quarters. i was told by my dads friend who is  a lt. in engine 5. that its easier to get certified and become an emt and take the promotional test. i want to know how i can and if i can get CFR-D right now. because the next test "supposidely" is in 2011 and i wanna be ready at all costs.
first of all how the hell did you get your own bunker gear and ride the rig when you have to be 21 and second you get a pension after 20 years so how could he be working 40 years and 35 answer me thoes and ill answer your question

p.s. vouleenter at your local fire department than take the firefighter 1 and 2 test then you will take the medic class and there you go

Before you start running off at the mouth attacking people read this about 3/4's down........  http://www.ufanyc.org/cms/contents/view/868#19.

Yes, you get a pension after 20 years but to get that pension you have to retire first. Working past your 20 years gives you a bigger pension. Guys come on this job and forget that they have been around so long that the department is telling them it's time for them to get out. In the civilian world most people can't wait for fridays to come and count down the days till the can retire. Here we can't wait to go back to work.

Mandatory retirement in NYC is either 62 or 65 years old.  So as you can see if you went to the link 42 YEARS. 

Bunker gear is easy to acquire. And up to a few years ago ride alongs were permitted, and it was even easier to take in a run if your a family member.


Well-known member
Dec 7, 2007
Can anyone post on here the actual Department Orders or other documents that define the fireground duties of Resource Unit Leader, Safety Officer, Lobby Control Unit and other multiple-alarm Chief Officer and company assignments?



Jan 1, 2009

I've seen and read alot of the runs and workers statistics posted at numerous sites. The busiest companies every year change very little and have been busy for years. When it comes to fire duty city wide, what company catches the most First Due or First In fires?

If you care to take it a little farther...how about in each boro?