Monroe County (NY) Rochester City FD

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City of Rochester FD

The Rochester FD sends single companies on non-fire calls and on smaller fires, such as car or rubbish fires. A single company is sent on an "in service" basis for a residential water problem. Water problems in commercial occupancies (including apartment buildings) get the closest company, the Protectives (salvage company - RFD's only volunteer unit), and a Battalion Chief on an emergency basis.

A single company consists of an Engine or a Quint/Midi combination. Beginning in July of 1992, the standard structural assignment in Rochester was changed to 3 companies and a Battalion Chief. A new Fire Chief took over on June 28, 1999, so other changes have been implemented as well.

For a confirmed fire, the Protectives, Rescue 17 and Line Deputy Chief are dispatched to provide additional manpower and supervision. RFD has implemented the use of FAST (Firefighter Assisted Search Team) response, consisting of a single company. When Rescue 17 is tied up on a call, the next closest Engine company to the fire scene responds as "attack squad" manpower. When the Engines are unavailable, a Quint/Midi company is sent instead.

A Second (or higher) Alarm in Rochester is an additional 2 companies. The higher ranking fire department supervisors respond to greater alarm fires.

During multiple alarm fires, a Restricted Alarm is declared. This causes all regular fire dispatching for the City to be done on Channel 2 (154.25 MHz), while operations at the fire scene remain on Channel 1 (154.13 MHz). The Restricted Alarm was expanded to cover any working fire in early 2001 as part of an upgraded accountability system. The air time is needed for companies assigned to various fireground sectors to keep the incident commander abreast of their status.

The Rochester Fire Department has seen some changes in its style of operation and more are in the works. There was semi-official talk about closing most or all of the single engine company stations and moving the engines into stations occupied by Quint/Midi pairs. These houses could be dispatched as a station response or as a Task Force. What appears to be happening now (2010) is a return to traditional Engine and Truck companies and retirement of the Quints and Midis.

The Department now has MDC-1200 digital status capability in all line apparatus. By pushing one of eight buttons, the driver can report routine status changes (enroute, on scene, ambulance on scene, available in quarters, available by radio, clear from scene, and out of service). Combining this capability with the Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) Mobile Data Terminal (MDT) system, RFD is able to handle a simple response such as an EMS call with no voice traffic being sent over the dispatch channel! (This system is likely to expand beyond the City in the near future.)

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