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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    Unless the numbers correlate to the stations that they are being dispatched from, then no, it isn't complicated. But if a station has rigs numbered differently than where they are housed, it is complicated.

    FM1
    How is it complicated? The City of Philadelphia does it every day. "Box 7568, Ascott Place and London Road, Fire reported at 18950 Ascott Place, a dwelling, the following companies will respond....Engine 58, Engine 62, Engine 18, Engine 22, Ladder 34, Ladder 31, Battalion 13 and Battalion 12."

    A partial listing of stations:
    -Engine 62 & Ladder 34
    -Engine 71 & Ladder 28
    -Engine 22 & Ladder 31
    -Engine 58
    -Engine 18
    -Engine 36 & Ladder 20
    -Engine 7 & Ladder 10

    Many other East Coast cities do it this way, and have been doing it this way for a long time! Philadelphia in fact since March 15, 1871
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    I'm with Buff on this, in the North East there is no problem. In fact we don't even "number" our stations. The quarters of Engine 1 and Truck 5 are called, Engine 1 and Truck 5 or referred to as the street or intersection the building is at. If Engine 2 is housed alone its just Engine 2 or called South St.

    Just like Buff said the dispatcher just lists the companies that are going on the alarm. Nothing confusing or complicated about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    How is it complicated? The City of Philadelphia does it every day. "Box 7568, Ascott Place and London Road, Fire reported at 18950 Ascott Place, a dwelling, the following companies will respond....Engine 58, Engine 62, Engine 18, Engine 22, Ladder 34, Ladder 31, Battalion 13 and Battalion 12."

    A partial listing of stations:
    -Engine 62 & Ladder 34
    -Engine 71 & Ladder 28
    -Engine 22 & Ladder 31
    -Engine 58
    -Engine 18
    -Engine 36 & Ladder 20
    -Engine 7 & Ladder 10

    Many other East Coast cities do it this way, and have been doing it this way for a long time! Philadelphia in fact since March 15, 1871
    And here, lets make more complicated less complicated.....If the job goes all hands....."BEEEEEEEEEP....Attention Deputy 2, Rescue 1, Ladder 20 RIT, and Medic 6, respond on box 7568, Ascott Place and London Road, fire located at 18950 Ascott Place....."
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    First off ""Box 7568, Ascott Place and London Road," isn't what we use. But that's a different story. (not being naive, but is the "box 7568" a fire phone in a certain area, that made the call???)

    Otherwise, I do understand what you mean by calling what your getting, is what it is.

    An engine is an engine, a truck is a truck, etc, etc. As well you could have them numbered differently, yet housed at the same station.

    That is what confused me. We have our stations numbered, and each truck, engine, med, etc, is called by that apparatus, and that station number. When I have to do repairs on a certain rig, say Engine 61, I know that it will be at station 61, as well, truck 61 and Med 61 are also stationed there.

    What I don't understand, is the reasoning of having different numbered rigs at the same house. And the reason you don't number your stations???

    FM1
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    This won't be accurate in every detail, but it will give you an idea of how things came to be as they are.

    For the answers we have to go back into history. The box numbers come from when there actually were fire alarm boxes in Philadelphia and before telephones were commonplace. Most street corners had boxes. A person discovering a fire went to the nearest street corner having a box and operated it, sending the alarm. Each box covered a certain area, ususally not more than a block or two. Some cover just a specific building.

    For the most part, there's no logic to how the box numbers are assigned. I have to believe that as the city grew and boxes were added, they just took the next available number. There are a few exceptions. An example of this would be Box 1776, Independence Hall.

    When the problem of false alarms became so rampant that the only solution was to remove the street boxes, the designations remained. There is no longer and actual box at the corner of Ascott Place & London Rd., but when there was, that was its number and an alarm for that area is still transmitted that way.

    Some of the counties around Philadelphia have adopted a similar system, but in most (but not all) cases, have never had street boxes. It's referred to as a "Phantom Box" system. There's a little bit (very little) of system to the numbers there. In Bucks County, the first digit(s) of the box number are that of the first due station. In Montgomery County, which Heaven forbid, would never do anything the same as Bucks, the first digits are usually (but not always) the number given to the municipality.

    Likewise, the numbering of companies is rooted in history. Before the career Philadelphia Fire Department took over for the volunteers on March 15, 1871, each company was an individual corporate entity. Each one had a corporate charter from the Commonwealth (most of today's volunteer fire companies in Pennslyvania, ours included, still do). At that time, the companies had names, Weccacoe, Union, Hibernia, Good Intent, etc. Each corporation owned their own station as well. Each one was an engine company, a hose company or a ladder company.

    When the city took over they acquired, usually by purchasing, some of the properties and equipment of the volunteer companies. Many of the members hired on, also. They did away with the names of the companies and assigned company numbers, either engine company or truck company. Actually, engines were numbered and truck companies had letter designations. Engine 1, 2, etc. and Truck A, B.

    At some time in the 20th century the truck companies were given numbers instead of letters (probably around the time that they ran out of letters). Also, they began to be called "Ladders" instead of "Trucks." But each still operated from its own station. As years went by, some companies were moved into the same station.

    In the mid 1950s, during the Clark and later the Dilworth administrations (Joseph Clark and Richardson Dilworth, mayors) a number of new stations were built and all of the remaining ladder companies that were in their own stations were moved in with engine companies. But the company numbers were never changed, and it remains that way to this day. Many of the large eastern cities, New York and Boston, for example are the same.

    I did this without consulting my copy of "Hike Out," a truly great history of the Philadelphia Fire Department. But I'm sure that Buff will be in any needed corrections shortly.
    Last edited by chiefengineer11; 09-01-2009 at 10:32 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    This won't be accurate in every detail, but it will give you an idea of how things came to be as they are.

    For the answers we have to go back into history. The box numbers come from when there actually were fire alarm boxes in Philadelphia and before telephones were commonplace. Most street corners had boxes. A person discovering a fire went to the nearest street corner having a box and operated it, sending the alarm. Each box covered a certain area, ususally not more than a block or two. Some cover just a specific building. schools, hospitals, etc.

    For the most part, there's no logic to how the box numbers are assigned. I have to believe that as the city grew and boxes were added, they just took the next available number. There are a few exceptions. An example of this would be Box 1776, Independence Hall. There is a system. Basically the lower the number, the older the box (and neighborhood.) Double digit (example, box #34 is 4th & Arch, home of Engine 8 and Ladder 2 oh I'm sorry, Engine 8, which can trace it's lineage to Ben Franklin was disbanded this year.) Most 7000 series boxes are north of Cottman Avenue. 8000 series are north of Welsh Road.There are exceptions, such as Box 1776.

    When the problem of false alarms became so rampant that the only solution was to remove the street boxes, the designations remained. There is no longer and actual box at the corner of Ascott Place & London Rd., Because it is hanging on my garage wall, along with Box 5882 (Frankford & Megargee)but when there was, that was its number and an alarm for that area is still transmitted that way.

    Some of the counties around Philadelphia have adopted a similar system, but in most (but not all) cases, have never had street boxes. It's referred to as a "Phantom Box" system. There's a little bit (very little) of system to the numbers there. In Bucks County, the first digit(s) of the box number are that of the first due station. In Montgomery County, which Heaven forbid, would never do anything the same as Bucks, the first digits are usually (but not always) the number given to the municipality.

    Likewise, the numbering of companies is rooted in history. Before the career Philadelphia Fire Department took over for the volunteers on March 15, 1871, each company was an individual corporate entity. Each one had a corporate charter from the Commonwealth (most of today's volunteer fire companies in Pennslyvania, ours included, still do). At that time, the companies had names, Weccacoe, Union, Hibernia, Good Intent, etc. Each corporation owned their own station as well. Each one was an engine company, a hose company or a ladder company.

    When the city took over they acquired, usually by purchasing, some of the properties and equipment of the volunteer companies. Many of the members hired on, also. They did away with the names of the companies and assigned company numbers, either engine company or truck company. Actually, engines were numbered and truck companies had letter designations. Engine 1, 2, etc. and Truck A, B.

    At some time in the 20th century the truck companies were given numbers instead of letters (probably around the time that they ran out of letters). Only went to Truck "F", the modern day Ladder 6. Also, they began to be called "Ladders" instead of "Trucks." But each still operated from its own station. As years went by, some companies were moved into the same station.

    In the mid 1950s, during the Clark and later the Dilworth administrations (Joseph Clark and Richardson Dilworth, mayors) a number of new stations were built and all of the remaining ladder companies that were in their own stations were moved in with engine companies. But the company numbers were never changed, and it remains that way to this day. Many of the large eastern cities, New York and Boston, for example are the same.

    I did this without consulting my copy of "Hike Out," a truly great history of the Philadelphia Fire Department. But I'm sure that Buff will be in any needed corrections shortly.
    If we really wanted to mess with FireMech's head, should we tell him about how most of the companies in New York City were all seperate houses, seperated by a solid brick wall down the center? To this day, some houses maintain seperation, just for company pride, historical and tradition. Engine 88 and Ladder 38, on Belmont Avenue in the Bronx is one example- one building that at one time had a solid brick wall down the center. Now has openings for members to pass through, and the third floor has been opened up all the way, but they still maintain seperate bunkrooms, kitchens, and offices for each company. Whoever's night is is to cook, is the kitchen where the meal is prepared and eaten. Everyone helps clean up.

    http://www.engine88ladder38.com A great website with the history of the companies as well as photos old and new of the firehouse.

    Or how about the old firehouse on Mulberry Street in Newark, NJ. where Rescue 1 used to be housed? It was actually FOUR firehouses in one- Water Tower 1, a hose company I think, Truck 1, and out the side came the horse and buggy for the Deputy Chief of Dept.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 09-01-2009 at 11:21 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    First off ""Box 7568, Ascott Place and London Road," isn't what we use. But that's a different story. (not being naive, but is the "box 7568" a fire phone in a certain area, that made the call???)

    Otherwise, I do understand what you mean by calling what your getting, is what it is.

    An engine is an engine, a truck is a truck, etc, etc. As well you could have them numbered differently, yet housed at the same station.

    That is what confused me. We have our stations numbered, and each truck, engine, med, etc, is called by that apparatus, and that station number. When I have to do repairs on a certain rig, say Engine 61, I know that it will be at station 61, as well, truck 61 and Med 61 are also stationed there.

    What I don't understand, is the reasoning of having different numbered rigs at the same house. Because they are seperate companies, with seperate identities, seperate rosters, seperate Captains and Lieutenants, and seperate members. I believe in your system, which is primarily used in the midwest and the left coast, there is one officer per shift (a captain) and a bunch of indians, all under the shift captain. Here, you have ONE captain, and three or four Lieutenants, who are the individual Company Commanders.And the reason you don't number your stations??? Because there would be fistfights between the Engine and the Truck over who's identity to use. So if the firehouse contains Engine 62 and Ladder 34, it's usually referred to as "Sixty Twos and Thirty Fours." Or "Eight Eight and Three Eight."

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    Thanks for the education and history lesson. I'll check out (read) the Bronx station. I gave it a quick look, and chuckled at the building number(s) 2223+2225.

    Thanks again guys.

    FM1
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    Thanks for the education and history lesson. I'll check out (read) the Bronx station. I gave it a quick look, and chuckled at the building number(s) 2223+2225.

    Thanks again guys.

    FM1
    If you ever come to the area, I'll take you to 88/38 as it is one of my regular "stops" when showing visitors around. And for you, we'll head over to FDNY Shops, which is also a good buff stop- more apparatus there on the floor than most departments have in their entire fleets. (and inside a building so big that you can raise an aerial inside it....)
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    Also to consider in modern times, is many of the cities in the North East are as big as they are going to get and their fire dept.s are slowly and steadily losing companies.

    Part of this may be two single houses near each other relocating into a new double house, or one company moving in with another. As Buff said, each individual company has its own long and storied past, so the men won't be too happy if you disband their company just to renumber it. Also there might already be a company with that number designation somewhere else in the city.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    If you ever come to the area, I'll take you to 88/38 as it is one of my regular "stops" when showing visitors around. And for you, we'll head over to FDNY Shops, which is also a good buff stop- more apparatus there on the floor than most departments have in their entire fleets. (and inside a building so big that you can raise an aerial inside it....)
    That Sir, I will take you up on. Especially the FDNY shop.

    FM1
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    It may have already been stated as I did not read all of the replys.

    We use a 3 part system here first 2 numbers are the last two numbers of the year the truck was made I.E. 2003 would be 03. Then we started at 1 for the next set of numbers and just started counting up. Then the last part is the classification for the unit

    E for engine
    TA for tanker
    TS for tactical support
    U for utility
    T for trailer
    R for rescue

    So a typical number would look like this 06-391E (actuall Number)

    Just read another post. We have 63 indavidually numbered stations each unit in the station is reffered to as the type of unit and station number rather than it's identification number. For instance in my station #59 we have Engine 59, Tanker 59, Utlity 59, Tactical Support 59, And Brush 59
    Last edited by MColley; 09-25-2009 at 03:07 PM. Reason: addition

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    In my area it goes like this.
    Example: Station 61 1st out engine = Engine 61, 2nd out engine = Engine 61-1.

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    First off I did not read all the replies. It is ridiculous to even have this conversation. It certainly is not a wise decision to change a numbering system that everyone is use to unless there is some underlying circumstance. I hope everyone can agree on that basic principle. However, I will say that most areas are forced to follow whatever the county fire coordinator wants so don't plan on making changes without the counties approval. But again it is not a smart idea to change a numerbing system that people know!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgfd65 View Post
    However, I will say that most areas are forced to follow whatever the county fire coordinator wants so don't plan on making changes without the counties approval!
    And what if we all get together and tell the County Coordinator to stuff his numbering system up his ***?
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    And what if we all get together and tell the County Coordinator to stuff his numbering system up his ***?
    Well that's your decision I guess but personally I treat my command with a little more respect. I know that seems to be a foreign word these days on the fireground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgfd65 View Post
    Well that's your decision I guess but personally I treat my command with a little more respect. I know that seems to be a foreign word these days on the fireground.
    Fireground incident commander or county coordinator? There is a difference! Our County Fire Chief's Association told our county coordinator about 10-12 years ago we were going to plain speak, and if they didn't like it, "TFB."
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    PGFD65,

    Departments across the US are run many, many different ways. In some (as Buff said), the Company Chiefs make the decision and the county must follow it. In others, the County Chief makes the decision, and the Company Chiefs must follow it. Don't even mention Fire Commissioners, Department Coordinators, EMA folks, and the list goes on and on.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgfd65 View Post
    Well that's your decision I guess but personally I treat my command with a little more respect. I know that seems to be a foreign word these days on the fireground.
    if some guy in an office all day wants to renumber my company, he has lost a lot of respect. how about a little respect for the comapnies?



    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    PGFD65,

    Departments across the US are run many, many different ways. In some (as Buff said), the Company Chiefs make the decision and the county must follow it. In others, the County Chief makes the decision, and the Company Chiefs must follow it. Don't even mention Fire Commissioners, Department Coordinators, EMA folks, and the list goes on and on.
    Not to mention in older parts of the country. In the early 1800s there wasn't much planning on who would get what numbers as the growing villages and cities were forming their fire forces. It was a build as you go kind of thing.

    Its a lot easier to design the FD how you want it when you have the organizational model before the FD is in place. Its hard to impose the station number matches company number in the older north eastern cities. Its easier in the midwest, southwest, where the growth in the city and the FD has been in the last 20-30 years and you can shape the course while the FD is growing. Not once its already grown and existed for 100+ years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pgfd65 View Post
    First off I did not read all the replies. It is ridiculous to even have this conversation. It certainly is not a wise decision to change a numbering system that everyone is use to unless there is some underlying circumstance. I hope everyone can agree on that basic principle. However, I will say that most areas are forced to follow whatever the county fire coordinator wants so don't plan on making changes without the counties approval. But again it is not a smart idea to change a numerbing system that people know!
    Funny, it WAS our County that decided, back in the early 80's to renumber all stations and apparatus in the County. Of course, they could not do it similar to any of their neighboring counties.

    We used to be station #1 (as we were the first in the county), now we are 42.
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    Engine 11 "The Big Red Cat" works for us! She purrs so pretty.

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    This really hurts my brain!! You guys do whatever you want. Iam glad i dont have to try to remember all those extra #'s on the side of a truck.

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    Station 15
    engine 15-1, 15-2, 15-3
    truck 15-1
    tanker 15-1
    etc.....
    chief 1501, 1502, 1503, etc....

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