Frequently Asked Questions


Why does a fire engine respond to my home when I ask for an ambulance?

The City of Stamford Fire & Rescue Department performs the critical first responder function of the tiered EMS system. All companies are staffed by firefighters crossed trained as emergency medical technicians with defibrillation skills. Each engine company carries a full compliment of basic life support equipment as well as an automatic defibrillator. Truck companies and the rescue company carry the same equipment minus the defibrillator. Eventually all companies will carry defibrillators. SFRD responds to all EMS calls in which the first responder element is required. Upon arrival FF/EMTs assess and treat patients until the arrival of a paramedic unit from Stamford EMS. At this point SFRD members become part of the ALS team and assist the paramedics in delivering their care. In many cases fire rescue personnel may accompany SEMS personnel enroute to the hospital.

SFRD responds to all emergency medical calls in which rapid intervention may be required to save a life. Examples include, but are not limited to: cardiac and respiratory arrest, altered mental states, severe bleeding, medical emergencies (chest pain, difficulty breathing, diabetic emergencies, poisoning, etc.), falls, motor vehicle accidents, industrial and construction accidents, and other serious problems. The companies also respond if there is an anticipated delay in the arrival of the paramedic units.

Many citizens are surprised to see a fire rescue company arrival at the scene of a medical call. When an SFRD unit pulls up they can rest assured that a group of highly-trained and experienced FF/EMT-Ds have arrived and will administer quality basic life support until the arrival of a paramedic unit.

All emergency calls are received by highly trained telecommunicators who are located at the combined public safety dispatch center at the Stamford Government Center at 888 Washington Boulevard. The information is placed on the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. The call is then routed to a public safety dispatcher (PSD) who determines which resources (fire rescue and/or EMS) should respond and dispatches the companies to the incident. The PSD assigned to the fire rescue/EMS dispatch position is supervised by a uniformed fire rescue captain or lieutenant who is also qualified as a PSD. The fire rescue officer is responsible to assure that dispatch procedures for the appropriate agencies are followed.


Who am I talking to when I call 911 in an emergency situation?

All emergency calls are received by highly trained telecommunications who are located at the combined public safety dispatch center at the Stamford Government Center at 888 Washington Boulevard. The information is placed on the computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. The call is then routed to a public safety dispatcher (PSD) who determines which resources (fire rescue and/or EMS) should respond and dispatches the companies to the incident. The PSD assigned to the fire rescue/EMS dispatch position is supervised by a uniformed fire rescue captain or lieutenant who is also qualified as a PSD. The fire rescue officer is responsible to assure that dispatch procedures for the appropriate agencies are followed.


How many firefighters respond to my home when I have a fire?

Upon the receipt of a report of a fire in a private home, other than via an automatic fire alarm, the first alarm assignment is three engine companies, one truck company, the heavy rescue company, and the deputy chief. The average number of firefighters is twenty two (22). This number can vary due to the different staffing levels of the different companies:

  • U-3: 1 deputy chief, 1 aide (Incident Command Vehicle)
  • E-1: 1 officer, 3 firefighters
  • E-2: 1 officer, 3 firefighters
  • E-3: 1 officer, 3 firefighters
  • E-4: 1 officer, 4 firefighters
  • E-5: 1 officer, 4 firefighters
  • E-6: 1 officer, 3 firefighters
  • T-1: 1 officer, 3 firefighters
  • T-2: 3 firefighters
  • T-3: 3 firefighters
  • R-1: 1 officer, 3 firefighters

The number can also vary depending on the type of call or building involved. EMS calls, small exterior fires, public assistance calls, elevator rescues, and minor hazmat calls usually involve the response of a single company. Motor vehicle accidents, industrial or construction accidents, or other calls involving potential entrapment call for the first due engine company and the heavy rescue company. Automatic fire alarms, in low risk occupancies, receive a limited-response assignment of 2 engines, 1 truck, and the deputy chief. Reports of smoke or fire receive the same response listed for the private home above. High hazard locations (hospitals, schools, nursing homes, etc.) receive 3 engines, two trucks, the rescue, and the deputy chief.

Limited response boxes are automatically upgraded to full response boxes if a report of smoke and/or fire is received. The incident commander can also call for additional alarms to bring additional personnel and equipment to the scene.


What should I do when I am in my car and see a fire apparatus responding to a call with light and sirens?

When you are driving your car and you see and/or hear fire rescue apparatus approaching you should pull your vehicle over to the right and stop. Fire rescue apparatus try to always pass on the left so it is critical that you move to the right side. You should not pull out until you are sure the there are no more emergency vehicles coming up on you. A safe practice to consider, especially with late model vehicles, is to always leave the driver’s window slightly open. Newer vehicles are insulated for sound. This combined with stereo radios may prevent you from hearing approaching vehicles. Keeping the window open helps assure that you would be able to hear the sirens of approaching emergency vehicles.


How many firefighters respond to a report of a fire?See “How many firefighters respond to my home when I have a fire?”.


How many calls do you go on per day?The SFRD responds to approximately 6000 incidents per year from which comes an average of 16.4 runs per day.


Does the firehouse give tours and fire safety classes?

Yes. The SFRD encourages the public to visit the fire rescue stations and see our equipment and speak to our personnel. We ask that if you have a large group that you make an appointment for the tour. Otherwise you can stop by any day. The Office of Public Information and Relations can also make arrangements for fire safety programs to be brought to your location. You can contact the division at 977-5500


How much water do you carry on a fire engine?

All engine companies of the SFRD carry 500 gallons of water. Truck Company #1, which operates a 1996 Sutphen 100′ tower ladder with a 1500 GPM pump, carries 300 gallons.


How much water does it take to put out a room and contents fire?

In an average sized residential room of 10′ x 10′, and under ideal conditions, it would take 8 gallons of water per minute to extinguish a fire in this room. This depends on the water reaching all burning areas in the room and being completely converted to steam. Under normal conditions it takes more water because it is difficult to reach all burning material in a room. Usually water is applied into the room to darken it down and then the stream is shut down. The firefighters then overhaul the materials to find hidden fire and apply more water but in small quantities. Statistically 75% of all fires are extinguished with 250 gallons of water or less.


How do firefighter get to know the city streets?

Part of a firefighter’s regular training is street familiarization drills. These are done both in quarters and out in the field. The companies get out into the neighborhoods as often as possible to become familiar with the layout of streets and the various homes and businesses located on them.


How often do SFRD firefighters train?SFRD firefighters train on a daily basis. These daily drills encompass all aspect of the fire rescue service. From time to time the department will bring in outside contractors to perform specialized training such as confined space and trench rescue.


Who does SFRD serve?All the citizens of and visitors to the City of Stamford! The SFRD provides fire prevention, fire suppression, rescue, EMS, and HazMat services to the downtown “A” tax district. Engine Co. #6 has been special temporarily detailed to provide additional coverage for the northern fire districts and operates out of the Long Ridge Fire Company station #2 on High Ridge road. In addition Rescue Co. #1 automatically responds to all water rescue and hazardous materials incidents throughout the entire city to assist the five combination departments in the northern districts.


<What kind of training do SFRD firefighters have?

When hired all new probationary firefighters attend the SFRD Probationary Firefighter’s School. This is a twelve week training program that is designed to prepare the new firefighter to become a part of Stamford’s fire rescue team. Upon completion of the program the new firefighters receive the following certifications: Firefighter I, EMT-D, CPR, HazMat Awareness and Operational, & Basic Water Safety. They also receive training in utility emergencies, railroad emergencies, aircraft rescue and firefighting, and human relations. During the program the attitudes of discipline, pride, safety, and service are instilled in all students. Upon completion the graduates are assigned to field companies to complete 9 more months of probationary evaluations.

After graduation and assignment to the companies, firefighters continuously train throughout their careers. Daily training held in each station maintains basic and advanced skills in fire suppression, emergency medical techniques, rescue, apparatus operations, and other related topics. Most members are certified Firefighter II and III certified and many others are certified fire and EMS instructors, pump and aerial operators, hazmat technicians, rescue SCUBA divers, technical rescue specialists, and fire officer I and II.

All EMS training is performed by SFRD state certified EMS-Instructors.


Are all fire stations staffed 24 hour a day?

Yes. There are always at least 42 SFRD firefighters on duty at any time. All five stations are continuously staffed. In the case of a major incident, mutual aid companies are calls to provide coverage at city stations. Three reserve engines and one reserve truck are also activated and staffed by off duty members who are called back to duty.


How are firefighters alerted to an emergency call?

There are three ways that city fire rescue companies are alerted to respond to emergency calls. The first is a radio tone alert system. The dispatcher activates a tone which opens up the radios in the responding stations and turns on the station lights. The dispatcher announces the alarm and the companies respond. Simultaneously a computer printer installed at the watch desk of each station prints a run sheet which has all the data available from the CAD system on that particular incident. In the case of radio failure the printers function as a back up. The third method of alerting the stations is via direct telephone lines from the dispatch center to each station.


Where should I store my propane tanks?

You should always store your propane tanks outdoors. Storing propane tanks within a structure is extremely dangerous due to propane’s explosive properties. If security is a problem the tanks could be secured to a fixed object with a chain and padlock. Many people place their propane barbecue grills in their garage for the winter. The safe way to store it is to either buy a grill cover and leave it outside or remove the propane tank and store the tank outdoors.


How do I dispose of my old propane tanks?

You can dispose of your old propane cylinders by bringing them to your propane dealer and for a fee they can properly dispose of it. Another option is to bring the cylinder to a hazardous waste collection site. The city sponsors a hazardous waste day once a year in October. Watch for an announcement in The Advocate for dates and times. You should never dispose of old propane cylinders by throwing them in the garbage or abandoning them.


How far do your ladders reach?

The tallest ladder operated by the SFRD is the 106′ aerial of Truck Co. #3 operation out of Station #3 on the city’s west side.


How often should I change the batteries in my smoke detector?

A safe practice is to replace the batteries in your smoke detectors on the same days that you change your clocks in April and October. Remember: Change your clocks change your batteries!


Is my fire alarm connected directly to the fire department?

Coming Soon!


How do I dispose of Hazardous Materials?

Coming Soon!


Why do you go inside to fight a fire?

Coming Soon!


Do cars explode when they get into accidents (like on TV)?

Coming Soon!