World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Fire Department
of the City of New York

Established July 31, 1865 (origins go back to 1648)
Staffing Career

15,870 (as of December 31, 2010)[2]

  • Uniformed Fire: 10,787
  • Uniformed EMS: 3,200
  • Civilian: 1,599
Battalions 52


(including EMS stations)
Engines 198
Trucks 143
Squads 7
Rescues 5
Helicopters 0 at present. NYPD Helicopters used when needed.
Fireboats 3
EMS Units 234 (Morning and Evening)
146 (Overnight)
Fire chief Edward S. Kilduff
Commissioner Salvatore Cassano

The New York City Fire Department, formally the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY), has the responsibility of protecting the citizens and property of New York City's five boroughs from fires and fire hazards, providing emergency medical services, technical rescue as well as providing primary response to biological, chemical and radioactive hazards. The department has its headquarters in 9 MetroTech Center, Downtown Brooklyn,[3] and its training academy (The FDNY Fire Academy) on Randalls Island.[4]

The FDNY, the largest municipal fire department in the United States, and the second largest in the world after the Tokyo Fire Department, has approximately 11,080 uniformed officers and firefighters and over 3,300 uniformed emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics. It faces extraordinarily varied firefighting challenges in many ways unique to New York. In addition to responding to building types that range from wood-frame single family homes to high-rise structures, there are many secluded bridges and tunnels, as well as large parks and wooded areas that can give rise to major brush fires. New York is also home to one of the largest subway systems in the world, consisting of hundreds of miles of tunnel with electrified track. The multifaceted challenges they face add yet another level of firefighting complexity and have led to the FDNY's motto, New York’s Bravest.


Like most fire departments of major cities in the United States, the New York City Fire Department is organized in a paramilitary fashion, in many cases echoing the structure of the police.[5] The department's executive staff is divided into two areas including a civilian fire commissioner who is in charge of the department and a fire chief who is the operational lead. The current fire commissioner is (former fire chief) Salvatore Cassano, who took over from Nicholas Scoppetta at the start of 2010. The executive staff includes the civilian fire commissioners who are responsible for bureaus within the Department, along with the Chief of Department, Chief of Fire Operations, Chief of EMS, the Chief Fire Marshal and the staff chiefs. Staff chiefs include the seven citywide tour commanders, the Chief of Safety, the Chief of Fire Prevention, and the Chief of Training.[6]

Operationally and geographically, the department are nominally organized into five borough commands for the five traditional boroughs of New York. Within those borough commands exist nine divisions, each headed by a deputy chief. Within each division are four to seven battalions, each led by a battalion chief and typically consisting of 180–200 firefighters and officers. Each battalion then consists of four to eight companies, with each company being led by a captain, who commands three lieutenants and 16–42 firefighters. Last is the unit consisting of the members of the company on call during a given tour, consisting of a lieutenant or a captain plus a number of firefighters depending on the type of unit: 3–4 firefighters on an engine company, 5 on a ladder company, (also known as a truck company), 5 for a rescue company, 5 for a squad company, 4 for a marine company, and 6 for the hazardous materials company.



The origins of the New York City Fire Department go back to 1648 when the first fire ordinance was adopted in what was then the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam. Peter Stuyvesant, within one year of his arrival, appointed four fire wardens to wooden chimneys of thatched-roofed wooden houses, charging a penalty to owners whose chimneys were improperly swept. The first four fire wardens were Martin Krieger, Thomas Hall, Adrian Wyser, and George Woolsey.[7]

Hooks, ladders and buckets were financed through the collection of fines for dirty chimneys, and a fire watch was established, consisting of eight wardens which were drawn from the male population. An organization known as the prowlers but given the nickname the rattle watch patrolled the streets with buckets, ladders and hooks from nine in the evening until dawn looking for fires. Leather shoe buckets, 250 in all, were manufactured by local Dutch shoemakers in 1658, and these bucket brigades are regarded as the beginning of the New York Fire Department.[8]

In 1664 New Amsterdam became a British settlement and was renamed New York.[9] The first New York fire brigade entered service in 1731 equipped with two hand-drawn pumpers which had been transported from London, England. These two pumpers formed Engine Company 1 and Engine Company 2. These were the first fire engines to be used in the American colonies, and all able-bodied citizens were required to respond to a fire alarm and to participate in the extinguishing under the supervision of the Aldermen.[10]

The city's first firehouse was built in 1736 in front of City Hall on Broad Street. A year later, on December 16, 1737, the colony's General Assembly created the Volunteer Fire Department of the City of New York, appointing 30 men who would remain on call in exchange for exemption from jury and militia duty. The city's first official firemen were required to be "able, discreet, and sober men who shall be known as Firemen of the City of New York, to be ready for service by night and by day and be diligent, industrious and vigilant."[10]

Although the 1737 Act created the basis of the fire department, the actual legal entity was incorporated in the State of New York on March 20, 1798 under the name of "Fire Department, City of New York."


In 1865 the volunteer fire department was abolished by a state act which created the Metropolitan Fire District and the Metropolitan Fire Department (MFD). This effectively gave control of the fire departments in the cities of New York and Brooklyn to the Governor who appointed his Board of Commissioners. There was never any effective incorporation of the fire departments of the two cities during this period. It wasn't until the Greater City of New York was consolidated in 1898 that the two were combined under one common organization or organizational structure.

The change met with a mixed reaction from the citizens, and some of the eliminated volunteers became bitter and resentful, which resulted in both political battles and street fights. The insurance companies in the city, however, finally won the battle and had the volunteers replaced with paid professionals. The members of the paid fire department were primarily selected from the prior volunteers. All of the volunteer's apparatus, including their fire houses, were seized by the state who made use of them to form the new organization and form the basis of the FDNY as we know it today.

The MFD lasted until 1870 when the Tweed Charter ended state control in the city. As a result, a new Board of Fire Commissioners was created and the original name of the Fire Department City of New York (FDNY) was reinstated.

Initially, the paid fire service only covered New York City (present day Manhattan), until the act of 1865 which united Brooklyn with New York to form the Metropolitan District. The same year the fire department consisted of 13 Chief Officers and 552 Company Officers and firemen. The officers and firemen worked a continuous tour of duty, with three hours a day off for meals and one day off a month, and were paid salaries according to their rank or grade. 1865 also saw the first adoption of regulations, although they were fairly strict and straitlaced.

Following several large fires in 1866 which resulted in excessive fire losses and a rise in insurance rates, the fire department was reorganized under the command of General Alexander Shaler, and with military discipline the paid department reached its full potential which resulted in a general reduction in fire losses. In 1870 the merit system of promotion in the Fire Department was established.

Southwestern Westchester County (which would later become the western Bronx) was annexed by New York in 1874 and the volunteers there were phased out and replaced by the paid department. This pattern was repeated as City services expanded elsewhere. There are ten volunteer fire companies left in New York City that respond to calls in their neighborhood in addition to a normal assignment of FDNY units. They are typically in more isolated neighborhoods of the city. By borough, the volunteer companies are:

  • Bronx (2) – Edgewater Park Volunteer Hose Company No. 1, Aviation Volunteer Fire Department Association Inc.
  • Brooklyn (1) – Gerritsen Beach Fire Volunteers Inc.
  • Queens (5) – West Hamilton Beach VFD, Broad Channel VFD, Roxbury VFD, Rockaway Point VFD, and Point Breeze VFD
  • Staten Island (2) – Oceanic H&L Company No. 1 and Richmond Engine Company No. 1

The Staten Island volunteer companies are dispatched by the Staten Island Communications Office and operate on the FDNY Staten Island frequency. Broad Channel and West Hamilton Beach have teleprinters in parallel with the FDNY fire companies that also serve their area. The Brooklyn and first four volunteer companies in Queens also provide ambulance services. Broad Channel VFD has over 102 years of active service.


On January 1, 1898 the different areas of New York were consolidated, which ushered the Fire Department into a new era. All the fire forces in the various sections were brought under the unified command of the first Commissioner in the history of the Fire Department. This same year Richmond (now Staten Island) became a part of the City of New York, but the volunteer units there remained in place until they were gradually replaced by paid units in 1915, 1928, 1932 and 1937 when only two volunteer units remained.

The unification of the Fire Department, which took place in 1898, would pave the way for many changes. In 1909 the Fire Department received its first piece of motorized fire apparatus. On March 25, 1911 a fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist Company killed 146 workers, most of whom where young female immigrants. Later the same year the fire college was formed to train new fire fighters, and in 1912 the Bureau of Fire Prevention was created.

In 1919 the Uniformed Firefighters Association was formed. Tower ladders and the Super Pumper System were introduced in 1965. Major apparatus of the Super Pumper System (the Super Pumper and the Super Tender) was phased out in 1982, in favor of the Maxi-Water Unit. But the 5 Satellite Units of the system, together with the Maxi-Water Unit (known as Satellite 6 since 1999) are still actively used as of 2007 for multiple alarm fires and certain other incidents. These are now called the Satellite Water System. Other technical advances included the introduction of high pressure water systems, the creation of a Marine fleet, adoption of vastly improved working conditions and the utilization of improved radio communications.

On November 23, 1965, incoming Mayor Lindsay announced the appointment of Robert O. Lowery as Fire Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department. His was the first commissioner level appointment announced by the Mayor-elect. Lowery, who was the first African American to serve as a Fire Commissioner of a major U.S. city, served in that position for more than 7 years until his resignation on September 29, 1973 in order to campaign for then-Controller Abraham D. Beame, the Democratic candidate for Mayor.[11] In 1982 the first female firefighters joined the ranks of the Fire Department.

In 1984 and 1989, the comedy films Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II used the Manhattan Ladder Company 8 building for the externals of the Ghostbusters' office building. On March 17, 1996, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani merged the emergency medical services of the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation into the FDNY.

September 11, 2001 attacks

Main article: September 11 attacks

On September 11, 2001 19 terrorists associated with al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger aircraft to be used to attack targets in New York and Washington, DC, in what came to be known as the September 11 attacks or 9/11. Two aircraft hijacked out of Logan International Airport in Boston, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were flown by terrorists into the North and South twin towers respectively of the World Trade Center, causing massive damage to both towers during impact, and starting fires that eventually caused the weakened 110-story skyscrapers to collapse.[12]

New York City fire companies and EMS crews were deployed to the World Trade Center minutes after the first aircraft struck the north tower. Chief officers set up a command center in the lobby as first arriving units entered the building and firefighters began climbing the stairs. A mobile command center was also set up outside on Vesey Street, but was destroyed when the buildings collapsed. A command post was then set up at a firehouse in Greenwich Village. The FDNY deployed 200 units to the site, with more than 400 firefighters, EMTs and paramedics on the scene when the buildings collapsed.[13]

Many firefighters arrived at the World Trade Center without meeting at the command centers. Problems with radio communication caused commanders to lose contact with many of the firefighters who went into the buildings; those firefighters were unable to hear evacuation orders.[14] There was practically no communication with the New York City Police Department, which had helicopters at the scene. When the towers collapsed, hundreds were killed or trapped within. 343 FDNY firefighters, EMTs and paramedics who responded to the attacks lost their lives. The casualties included First Deputy Commissioner William M. Feehan, Chief of Department Peter Ganci[13] Department Chaplain Mychal Judge,[15] and Battalion Chief Orio Palmer.[16][17][18]  

Meanwhile, average response times to fires elsewhere in the city that day only rose by one minute, to 5.5 minutes.[19] Many of the surviving firefighters continued to work alternating 24-hour shifts as part of the rescue and recovery effort. Firefighters and EMS personnel came from hundreds of miles around New York City, including numerous career and volunteer units in Upstate New York, Long Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida and even Michigan.


In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks the Fire Department has rebuilt itself and continues to serve the people of New York. During the Northeast Blackout of 2003, FDNY was called on to rescue hundreds of people from stranded elevators in approximately 800 Manhattan high-rise office and apartment buildings. The entire fire department was held over from the day tour to almost double the total force to 3,401 firefighters to handle the many fires which resulted, reportedly from people using candles for light.[20]

At the beginning of the 21st century, there are 11,400 uniformed fire officers and firefighters under the command of the Chief of Department. The New York City Fire Department also includes 2800 Emergency Medical Technicians, Paramedics and Supervisors assigned to Department's EMS Command, and 1200 civilian employees.[8]

Salvatore Cassano is the current commissioner of the FDNY. He was appointed to this job by Mayor Michael Bloomberg (January 1, 2010). Cassano is the 34th FDNY Commissioner.

In 2011, Brooke (last name withheld) was hired as the FDNYs first openly transgender employee. [21]

On July 16, 2012, federal judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, a President Bill Clinton appointed judge for the Eastern District of New York, ordered the New York City Fire Department to implement racial quotas to address grievances from minorities who failed entrance exams. His ruling requires two of every five newly hired firefighters to be black and one of every five, Hispanic until the department has fulfilled the court-ordered quota of 186 black and 107 Hispanic hires. This is due to a lawsuit that alleges two placement exams (Written Exams 7029 or 2043) for the FDNY were discriminatory against blacks and Hispanics, because fewer minorities passed the exam than whites.[22]

Ideology and core competencies

The FDNY derives its name from the Tweed Charter which created the Fire Department of the City of New York. This is in contrast to most other fire departments in the U.S. where the name of the city precedes the words fire department.[23]


  • The FDNY ideology of aggressive interior fire attack grew naturally out of the building and population density that characterize the city.[24]
  • The contribution of Irish Americans to the FDNY dates back to the formation of the paid fire department. During the Civil War New York's Irish firefighters were the backbone of the 11th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment (New York Fire Zouaves), a highly decorated unit.[25]
  • Members of the FDNY have the nickname "New York's Bravest".[1]
  • Members of the FDNY EMS have the nickname "New York's Best".[26]
  • In addition to firefighting, rescue and HAZMAT, FDNY stations ambulances throughout the city and supplies paramedics and EMTs.

Together with ambulances run by certain participating hospitals (locally known as voluntaries, not to be confused with Volunteers) and private companies, it is known as the FDNY EMS Command, which is the largest pre-hospital care provider in the world, responding to over 1.3 million calls each year. All of the FDNY EMS Command members are also trained to the HAZMAT Operations level. A select group of 36 EMS units (15 BLS & 21) ALS) are known as Hazardous Material Tactical Units (Haz-Tac Ambulances) whose members are trained to the level of Hazardous Materials Technician which allows them to provide emergency medical care and decontamination in a hazardous environment, in addition to their normal 911 duties. Of these 36, eleven are also Rescue Paramedic Ambulances whose crews are additionally trained for: Confined space rescue, Trench Rescue, Crush Injuries, and Building Collapse Rescues. The Rescue Medics operate with additional exclusive protocols and specialized medical equipment.[27]

Core competencies

A citywide Incident Management System plan released by the Office of the Mayor on May 14, 2004 set forth several "core competencies" which determine which agency has the authority to direct operations.[28] FDNY core competencies include:

  • Fire suppression
  • Pre-hospital emergency medical care
  • Search and rescue
  • Structural evacuation
  • CBRNE/HAZMAT life safety and mass decontamination
  • Cause and origin, and arson investigations
  • Fire prevention inspections


Fire calls for 2006

For the period January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2006 the FDNY dealt with the following number of calls:[29]

  • Structural fires: 27,817
  • Non-structural fires: 20,702
  • Non-fire emergencies: 198,202
  • Medical emergencies: 209,397

There were 2,971 serious fires in 2006, defined as those declared 'all hands' or above in severity. Response times to incidents were roughly between two and a half, to six minutes from the time of call, depending on total activity and borough, with the quickest responses being in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the slowest in Queens and Staten Island.

Fire calls for 2007

For the period January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2007 the FDNY dealt with the following number of calls:[30]

  • Structural fires: 28,004
  • Non-structural fires: 19,388
  • Non-fire emergencies: 209,943
  • Medical emergencies: 207,677

There were 3,143 serious fires in 2007, defined as those declared 'all hands' or above in severity.

Fire calls for 2008

For the period January 1, 2008, to December 31, 2008 the FDNY dealt with the following number of calls:[31]

  • Structural fires: 26,862
  • Non-structural fires: 17,192
  • Non-fire emergencies: 191,926
  • Medical emergencies: 211,776

There were 2,715 serious fires in 2008, defined as those declared 'all hands' or above in severity. Response times to incidents were roughly between four to five minutes from the time of call, depending on total activity and borough, with the quickest responses being in the Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the slowest in Queens and Staten Island.[32]

Fire calls for 2009

For the period January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2009 the FDNY dealt with the following number of calls:[33]

  • Structural fires: 26,666
  • Non-structural fires: 17,011
  • Non-fire emergencies: 194,406
  • Medical emergencies: 209,563

There were 2,485 serious fires in 2009, defined as those declared 'all hands' or above in severity.

Unit Activity CY 2009

Fire calls for 2011

For the period January 1, 2011, to December 31, 2011 the FDNY dealt with the following number of calls:[34]

  • Total incidents: 493,146
  • Structural fires: 26,432
  • Non-fire emergencies: 207,572
  • Medical emergencies: 216,987

Unit Activity CY 2011

Bureau of Communications

As of 2010 there are three Bureau of Fire Communications alarm offices. One office, at 11 Metrotech Center in Brooklyn, houses Manhattan/Citywide, Brooklyn, and Staten Island Fire Communications. The Bronx and Queens offices are in separate offices, and plans are in the works to consolidate them into an office to be built in the future.

The initial call to an FDNY communications office is taken by the Alarm Receipt Dispatcher (ARD) who speaks with the caller in order to determine the nature of the emergency. The ARD enters the information by keyboard into the Starfire computer system, which gives a recommended response based on the information provided. This information is automatically sent to the Decision Dispatcher (DD) and the "Tour Supervising Dispatcher".

When the Decision Dispatcher has made a decision as to what units will actually be assigned to the incident, unless the supervisor intervenes, he or she pushes the "release" button and the alarm is routed to the assigned companies, either in their firehouses or to the mobile data terminals (MDT) if their apparatus is in the field, depending on where the Starfire computer shows them to be situated. If a unit in a fire station does not acknowledge the run within 30 seconds, the computer will notify the voice alarm dispatcher who will call that unit in the station by the dedicated intercom system. One minute after the alarm is released, it will appear on the computer screen of the radio dispatcher, who will announce the alarm and the response two times and ask for acknowledgment from any units assigned who have not done so by radio, voice alarm or MDT. The radio dispatcher has a special keyboard called the Status Entry Panel "SEP" which is used to update the status of units based on information received by radio.

The entire process from initial notification until a unit is dispatched can take up to two (2) minutes, depending on the complexity of the call, the information provided by the caller(s) and the degree of other alarm activity in the office. If a borough alarm office is so busy that its incoming telephone alarm lines are all busy or not answered within 30 seconds, the call is automatically transferred to another borough fire alarm office. If an ERS box is not answered with 60 seconds, usually because all of the Alarm receipt Consoles are in use, the computer automatically dispatches an engine company to the box location.

Any fire alarm office in NYC can take a fire or emergency call by telephone for any borough and upon completion of information taking, the incident will automatically be routed by the Starfire computer to the Decision Dispatcher (DD) for the borough in which the incident is reported.

Alarm receiving and transmittal

There are five ways in which fires and emergencies can be reported to the New York City Fire Department:

  1. Telephone alarms: The most common method of contacting the Fire Department is one in which a civilian uses a telephone to dial one of three types of numbers. The first is 9-1-1, which is answered by New York Police Department (NYPD) operators. The second is a special 7-digit telephone number which is published in each borough for the specific purpose of reporting fires. The third involves dialing "0" which routes the call to a telephone company operator who, then, transfers it to the fire alarm dispatchers in the proper FDNY central office.
  2. Alarm boxes: The second most common method is by means of FDNY fire alarm boxes located on the street and in certain public buildings such as schools and hospitals as well as along highways, on bridges, etc. These boxes primarily consist of two types. The first is the mechanical box (also commonly called a pull-box or a telegraph box) in which a spring-wound mechanism alternately opens and closes an electrical circuit, thereby rendering a coded number linked to the specific location of the box. Until the advent of the STARFIRE "Computer-Assisted Dispatch System" (CADS), dispatchers had to audibly count the taps from mechanical boxes when they were received in the central offices. Today, a "Box Alarm Readout System" (BARS) display handles that aspect of the job. The second type is the "Emergency Reporting System" (ERS) box that is equipped with buttons to notify either the FDNY or the NYPD, allowing either department's dispatcher to have direct voice communication with a reporting party. Beginning in the 1970s, ERS boxes started to replace mechanical boxes in many areas of the City. In December 1994, then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and then-Fire Commissioner Howard Safir began a concerted effort to remove all of the mechanical and ERS boxes throughout New York City in a cost-cutting move. Facing stiff opposition from members of the City Council, community groups, dispatchers and others, the move was blocked by court order as being discriminatory against the disabled (i.e., particularly the speech- and/or hearing-impaired) who – along with the poor – might otherwise have no dependable way to report fires and emergencies if the alarm boxes were eliminated. (In addition, unlike many other cities in the world, it was noted that 117 different languages and dialects are spoken by the residents of and visitors to the "Big Apple." Since, unlike telephones, a fire alarm box requires no verbal contact to indicate its exact location, a person would not have to be able to speak – at all – or to understand English in order to alert the FDNY to a fire or emergency. For this reason, as well, the boxes were recognized as being vital to New Yorkers' safety.)
  3. "Class 3" alarms: Less common than the first two means of reporting fires are so-called "Class 3"s which are routed through commercial alarm companies. These firms monitor sprinkler systems, standpipes, smoke detectors and internal pull-stations in non-public occupancies such as factories, warehouses, stores and office buildings. When alarms are received from such accounts, these companies pass-along the information to the FDNY central offices, usually by dedicated telephone circuits. (The term "Class 3" derives from the fact that the box number on such an assignment card would have a "3" preceding it as well as a "terminal" following it (e.g., "3-7012-4" would indicate a private alarm system in a commercial occupancy at a specific address in the immediate vicinity of Box 7012 on the corner of Review Avenue and Laurel Hill Boulevard in Queens]. In such cases, the type of alarm (e.g., sprinkler, smoke detector, interior pull-station, etc.) and an exact address – and, often, even a specific section of a building – would instantly be made available to responding units.)
  4. Verbal alarms: The least common means of reporting fires or emergencies generally involves civilians "verbally" making such reports directly to firehouses –or– when incidents are observed by fire units themselves when they are away from their quarters. (However, "verbal" alarms may also be reported by chief officers, Department officials (e.g., commissioners, medical officers, chaplains, et al.) or civilian employees of the FDNY (e.g., communications electricians, mechanics and such – even the dispatchers themselves) who observe fires or emergencies in the course of the performance of their duties.) If a fire company is available, in quarters, it will immediately respond to the incident after advising the dispatchers of same via telephone, voice alarm or radio. If the unit is away from its firehouse (e.g., responding to or operating at another alarm, on inspection duty, etc.) at the time, the company will either stop at the new incident and operate, or the officer will request a separate assignment (...because the reporting unit is unavailable to operate). Based on the information received by the dispatchers, the appropriate action (e.g., transmitting a new box, etc.) is initiated in regard to the new incident.

When a member of the public dials 911, he or she is connected to an NYPD operator who assigns the call to where it needs to go based on the information provided.

  • If it is police related, the information is sent to an N.Y.P.D. radio dispatcher for the precinct or special unit concerned.
  • If it is on a bridge or in tunnel connected to New Jersey or at Kennedy or LaGuardia Airport, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is also notified.
  • If it is a fire, haz-mat or rescue incident, the 9-1-1 operator transfers the call by dedicated phone line to the appropriate FDNY central office. (Depending on the type of incident, the NYPD may notify its own Emergency Services Units to respond instead of or along with the Fire Department.)

Fire alarm dispatchers handle comparatively few medical calls made directly to them, since the vast majority of such incidents are routed straight to the FDNY's EMS communications office by the NYPD 9-1-1 operators. However, a medical call that requires the assistance of "first-responder"-trained fire units will have said request routed electronically to the appropriate fire alarm central office for the assignment of the proper personnel and apparatus.

Box numbers

Each address in the city is assigned a box number, based on the closest street, special building or highway box. This gives the companies en route cross streets for the alarm. Box numbers can be duplicated in different boroughs, which is why they are always identified by borough name or numerical prefix on the computer (66 for Bronx and Manhattan, 77 for Brooklyn, 88 for Staten Island and 99 for Queens). If there is also a street address given to the dispatchers, the responding apparatus will get this information in the firehouse, over the air, and via their mobile data terminals in the rigs. At present there are about 16,000 physical street boxes in New York City, with many additional special building boxes and highway boxes, as well as "dummy boxes" used for special response assignments. In addition there are two airport crash boxes, one in the LaGuardia Tower, (Queens Box 37), and one in the JFK Tower, (Queens Box 269), which can only be activated by the personnel in these towers. When either box is sounded it brings an automatic second alarm (2–2) response of equipment, along with various special units.

Critical Information Dispatch System

Critical Information Dispatch System (CIDS, pronounced by the dispatcher as "Sids") information is transmitted to units in the firehouse and en route. It is information that is collected on a building during inspections and by public input, which would have an impact on fire-fighting operations. Such things as:

  • warehoused apartments,
  • type and length of line stretch (or hose),
  • number of apartments per floor,
  • unsafe conditions, standpipe conditions, and
  • anything else the Bureau of Fire Communications or the FDNY Staff Chiefs deem important

This information is printed on the fire ticket and can be read by the dispatcher if requested. This information is also read automatically when a signal 10–75 (working fire) or higher signal is given or when the supervising dispatcher deems it is important for the units to have it before arrival at an incident.

Radio bell code signals

The New York City Fire Department utilizes a series of radio bell code signals and 10-code signals to transmit and relay information during general department operations and during emergency situations. Below is a listing of radio bell code signals and commonly used 10-code signals used by the FDNY on a daily basis.

Signal Meaning
1–1 1st Alarm announcement and/or response.
2-2 2nd Alarm announcement and/or response.
3 Indicating an alarm originating in a special FDNY Alarm Box(8000 series boxes).
3-3 3rd Alarm announcement and/or response.
4 Battalion Chief response required.
4-4 4th Alarm announcement and/or response.
5 Engine Company response required.
5-5 5th Alarm announcement and/or response.
5–7 1 Engine Company and 1 Ladder Company response required.
5-5-5-5 Line of Duty Death (LODD). All flags lowered half staff.
6 Marine Company response required.
6-5-2 Department message.
6-6 6th Alarm announcement and/or response.
7 Ladder Company response required.
7-5 All-Hands announcement and/or response.
7-7 7th Alarm announcement and/or response.
8 Squad Company response required.
8-8 8th Alarm announcement and/or response.
9 Preliminary report for Special Units.
9-9 9th Alarm announcement and/or response.
10 Rescue Company response required.
14 Battalion Chief relocation or returning from relocation.
15 Engine Company relocation or returning from relocation.
16 Marine Company relocation or returning from relocation.
17 Ladder Company relocation or returning from relocation.
65-2 Department message.

10-code signals

There are 52 10-codes used by the FDNY.[35]

A Signal 10–75 is transmitted by the first arriving fire company for a working fire or other incident where it appears that the assigned companies will likely all be put to work at a fire or other emergency. Contrary to common belief, a 10–75 can be transmitted where the emergency is non-fire related but appears to require a full first alarm assignment. When a 10–75 is given, a Rescue Company and a Squad Company are automatically assigned, unless they have already been assigned on the box. In addition, a third and fourth engine company as well as a second truck company and a FAST truck (ladder company) are assigned, along with an additional battalion chief. Notification is made to the deputy (division) chief for the district, and he almost always asks for a fire ticket and starts his response.

When all companies are put to work at an incident, the Signal 7-5 is transmitted over the Starfire computer system, but on the radio the listener will simply hear the terms "All Hands" or "All Companies at Work (or Working)." If the "All Hands" is in a subway or railroad facility, or any other location where communications might be difficult, a Field Communications Unit is sent. A Deputy Chief is mandatorily assigned on transmission of the Signal 7-5, but he almost always has responded on the 10–75 signal.

Special calls for additional units above a Signal 7-5 are by number and type of unit. A Dispatcher's greater alarm, formerly used to fill out special call requests during busy periods of fire activity, has been eliminated from dispatch procedures.

Higher alarms bring additional ladders, engines and special equipment, depending on location and type of incident. Greater alarms are a Second (Signal 2–2), a Third (3–3), a Fourth (4–4), and a Fifth (5–5). Technically there are no alarms greater than a Fifth Alarm and no computer signals exist for them. If a chief asks for a sixth or higher alarm, it has to be written out as such in the computer and companies are assigned by the Supervising Dispatcher of the Tour. Borough calls and simultaneous calls, previously used for incidents that required more than a five alarm assignment, have been eliminated from dispatch procedures.

There are also certain special signals given for unique incidents. Several of them include:

Alarm Type Meaning
10–60 Declared as a major incident, it brings a major response of equipment to the scene and mandates transmission of next highest alarm
10–66 The newest signal, this is used for missing firefighters at an incident. It mandates the transmission of the next higher alarm level. It was first used at the August, 2007, fatal fire in the Deutsche Bank Building, where a number of firefighters got lost in an illegal maze of demolition and asbestos removal structures, and where two veteran firemen were killed.
10–75 Working Fire reported and assignment requested. Declared when smoke or fire is showing from a building.
10–76 Working fire in a high-rise (more than 7 stories) commercial building or hotel.
10–77 Working fire in a high-rise (more than 7 stories) residential building.
10–80 Hazardous Materials incident

Any or all of these signals: 10–76, 10–77, 10–60, 10–66 and 10–80, can be used in conjunction with a 10–75, a 7–5("All Hands") or a greater alarm, depending on circumstances. For example, at the aforementioned Deutsche Bank Building Fatal Fire in 2007, seven alarms were struck in addition to the use of the 10–76, 10–66 and 10–80 signals. The 2007 Manhattan Steampipe explosion utilized six alarms, plus the 10–60 and 10–80 signals. If a 10–66 is transmitted as the result of a collapse, a 10–60 must also be transmitted; this will result in the next 2 higher alarms being transmitted, (1 additional alarm for each signal).

Response guidelines

Structure fires

Alarm Type Alarm Level Units Assigned
Signal 5-7 Assignment 1st Alarm 1 Engine, 1 Ladder
Box Alarm Assignment(Minimum) 1st Alarm 2 Engines, 1-2 Ladders, 1 Battalion Chief
Box Alarm Assignment(Standard) 1st Alarm 3 Engines, 2 Ladders, 1 Battalion Chief
Signal 10-75(Working Fire) Assignment(Upgrade) 1st Alarm 1 Engine, 1 Ladder (FAST), 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Division Chief, 1 Squad, 1 Rescue, 1 Recuperation and Care(R.A.C.) Unit
Signal 10-76(Working High-Rise Commercial Building Fire) Assignment(Upgrade) 1st Alarm 4 Engines(1 for Lobby Control, 1 for High-Rise Nozzle, 1 for C.F.R.D. Engine, 1 for High-Rise Unit), 3 Ladders (1 for FAST, 1 for Vent Support), 3 Battalion Chiefs(1 for Safety), Rescue Battalion, Safety Battalion, 1 Squad, 1 Rescue, 1 High-Rise Unit, 1 Tactical Support Unit(T.S.U.), 1 Recuperation and Care(R.A.C.) Unit, 1 Mask Service Unit (MSU), Field Comm. Unit, 1 Comm. Tac. Unit
Signal 10-77(Working High-Rise Residential Building Fire) Assignment(Upgrade) 1st Alarm 3 Engines(1 for High-Rise Nozzle, 1 for CFRD Engine, 1 for High-Rise Unit), 3 Ladders(1 for FAST, 1 for Vent Support), 2 Battalion Chiefs (1 for Safety), Rescue Battalion, Safety Battalion, 1 Squad, 1 Rescue, 1 High-Rise Unit, 1 Recuperation and Care (RAC) Unit, Field Comm. Unit, 1 Comm. Tac. Unit
Signal 2-2 Assignment(Upgrade) 2nd Alarm 5 Engines(1 for Satellite Unit), 2 Ladders, 2 Battalions (1 for Safety, 1 for Resource Unit Leader), 1 Satellite Unit, 1 Tactical Support Unit (TSU), 1 Field Comm. Unit
Signal 3-3 Assignment(Upgrade) 3rd Alarm 4 Engines, 2 Ladders, 3 Battalions(1 Staging, 1 for Air Recon.), 1 Mask Service Unit(M.S.U.)
Signal 4-4 Assignment(Upgrade) 4th Alarm 4 Engines, 2 Ladders, 1 Battalion Chief (Planning)
Signal 5-5 Assignment(Upgrade) 5th Alarm 4 Engines, 2 Ladders, 1 Assistant Chief (Borough Commander), Chief of Operations
Higher Alarm Assignments(Upgrade) 6th Alarm-12th Alarm 4 Engines, 2 Ladders per Alarm Level

Rescue incidents

  • Motor Vehicle Accident(MVA) Assignment:
    • 1 Engine
    • 1 Ladder
    • 1 Battalion
    • Rescue or Squad (If confirmed entrapment/extrication needed)
  • Confined-Space Rescue Assignment:
    • 3 Engines
    • 3 Ladders(1 S.O.C. Support Ladder)
    • 1 Squad
    • 2 Rescues
    • 1 Battalion
    • Rescue Battalion
    • Safety Battalion
    • Haz-Mat. Battalion
    • 1 Haz-Mat. Unit
    • 1 T.S.U.
    • 1 Field Comm. Unit
    • 1 S.O.C. Rebreather Unit
    • 1 EMS Rescue Medic Unit
    • 1 Haz Tac Officer Unit
    • 1 Response Physician (5M)

Minor fires/special incidents

  • Vehicle Fire Assignment:
    • 1 Engine
    • 1 Ladder
  • Brush/Rubbish/Outside Fire/Downed Wires Assignment:
    • 1 Engine
  • Downed Trees/Fallen Debris/Lock-In/Lock-Out Assignment:
    • 1 Ladder
  • Water Leak/Stuck Elevator Assignment:
    • 1 Ladder

EMS emergencies

  • EMS First Responder Assignment:
    • 1 Engine

Bureau of EMS

Main article: FDNY Bureau of EMS

Calls to 911 for emergency medical services (EMS) in New York City are dispatched by the New York City Fire Department's Emergency Medical Dispatch under its Communications Bureau.

Ambulances are staffed by uniformed service EMTs and paramedics of the FDNY or civilian EMTs and paramedics working for non-profit, 'voluntary' hospitals. It is the largest public, non-profit ambulance partnership in the world.[36]

Prior to March 17, 1996, municipal ambulances were operated by NYC EMS under the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation a public benefit corporation, which dispatched both its own ambulances and hospital ambulances. After that date, NYC EMS was merged with the FDNY and became the Bureau of EMS. As of 2010 it is referred to as the FDNY-EMS Command and is an operational unit of the FDNY which operates under the Chief of EMS, who in turn reports to the Chief of Department.

FDNY-EMS respond to more than 1.2 million medical emergencies per year, or 3300 per day.[36] Although EMS in New York City is controlled and dispatched by the Fire Department, approximately 30% of the ambulances in the system are operated by the non-profit hospitals in New York City, the majority of these being in Manhattan and Queens. These hospitals have historically provided emergency ambulances for over 125 years, with some now subcontracting actual ambulance operations to private ambulance providers.[37] New York City also has a number of neighborhood volunteer ambulance corps that respond to emergency calls, primarily in the outer boroughs.

The New York City prehospital care system consists of three distinct levels: First responder engine companies, staffed by firefighters trained as certified first responders (CFRs) providing first aid, CPR, and defibrillation; basic life support (BLS) ambulances, whose two EMTs provide first aid, defibrillation, and limited medication administration; and advanced life support (ALS) ambulances, whose two paramedics provide prehospital critical care, including patient assessment, 12-lead electrocardiography, pulse oximetry, defibrillation, cardioversion, cardiac pacing, endotracheal intubation and other advanced airway procedures; intravenous (IV), intraosseous infusion (IO), intramuscular (IM), oral (PO) and respiratory therapy, with over 40 medications both under standing medical orders and in consultation with a medical control physician. Each area of response is divided into overlapping grids, with the closest FDNY first responder engine company dispatched to life-threatening emergencies, along with both a BLS and ALS level ambulance as necessary.[38]

Some EMTs and paramedics have been trained as Hazardous Materials Technicians and function to provide patient care while wearing Chemical Protective Clothing in the 'Hot Zone' at HazMat incidents. Recently, all of FDNY-EMS's EMTs and paramedics have been trained to the Hazardous Materials Operations level in order to operate in the 'Warm Zone' of HazMat incidents. Some of the HazMat trained paramedics have been trained at the FDNY Fire Academy as 'Rescue Medics' in order to be able to provide patient care in both high-rise rescue and confined space situations.[39]

While EMTs and paramedics work well professionally with the firefighters of New York City, there have been occasional "culture clashes" between EMS and Fire, for instance, a plan in 2006 to move ambulances into a firehouse in Queens drew an outcry from both the unions of the firefighters and EMS workers and was ultimately scrapped by the city.[40] This is due to several factors, the relative little attention paid to the sacrifices and achievements of EMS workers by the public in relation to that paid to firefighters, as well as the separate mindset that each respective job entails; firefighters must operate as a team and strictly and swiftly execute the orders they are given by their officers to achieve their goals, while EMT and paramedic crews are expected to act independently and usually without direct supervision by their EMT and paramedic officers or medical control physicians, in most cases, due to the nature of the job.


In recent years, FDNY has used several fire apparatus manufacturers nearly exclusively. Beginning in the late 1970s, Mack and American LaFrance made most of the pumpers and ladder trucks in the FDNY fleet. In the late 1980s, Mack made only chassis and not apparatus bodies, so Ward was used for truck bodies. Often Mack would work with Baker Aerialscope to create its tower ladders. Mack left the fire apparatus business in the early 1990s and FDNY turned to Seagrave to develop its next generation of fire truck. FDNY's very specific specifications meant that few apparatus manufacturers could compete with Seagrave for the contract.

Most of the engines in FDNY's fleet are Seagrave Commander II's and Seagrave Marauder II's and include 500 gallon water tanks and either 1000 or 2000 gallon per minute pumps. The 2000gpm pumps are primarily located in the high-rise districts and are considered high pressure pumpers. With the loss of apparatus which occurred as a result of the September 11 attacks, FDNY began to use engines made by other companies including Ferrara and E-One. The FDNY is making the move from a fixed cab to a "Split-Tilt" cab, so the Seagrave Marauder II Pumper will fill the FDNY's new order for 69 new pumpers.

Truck companies are generally equipped with Seagrave aerials. Ladder length varies and often depends on the geographic area to which the unit is assigned. Those in the older sections of the city often use tiller trucks to allow for greater maneuverability. Before Seagrave was the predominant builder, Mack CF's built with Baker tower ladders were popular. Most FDNY aerials are built with 75’, 95' or 100' ladders. Tiller ladders, rear mount ladders and mid-mount tower ladders are the types of trucks used. In 2010, The FDNY chose Ferrara over Pierce, and E-One for a new contract that issued for 10–100' rear-mount ladder trucks to Ferrara Fire Apparatus, using a chassis and stainless steel cab custom-designed to FDNY specifications. Delivery of the first of these new trucks is anticipated in the 1st quarter of 2011.

Specialty units

For specialty units, FDNY uses a variety of manufacturers. Its current heavy rescues, often called a 'toolbox on wheels' were built by Ferrara. In 2010, a new contract was issued for five new rescue trucks, using a chassis and stainless steel cab custom-designed to FDNY specifications. As of January 2012, the new Ferrara Rescues 1–4 are in service, while the new Rescue 5 was, until it was involved in an incident and was taken out of service for repair. All issues should be resolved soon. Other specialty units, including hazardous material units, collapse trucks, and reserve rescues are made by American LaFrance, Pierce, E-One, Freightliner, and Ferrara (HAZMAT 1). Various body types include standard heavy rescue bodies, step vans, busses and smaller units built on GMC and Ford pick up truck bodies.

FDNY battalion and division chiefs as well as EMS supervisors operate with Ford Excursions which are soon to start being replaced by GMC pick-up trucks with caps and roll out trays in the bed.[41] EMS division chiefs use Crown Victorias and Chevy Impalas.

The ambulances used by FDNY EMS are usually manufactured by Horton Ambulance, and the modules are generally mounted on Ford F-350 light truck chassis. When NYC EMS merged with the FDNY in 1996, the ambulances had their orange stripe replaced with a red, and they were manufactured by Wheeled Coach, again on Ford F-350 chassis. Some of the older ambulances were built by Southern Ambulance Builders, and mounted on Chevrolet 3500 chassis


In addition to its engine, truck, and rescue companies, FDNY operates three Class I fireboats as Marine Companies:

  • Marine 1 – Three Forty Three
  • Marine 6 – Bravest
  • Marine 9 – Fire Fighter II

Three older fireboats are kept in reserve: John D. McKean, Governor Alfred E. Smith, and Kevin C. Kane. A former FDNY Marine Unit, the John J. Harvey, is notable as having returned to active service as Marine 2 on September 11, 2001 and providing firefighting services for 80 hours following the attack.[42]

In 2010, the newly built fireboat Three Forty Three replaced the John D. McKean, which entered service in 1954, as Marine 1. A twin, 140-foot, vessel, Fire Fighter II, replaced Fire Fighter, dedicated in 1938, as Marine 9.[43] The two new boats cost $60 million, funded by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, and represented the city's first major investment in new fireboats in 50 years. The $2.4 million Bravest, commissioned on May 26, 2011, is smaller than the other two Class I boats, at 65 feet, but is able to operate in shallower waters, including those near the city's airports.

The department is also building a fleet of 14 smaller, class II fireboats, with ten 33-foot Rapid Response Fire, three 31-foot medical response and one 33-foot SCUBA boats expected to have been delivered by January 2013.[44]

Types of apparatus

Some apparatus types are indicated using color-coded patches emblazoned with company numbers on the front of firefighters' helmets.

  • Engine (firefighter helmet front insert color/officer's helmet front number color: black) is the basic firefighting apparatus. Its main job is to put water on the fire. It is responsible for securing a water supply from a hydrant or some other form and for suppressing the fire.
  • Ladder (firefighter helmet front insert color/officer's helmet front number color: red; also called a Truck): The FDNY operates three types—the 100' Rear Mounted Aerial Ladder, Tractor Drawn Aerial Ladder, and the Tower Ladder. FDNY operates 75' and 95' Tower ladder models. These are the ladders where a bucket is mounted on the end of a ladder for firefighters to stand in.
  • Squad (firefighter helmet front insert color/officer's helmet front number color: yellow) is a company that responds as a rescue engine, making it the most versatile company the FDNY offers. Members are trained in every aspect of firefighting, specialty rescue and hazardous material mitigation, with exception of SCUBA where their role is to support the Rescue company. The members of a Squad company receive a 12% hazardous material specialty pay.
  • Rescue (fire helmet front insert color/officer's helmet front number color: blue) is considered the most elite company within the FDNY community. Its main responsibilities include search and rescue, special rescues, technical rescues, confined space rescues, and high angle rescues and SCUBA. Also trained as Hazardous Material Technicians, the members of a rescue company are included in an extra 12% specialty pay.
  • Battalion is a command vehicle tasked with the responsibility of delivering a Battalion Chief to the fire scene. Once on the fire scene, the vehicle then takes on the role of a Command Vehicle, utilizing its radios and MDT equipment.
  • Division is a command vehicle tasked with the responsibility of delivering a Division (Deputy) Chief to the fire scene. Once on the fire scene, the vehicle then takes on the role of a Command Vehicle, utilizing its radios and MDT equipment.
  • Marine or Fireboat (fire helmet front insert color/officer's helmet front number color: green) is a specialized boat outfitted specifically for firefighting capabilities. Its responsibilities include suppression of all fires that occur on water, such as boat fires, pier fires, etc. A Marine Unit also assists land based companies with securing a water supply, as they have the ability to "draft" water from the rivers they operate in.
  • Haz-Mat vehicle is a vehicle that has been outfitted with special equipment to allow for the confinement, containment, suppression, and/or any other problem involving hazardous materials. Members of the Haz-Mat company are paid an extra 12% in specialty pay.
  • Mask Service Unit is a vehicle that is equipped with an SCBA replenishing system. In other words, these vehicles have the ability to re-fill the air bottles used by firefighters to breathe in a fire.
  • RAC or Recuperation And Care vehicle is specially outfitted with equipment that will enable it to provide rehabilitation to firefighters on a fireground.
  • Field Communications Unit is a vehicle that is specially equipped with communication equipment such as telephones, broadband internet, and mobile radios. Its main responsibility is to provide communication support to the on scene Incident Commander.
  • Tactical Support Unit (TSU) is a 4x4 vehicle equipped with generators and a variety of high intensity lights to aid firefighters during low light conditions. In addition, specialized equipment such as extrication tools and a six person Avon boat is also carried.
  • Thawing Unit The Thawing Units are vehicles that carry a portable steam-generating boiler; its super-heated steam melts the ice off of hoses, ladders and vehicles.
  • Brush Fire Unit is a four-wheel-drive, all-terrain vehicle used to reach hilly, remote and marshy areas to extinguish fires involving weeds, grass and other vegetation. Along with regular firefighting equipment, it carries its own water, as well as rakes, shovels, and backpack extinguishers.
  • Ambulance The New York City Fire Department staffs EMT-Basic and Paramedic Ambulances to provide emergency medical services to the city of New York. These are commonly referred to by the slang term bus.
  • Haz-Tac Ambulance 36 EMS units, known as the Hazardous Material Tactical Units (Haz-Tac Ambulances), are trained to the Haz Mat Technician level allowing them to provide emergency medical care and decontamination in a hazardous environment, in addition to their normal 911 duties.
  • Rescue Medic is an ALS, or Paramedic ambulance that are trained to the Haz Mat Technician level and also trained as Rescue Technicians, the members of a rescue medic units are included in an extra 12% speciality pay.
  • EMS Conditions Unit is a vehicle that is assigned to an Emergency Medical Service supervisor. An Emergency Medical Service supervisor oversees ambulances within his or her assigned area.
  • Haz Tac Officer's Unit is a vehicle that is assigned to an Emergency Medical Service supervisor. This Officer is trained as a Hazmat Technician and as Rescue Technician. The unit responds to speciality assignments to over see medical management at special assignments. There are two units that cover the entire City of New York 24/7.
  • EMS MERV is a vehicle that is assigned to all major medical emergencies within its borough. The Major Emergency Response Vehicle is capable of treating multiple patients at a time.
  • EMS LSU is a vehicle assigned to all medical emergencies that have multiple patients. The Logistical Support Unit carries a surplus of certain medical supplies used at MCIs, this unit is also responsible for going to retrieve spinal immobilization equipment from area hospitals.

Union representation

The Department's lieutenants, captains, battalion chiefs, deputy chiefs, medical officers and supervising fire marshals are represented by the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA), while regular firefighters and fire marshals are represented by the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA), both of which are locals of the International Association of Fire Fighters.[45] Fire Alarm Dispatchers are represented by the Fire Alarm Dispatchers Benevolent Association. EMTs, paramedics and fire protection inspectors are represented by the Uniformed EMTs & Paramedics and EMS officers are represented by the Uniform EMS Officers Union, both of which are locals of District Council 37.[46]

FDNY in literature

The Fire Department of New York has appeared a number of times within literature. "Report from Engine Co. 82" and "The Last Men Out: Life on the Edge at Rescue 2 Firehouse" are two of the most famous pieces of FDNY literature.[47][48] In addition to memorials, the FDNY has produced a number of educational materials. One of these books is the 177 page "Fire Department of New York- Forcible Entry Reference Guide- Techniques and Procedures"[49]

FDNY in film and television

The New York City Fire Department has appeared in numerous films and television shows in recent years. One of the earliest was the 1972 documentary Man Alive: The Bronx is Burning, for BBC Television. It was screened in the United Kingdom on September 27, 1972 and followed firefighters from a fire house in the South Bronx: Battalion 27, Ladder 31 and Engine 82. It chronicled the appalling conditions the firefighters worked in with roughly one emergency call per hour, and the high rates of arson and malicious calls.[50]

The documentary focused heavily on firefighter Dennis Smith who served in the South Bronx area and went on to write Report from Engine Co. 82 and a number of other books. He has become a prominent speaker on firefighting policy.[51]

In 1991, brothers Brian Hickey, a New York City firefighter and his brother Raymond produced a documentary entitled Firefighters: Brothers in Battle.[52] The film features footage of fires and rescues throughout the five boroughs of New York City, including the infamous Happy Land Social Club fire which killed 87 persons, dramatic rescues from a crashed airplane off of La Guardia Airport, and footage and interviews at Medal Day 1991. Unfortunately, Raymond died of cancer in 1993 and Brian was killed on September 11, 2001 while operating at the World Trade Center.[53] Brian last served as Captain of Rescue Company 4 in Queens.

The 2002 documentary film 9/11 features the September 11, 2001 attacks from the perspective of two amateur film makers and the members of first responders, Engine 7/Ladder 1 and Battalion 1 on Duane street in Lower Manhattan.[54] Two other documentaries include the 2005 film Brotherhood: Life in the FDNY, which focuses on Squad 252 in Brooklyn, Rescue 1 in Manhattan and Rescue 4 in Queens.

Television series about FDNY have included Rescue Me, which ran from 2004 to 2011 and depicted the fictional life of firefighters in an FDNY firehouse.[55] The NBC drama Third Watch ran from 1999 to 2005 and provided a fictionalized and dramatized depiction of the firefighters and paramedics of the FDNY and police officers of the New York City Police Department.

In the 1984 movie Ghostbusters, Ladder 8's house at 14 North Moore Street in TriBeCa was featured as the headquarters of the Ghostbusters. Ladder 8 has the sign from Ghostbusters II mounted on the wall inside the house, and is more or less resigned to fans of the franchise stopping by to take photos of the builiding and asking to pose with the sign.[56]

Ranks of the FDNY

Title Insignia (shirt collar) Insignia (dress jacket)
Chief of Department
5 Gold Bugles / 5 arm sleeve bands
Chief of Fire Operations / Chief of EMS Operations / Chief of Training / Chief of Fire Prevention
4 Gold Bugles / 4 arm sleeve bands
Assistant Chief / EMS Assistant Chief
4 Gold Bugles / 4 arm sleeve bands
Deputy Assistant Chief
4 Gold Bugles / 3 arm sleeve bands
Division Chief (Division Commander) / EMS Division Chief
3 Gold Bugles / 2 arm sleeve bands
Deputy Chief / EMS Deputy Chief (Deputy Commander to Division Chief or citywide EMS shift supervisor)
3 Gold Bugles / 2 arm sleeve bands
Battalion Chief (Battalion Commander)
2 Gold Crossed Bugles / 1 arm sleeve band
Battalion Chief
2 Gold Crossed Bugles / 1 arm sleeve band
Captain (Company Commanding Officer, and commanding officer of the firehouse if assigned to an Engine company) / EMS Captain (EMS Station commanding officer or EMS Division shift supervisor)
2 Silver Parallel Bugles* / 2 arm sleeve bands
Lieutenant (Company Officer) / EMS Lieutenant (shift supervisor, desk or conditions)
1 Silver Bugles* / 1 arm sleeve band
Firefighter (5th through 1st Class, one class being achieved for each year of service after probation up to five years) / EMT / Paramedic
Probationary Firefighter (often referred to as "Probie", as slang for probationary fire fighter) / Provisional EMT / Provisional Paramedic
  • Note: In place of Bugle(s) Captains and Lieutenants assigned to: Ladder Companies are signified by axe(s), Rescue Companies by Life gun(s), Squad Companies by crossed Ladder(s) and Stacked Tip Nozzle(s) and Marine Companies by Bugle(s) with Anchor.

See also

New York City portal
Fire portal



  • Boucher, Micheal L.; Urbanowicz, Gary R.; Melhan, Fred B., Jr. (2006). The Last Alarm: The History and Tradition of Supreme Sacrifice in the Fire Departments of New York M. T. Publishing, Inc., Evansville, Indiana
  • Costello, Augustine E. (1887). Our Firemen: A History of the New York Fire Departments, Volunteer and Paid. New York, New York: Costello
  • Daly, Charles P. (1871). On the Origin and History of the New York Fire Department. New York, New York: Unknown
  • Dunshee, Kenneth H. (1939). Enjine!~Enjine! Harold Vincent Smith for the Home Insurance Company, New York, New York
  • Dunshee, Kenneth H. (1952) As You Pass By Hastings House Publishers, New York, New York
  • Griffiths, John L. (2007). Fire Department of New York – an Operational Reference. New York, New York: Griffiths.
  • Urbanowicz, Gary R. (2002). Badges of the Bravest: A Pictorial History of Fire Departments in New York City. Turner Publishing, Paducah, KY

External links

Official websites
  • FDNY official website
  • McKinsey and Co. Report on 9/11 Response
Other websites
  • Listen to live FDNY dispatch
  • FDNY: How it got its name
  • FDNY Apparatus Pictures
  • FDNY Fire Alarm Dispatching
  • FDNY Photos
  • Uniformed Firefighters Association
  • FDNY Engine 10 and Ladder 10
  • NYFD member died 1933
  • FDNY objects in the Online Collections Database, Staten Island Historical Society
  • Medal and Award Donors
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.