For Dispatch-related questions I suggest checking out the following pages:
Frank Raffa's site: http://www.fdnewyork.com
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 at 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 can be used when 1 or more borough frequencies are being fixed or worked on.
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.
List of Frequencies can be found here https://nycfirewire.net/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: What are CIDS?
A: CIDS Critical Information Dispatch System. Alerts responding via radio or MDT to dangerous or hazardous conditions not apparent at the front of the building. Conditions covered include hazardous chemicals, liquids and substances, structural hazards, heavy fire loading, truss buildings, handicapped individuals. Other conditions may be added as required. Information is gathered by units in their districts and submitted through channels. The data is keyed to the street addrees, the system will print reports for all CIDS buildings within 3 house numbers on the same side of the street as the basic address.
Fall Back Step 1 2 & 3
What is "Fall Back Step"
During periods of inordinately heavy volume of incidents whether it is fires and or emergencies, the normal response to alarms may be adjusted according to a Fallback response mode.
Conditions requiring a change to Fallback must be identified, implemented & terminated.
How does "Fall Back Step Happen"
Conditions that can implementation of a Fallback include but are not limited to:
- 30 open Incidents, for longer than 20 minutes.
- Sustained Availability of Engine or Ladder Companies below 50%, for longer than 20 minutes.
- 2nd Alarm or greater transmitted in the borough of Staten Island
- Severe weather conditions that are either imminent or occurring, which will significantly impact activity levels
Examples: Severe thunderstorms, Tornados, Blizzards, Red flag warnings
- Any 10-66 in conjunction with a 10-60
Fall Back Step Assignments:
- Electromechanical Boxes: Nearest available unit (Engine or Ladder)
- Class-3 maximum response: 1 Engine, 1 Ladder & 1 BC
Step 2: (Includes Step 1)
- Class-3 response: Nearest available Engine or Ladder
- CO Detector: 1 Ladder or nearest available CO meter equipped unit
- Water leak: Nearest available Engine or Ladder
- SOC matrix response that requires a Structural Response: 2 Engines, 1 Ladder, 1 BC & SOC units
Step 3: (Includes Steps 1 & 2)
- Structural Responses: 2 Engines, 1 Ladder & 1 BC
On a verified second source: 3 Engines, 2 Ladders & 1 BC
- SOC matrix response that requires a Structural Response: 1 Engine, 1 Ladder, 1 BC, nearest available Rescue, Squad & nearest available SOC Support Ladder
On a verified second source: the normal SOC matrix gets filled out.
- Gas Leaks, Odors of Gas or similar odors: 1 Engine & 1 Ladder.
- Manhole Fires: 2 Engines, 1 Ladder & 1 BC.
Minimum responses, based on CIDS or Box numbers are suspended.
Responses will be based on information received.
Fallback procedures may be instituted step-by-step, or Step 2 or 3 could be opted for at the outset.
There is no response to ERS No-Contact daily from 0800-2300 hours.
The response to electromechanical boxes is 1 Engine, 24 hours a day.
Q: What is Mixer Off Message
A: A transmission from a unit in the field which the dispatcher, upon his approval, turns off the repeaters across the city, so to provide sensitive information to the dispatcher.
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).
Edited as of 11/7/22
Car 1 (Fire Commissioner)
Car 1A (Chief of Staff)
Car 1B (Executive Officer To The Fire Commissioner)
Car 1D (Fire Commissioner Security Detail)
Car 1E (Fire Commissioner Security Detail)
Car 2 (1st Deputy Fire Commissioner)
Car 2A (Executive Officer)
Car 2B (Deputy Commissioner Support Services)
Car 2C (Deputy Commissioner Public Information)
Car 2D (Deputy Commissioner Administration)
Car 2E (Deputy Commissioner For Technology)
Car 2F (Chief Medical Officer)
Car 2G (Deputy Commissioner For Legal Affairs)
Car 2H (Press Secretary)
Car 3 (Chief of Department)
Car 3A (Executive Officer To The Chief Of Department)
Car 4 (Chief of Fire Operations)
Car 4A (Assistant Chief of Operations)
Car 4B (Deputy Assistant Chief Of Operations)
Car 4C (Deputy Assistant Chief Of Operations)
Car 4D (Chief Of Counter Terrorism & Emergency Preparedness)
Car 4E (Deputy Chief Of CTTF)
Car 4F (Assistant Chief Of Operations)
Car 4G (Assistant Chief Of Operations)
Car 4I (Assistant Chief Of Operations)
Car 4J (Captain Of City Planning)
Car 4K (Executive Officer Chief Of Operations)
Car 4R (Reserve Command Chief)
Car 5 (Chief of EMS Operations)
Car 5A (Assistant Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5B (Assistant Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5C (Deputy Assistant Chief Of Central Operations)
Car 5D (Deputy Assistant Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5E (Deputy Assistant Chief Of Planning)
Car 5F (Deputy Assistant Chief Of EMS Communications)
Car 5G (Division Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5H (Division Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5I (Division Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5J (Division Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5K (Division Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5L (Division Chief Of EMS Communication)
Car 5N (Deputy Assistant Chief Of EMS North Operations)
Car 5O (Deputy Assistant Chief Of EMS Communications)
Car 5P (Division Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5Q (Division Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5R (Deputy Chief Of EMS Haz-Tac)
Car 5S (Deputy Assistant Chief Of EMS South Operations)
Car 5T (Deputy Chief)
Car 5U (Deputy Chief Of EMS Operations)
Car 5V (Deputy Chief Of EMS Communications)
Car 5W (Deputy Chief Of EMS Communications)
Car 5X (Deputy Chief Of CTDP)
Car 5Y (Deputy Chief Of Office Of Medical Affairs)
Car 6 (Manhattan Borough Commander)
Car 7 (Brooklyn Borough Commander)
Car 8 (Staten Island Borough Commander)
Car 9 (Queens Borough Commander)
Car 10 (Bronx Borough Commander)
Car 11 (Chief of Special Operations Command)
Car 11A (Chief of Rescue Operations)
Car 11B (Chief of HazMat Operations)
Car 11C (Chief of Marine Operations)
Car 11D (Chief of WMD Preparedness)
Car 11F (Foam Operations)
Car-11X (Captain of Command Tac Unit)
Car 12 (Chief of Safety Command)
Car 12A (Executive Officer To The Chief of Safety Command)
Car 12B (Safety Liaison)
Car 13 (Chief of Fire Prevention)
Car 13A (Deputy Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention)
Car 13B (Deputy Assistant Chief of Fire Prevention)
Car 14 (Chief Fire Marshal)
Car 14A (Assistant Chief Fire Marshal)
Car 15 (Chief of Training)
Car 15A (Assistant Chief of Fire Training)
Car 15B (Chief of Training Fort Totten)
Car 15E (Chief of Fire Academy)
Car 15L (Deputy Assistant Chief of EMS Academy)
Car 15M (Division Chief of EMS Academy)
Car 15N (Division Chief of EMS Academy)
Car 15O (Deputy Chief of EMS Academy)
Car 15P (Deputy Chief of EMS Academy)
Car 16A (Assistant Commissioner Bureau of Communications)
Car 16B (Director of Communications)
Car 16C (Director of Fire Dispatch Operations)
Car 16D (Deputy Director of Fire Dispatch Operations)
Car 16E (Deputy Director of Fire Dispatch Operations)
Car 16G (SFAD of Field Comm. Unit)
Car 16J (Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher Tech Services & Accreditation)
Car 16K (Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher Brooklyn)
Car 16L (Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher PSAC 2)
Car 16M (Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher Manhattan)
Car 16P (Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher JOC)
Car 16Q (Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher Queens)
Car 16R (Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher Staten Island)
Car 16S (Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher PSAC 1)
Car 16T (Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher Training)
Car 16X (Chief Fire Alarm Dispatcher Bronx)
Car 17 (Chief of Personnel)
Car 17A (Chief of Bureau of Personnel)
Car 17B (Fire Liaison to NYPD)
Car 22 (Assistant Commissioner Fleet Services)
Car 22A (Executive Director of Fleet Services)
Car 22B (Director of Fleet Services)
Car 22C (Director of Fleet Services)
Car 22D (Deputy Director of Fleet Services)
Car 22E (Deputy Director of Fleet Services)
Car 22F (Supervisor of Mechanics)
Car 22G (Supervisor of Mechanics)
Car 22H (Supervisor of Mechanics)
Car 23 (Public Information Press Officer)
Car 23D (Press Duty Car)
Car 23F (Forensic Photo Car)
Car 24 (Director of Technical Services)
Car 24A (Deputy Director of Technical Services)
Car 24B (Director of Technical Services MEU)
Car 24C (Director of Technical Services FTE)
Car 30 (Deputy Chief Medical Office)
Car 31 (Deputy Chief Medical Officer Annual Med)
Car 31A (Deputy Chief Medical Officer WTC)
Car 31B (Bureau of Health Services)
Car 32 (Medical Officer Bronx & Manhattan)
Car 33 (Medical Officer Brooklyn, Queens & Staten Island)
Car 35 (Director of Counseling Service Unit)
Car 36A (Chaplain)
Car 36B (Chaplain)
Car 36C (Chaplain)
Car 36D (Chaplain)
Car 36F (Chaplain)
Car 36G (Chaplain)
Car 36H (Chaplain)
Car 36I (Chaplain)
Car-90 (Mayor of New York)
Car 421 (Acting Command Chief)
Car 422 (Acting Command Chief)
Q: What is the FieldCom? What's the difference between FieldCom 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. The FieldCom is housed with E-233 & L-176 25 Rockaway Ave Brooklyn
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.
Mobile Command Center 1 is located at E-233 with a back up of E-230
Mobile Command Center 2 is located at E-93 with a back up of E-88
Incident Management Vehicle is located at E-262 with a back up of E-259
Mobile Operations Center is located at E-207
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, 5 trucks (Includes 1 Fast Truck), 5 battalion chiefs, 1 division chief, 1 RAC Unit, 1 tactical support unit, 3 satellite companies, 2 Rescues, Squad, FieldCom HazMat 1, HazMat Battalion, the nearest Hosewagon w/ Engine Company, the nearest Foam company, 2 Marines Companies, Marine Battalion, Rescue Battalion, Mask Service Unit, Rac Manager. 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 (Boxes 8171,8172) in Manhattan may be accompanied by Box 8550. Which sends an engine, truck, & chief to each standby at East 30th St & 1st Ave in Manhattan. It also sends an engine, truck, chief & rescue to 54th Ave & 2nd St in Queens.
(If R4 is unavailable nearest available rescue (2-3-5) is to be assigned)
-Jacobi Hospital Medivac Stand By Box 8724 Foam Unit w/ Transport Engine, Purple K Unit w/ Transport Engine, 1 Ladder & 1 Battalion.
-Mount Vernon Mutual Aide Box 3826 Staging at Provost Ave & East 233rd St
-Westchester Mutual Aide Box 4400 Staging at Engine 38, Ladder 51's Quarters
-Westchester Mutual Aide Box 3000 Staging at Engine 81 Ladder 46's Quarters
-New Jersey Via Holland Tunnel Box 500 Staging at Ladder 8's Quarters
-New Jersey Via Lincoln Tunnel Box 600 Staging at Engine 34 Ladder 21's Quarters
-New Jersey Via George Washington Bridge Box 1300 Staging at Engine 93 Ladder 45's Quarters
-New Jersey Via Bayonne Bridge Box 5001 Staging at Engine 157 Ladder 80's Quarters
-New Jersey Via Goethals Bridge Box 5002 Staging at Engine 166 Ladder 86's Quarters
-New Jersey Via Outerbridge Crossing Bridge Box 5003 Staging at Engine 164 Ladder 84's Quarters
-Long Island Mutual Aide Box 500 Staging at Engine 313 Ladder 164's Quarters
-Long Island Mutual Aide Box 600 Staging at Engine 304 Ladder 162's Quarters
-Long Island Mutual Aide Box 700 Staging at Engine 314's Quarters
On January 7th 2019 FDNY lost FF Steven Pollard while operating at an MVA on the belt parkway.
Since that sad event every time a Box is transmitted for that stretch of the Highway along that Bridge an announcement is made warning of the gap between the East & West bound roadways.
"Units responding to Box XXXX an open gap exists between the elevated roadways. Units shall exercise extreme caution when conducting operations which require members to cross over the center concrete barriers."
Boxes with "Open Gaps"
Box 8107 & 8108
Williamsburg Bridge (Between Inner & Outer Roadways)
Belt Pkwy Between Ocean Pkwy & Cropsey Ave
Mill Basin Bridge
Any Incident on the Belt Pkwy (Between Rockaway Pkwy & Flatbush Ave)
LIE at Woodhaven Blvd (Between Inner & Outer Roadways)
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).
Reserved Rig & Where it is
E508 The Rock
E510 The Rock
Gov. Island & SOC Island
E519 Governors Island
E521 Soc Island
E525 Governors Island
L709 Governors Island
L710 The Rock
R6 Soc Island
R7 Soc Island
Sq800 Soc Island
HMSU-2 Soc Island
R4 Soc Island
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 Companies that are High Pressure as well as Three Stage Pumpers
Manhattan Battalion 1
Engine 6 (3 Stage)
Engine 10 (3 Stage)
Manhattan Battalion 2
Manhattan Battalion 7
Engine 26 (3 Stage)
Engine 34 (3 Stage)
Manhattan Battalion 8
Engine 8 (3 Stage)
Engine 65 (3 Stage)
Manhattan Battalion 9
Engine 54 (3 Stage)
Manhattan Battalion 10
Manhattan Battalion 11
Manhattan Battalion 13
Bronx Battalion 15
Bronx Battalion 27
Brooklyn Battalion 28
Brooklyn Battalion 31
Brooklyn Battalion 32
Brooklyn Battalion 35
Brooklyn Battalion 57
Queens Battalion 45
Engine 258 (3 Stage)
Queens Battalion 49
HCO posted this in the old thread:
8 engines, replacing the 6 former Field Comm Support Units, who work with the Resource Unit Leader & assist the IC in planning & implementing the communications plan at major incidents. They carry 400 & 800 MHZ radios, also an enhanced post radio i.e. one with a console used with cable reels to enable operation of the remote radio from a street level command post. Those Engines Are E7 E35 E46 E246 E279 E332 E263 E303
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 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.