Chicago Fire Department

The Chicago Fire Department (CFD) provides fire suppression, rescue services, Hazardous Materials Response services and emergency medical response services to the city of Chicago, Illinois, United States, under the jurisdiction of the Mayor of Chicago. The Chicago Fire Department is the third largest municipal fire department in the United States after the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) and Cal Fire. It is also one of the oldest major organized fire departments in the nation.

Chicago Fire Department (CFD)
Chicago CFD Logo.png
"We're There When You Need Us"
Operational area
CountryUnited States
StateIllinois
City Chicago
Address3510 South Michigan Avenue
Coordinates41°49′49″N 87°37′26″W / 41.83022640°N 87.62380810°W / 41.83022640; -87.62380810Coordinates: 41°49′49″N 87°37′26″W / 41.83022640°N 87.62380810°W / 41.83022640; -87.62380810[1]
Agency overview
EstablishedAugust 2, 1858; 163 years ago (1858-08-02)[2]
Annual calls888,110 (2018)[3]
Employees5,173 (2017)[3]
CommissionerAnnette Nance Holt
EMS levelAdvanced Life Support (ALS) & Basic Life Support (BLS)
IAFF2
Facilities and equipment
Divisions5 Fire Districts
Battalions25 Battalions (24 Firefighting Battalions and 1 Special Operations Battalion)
Stations96 Stations
Engines96 Engines
Trucks61 Trucks (50 Trucks, 10 Tower Ladders and 1 Aerial Tower)
Squads4 Squads
Ambulances80 Advanced Life Support (ALS) Ambulances
HAZMAT2
USAR2
Airport crash10
Helicopters2
Fireboats2
Website
www.chicago.gov/fire
www.iaff-local2.org

The Chicago Fire Department is led by the Fire Commissioner, currently Annette Nance Holt. The Fire Commissioner is appointed by the mayor of Chicago, is confirmed by the Chicago City Council, and is assisted by the First Deputy Commissioner, who oversees the department's bureaus. There are four bureaus under the command of the First Deputy Commissioner: Operations, Fire Prevention, Administrative Services and Logistics.

The Chicago Fire Department receives over 800,000 emergency calls annually.[4]

HistoryEdit

 
Chicago Fire Department truck, circa 1909

The volunteer fire department was disestablished on August 2, 1858, when the city council passed the ordinance organizing the paid City of Chicago Fire Department.[2]

OrganizationEdit

 
Chicago firefighters responding to a call on Michigan Ave. wearing pre-2006 turnout gear.

BureausEdit

There are four Bureaus of Operation within the Chicago Fire Department: Bureau of Operations, Bureau of Administrative Services, Bureau of Logistics and Bureau of Fire Prevention. The four Bureaus are commanded by the 1st Deputy Fire Commissioner, who in turn reports to the Fire Commissioner.

Bureau of OperationsEdit

The Bureau of Operations is the largest Bureau within the Chicago Fire Department. The Bureau of Operations commands the following Divisions: Fire Suppression & Rescue, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Special Operations Command, and the Office of Fire Investigation (OFI). The Bureau of Operations is composed of over 4,500 Uniformed Firefighters and Paramedics and is commanded by a Deputy Fire Commissioner.[5]

Bureau Of Administrative ServicesEdit

The Bureau of Administrative Services commands the following Divisions: Personnel, Training, the Photo Unit, and the Employee Assistance Program. Administrative Services is commanded by a Deputy Fire Commissioner.[6]

Bureau of LogisticsEdit

The Bureau of Logistics commands the following Divisions: Support Services, Support & Logistics (EMS), Equipment & Supply, Building & Property Management, Record, Employee Relations, Labor Relations, Staff/Human Relations, the Pension Board, the Regulatory Compliance, and Management Information Systems/Technology. The Bureau of Logistics is commanded by a Deputy Fire Commissioner.[7]

Bureau of Fire PreventionEdit

The Bureau of Fire Prevention commands the following Divisions: Code Compliance and Inspections. The Bureau of Fire Prevention is commanded by a Deputy Fire Commissioner.[8]

OperationsEdit

The Bureau of Operations is one of four Bureaus within the organization of the Chicago Fire Department. Like the other Bureaus, the Bureau of Operations is commanded by a Deputy Fire Commissioner, who reports to the 1st Deputy Commissioner, who in-turn reports to the Fire Commissioner. The Bureau of Operations is currently the largest Bureau within the Chicago Fire Department and is organized into four Divisions: Fire Suppression and Rescue, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Special Operations (including the Technical Rescue Unit, the Hazardous Materials Unit, and the Air-Sea Rescue Unit), and the Office of Fire Investigation (OFI). The Fire Suppression and Rescue Division is commanded by an Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner. The Special Operations Division and the EMS Division are also commanded by an Assistant Deputy Commissioner. The Office of Fire Investigation (OFI) is under the command of the Commanding Fire Marshal, equivalent to the rank of Deputy District Chief. [5][9]

 
Quarters of Engine 38 - Truck 48 - Ambulance 77 -- Protecting the North Lawndale area of Chicago

Fire Suppression and Rescue DivisionEdit

The Fire Suppression and Rescue Division is commanded by an Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner (radio call sign: 2-1-10). The Fire Suppression & Rescue Division consists of five Fire Districts, each commanded by a District Chief. Within the five Districts are 24 Battalions, each commanded by one Battalion Chief each shift, who reports to the Deputy District Chief of the District, who in-turn reports to the District Chief of the District.

 
Ambulance 77 & Engine 38 responding to a medical emergency on Roosevelt Ave.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) DivisionEdit

The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Division is commanded by an Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner (2-1-11). The EMS Division consists of two Field Divisions, the North Division, and the South Division. Each Division is commanded by an Assistant Deputy Chief Paramedic each shift. The two Assistant Deputy Chief Paramedics report to the Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner of the Emergency Medical Services Division. Within the two Field Divisions, there are nine EMS Districts. Each EMS District is under the command of a Paramedic Field Chief. Each EMS District's Paramedic Field Chief is in charge of all EMS Units and Ambulance Companies within that District.

Special Operations DivisionEdit

 
The Scuba Team vehicle on Lake Shore Drive in Hyde Park

The Special Operations Division is commanded by an Assistant Deputy Commissioner (2-1-9) and is divided into several subsections, including Hazardous Materials (Haz-Mat.) and Air-Sea Rescue. The Haz-Mat. subdivision is commanded by a Deputy District Chief (5-1-0). The Air Sea Rescue subdivision is commanded by two Deputy District Chiefs, one in charge of Air Operations (6-8-0), and one in charge of SCUBA Operations (6-8-6). Within the Special Operations Division is the Special Operations Battalion (5-1-5). Similar to a Firefighting Battalion, the Special Operations Battalion is in charge of all the specialized units and companies within the Chicago Fire Department. The on-duty Special Operations Battalion Chief reports to the Assistant Deputy Commissioner of the Special Operations Division, as well as the Haz-Mat., SCUBA, and Air Operations Deputy District Chiefs. The Chicago Fire Department currently operates 4 Special Operations Squad Companies ( Squad 1, Squad 2, Squad 5, and Squad 7 O'Hare )

In addition to having at least one Squad Company respond to all working fires in Chicago, Squad companies are specially trained and respond to technical rescue incidents throughout the city including but not limited to: Confined space incidents, trench rescues, structural collapses, high-angle rope rescues, advanced extrications, and dive incidents. Squad companies run with 6 members on a daily basis out of two pieces of apparatus that run in tandem. The "Box" has 4 members including the company officer, and the "Snorkel" with its 55-ft elevated articulating master stream is manned by an additional 2 members.

Companies and units (2021)Edit

 
CFD 1st Battalion Chief's Ford Explorer SUV
 
CFD Tower Ladder Company 10
 
CFD Truck Company 58
 
CFD Haz-Mat. Incident Team (H.I.T.) Unit 5-1-1

Fire Station Locations and Apparatus (2021)Edit

The Chicago Fire Department is organized into 5 Districts, which command a total of 24 Battalions and a Special Operations Battalion.[10][11]

CommunicationsEdit

The Chicago Fire Department operates two fire alarm frequencies: Main and Englewood. Main covers the city north of the South Branch of the Chicago River and Englewood covers the city south of the river. The 2 EMS frequencies are mirrored in both name and boundaries. The separate designations are from when the Englewood Fire Alarm office was located at 6355 South Wentworth Avenue, and the Main Fire Alarm Office which was located on the fifth floor of Chicago City Hall, at 121 North LaSalle Street. Both offices merged into one location at the city's 911 Center in 1996, located at 1411 West Madison Street.

Alarm assignmentsEdit

Still AlarmsEdit

A Still Alarm is the basic structure fire response protocol of the Chicago Fire Department. The term "Still Alarm" came about upon the advent of telephones becoming more prevalent in reporting emergencies. The alarm office's register that received the signals from the actual fireboxes would remain "still" when someone reported a fire or emergency via telephone. The Still & Box is either transmitted by companies upon arrival at the scene when needed or due to multiple reports or confirmation of a fire. If there is a confirmed fire, the Still & Box Assignment may be added to the "Still" or "High-Rise Still" assignment upon request of the ranking officer on the scene. The Rapid Intervention Team (R.I.T.) Response is sent when the "Still" becomes a working fire, or upon request. The Mayday Assignment is used when firefighters operating on the scene of any emergency become lost, trapped or are discovered to be missing. Any member of the Chicago Fire Department of any rank or title operating on the scene of an emergency is authorized to call for a mayday response if they so feel the need. Some Units will act as Rapid Intervention Team deployment units and some units will act as "Still" Units on most Fire incidents. Some units are assigned as Rapid Intervention Team (R.I.T.) or Advanced Life Support (ALS) standby units. The following is a list of Alarm types along with Alarm Levels and Units assigned.

Alarm Type Alarm Level Units Assigned
Still Alarm 1st Alarm 2 Engine Companies, 2 Truck Companies, 1 Battalion Chief Unit (Still)
Working Fire Response 1st Alarm, Working Fire *Upgrade* 1 Truck Company (R.I.T.), 1 Battalion Chief Unit (R.I.T.), 1 Squad Company, 1 Command Van, 2 Advanced Life Support Ambulances (1 R.I.T/Standby.), 1 Paramedic Field Chief Unit (R.I.T.)
Working Fire in a Red "X" Building 1st Alarm 1 Truck Company (1 R.I.T.), 3 Battalion Chief Units (1 R.I.T., 1 Safety, 1 Special Operations), 1 Deputy District Chief Unit, 1 Squad, 1 Command Van, 1 O.F.I. Unit, 2 Advanced Life Support Ambulances (1 R.I.T.), 1 Paramedic Field Chief Unit (R.I.T.)
Still Alarm in a High-Rise Building 1st Alarm 3 Engine Companies, 2 Truck Companies, 3 Battalion Chief Units (1 Still, 1 Fire Attack, 1 High-Rise), 1 Deputy District Chief Unit, 1 Squad Company, 1 Command Van, 1 Advanced Life Support Ambulance, 1 Paramedic Field Chief Unit
Mayday Alert 1st Alarm, Mayday Alert *Box or 2-11 Auto Upgrade* 1 Truck Company (R.I.T.), 1 Battalion Chief Unit (R.I.T.), 1 Squad Company, 3 Advanced Life Support Ambulances (1 R.I.T.), 1 Paramedic Field Chief Unit (R.I.T.), 1 Bottle Truck, 1 Light Wagon, Collapse Rescue Team (Engine Company 5, Truck Company 2, 5-2-1)

Box AlarmsEdit

Box Alarms are the other main assignment utilized by the Chicago Fire Department. A Box Alarm is the standard protocol response for fire alarm activations in a hospital, nursing home, theater or other potentially high risk structure. If the fire is reported to have persons trapped or the Fire Alarm Office receives numerous calls for the same location, then a "Still & Box Alarm" is automatically transmitted by Fire Alarm Office. The following is a detailed list of Alarm types along with Alarm level and units assigned.

Alarm Type Alarm Level Units Assigned
Cold Box Alarm 1st Alarm 4 Engine Companies, 2 Truck Companies, 1 Battalion Chief Unit (Box)
Still & Box Alarm 1st Alarm, Still *Upgrade* 4 Engine Companies, 3 Truck Companies (1 R.I.T.), 1 Tower Ladder Company, 3 Battalion Chief Units (1 Plans, 1 R.I.T., 1 Safety), 1 Deputy District Chief, 1 Squad, 1 Command Van, 1 O.F.I. Unit, 2 Advanced Life Support Ambulances (1 R.I.T.), 2 Paramedic Field Chief Units (1 R.I.T.)
Still & Box Alarm in a High-Rise Building 1st Alarm, High-Rise Still *Upgrade* 3 Engine Companies (1 Advanced Life Support (ALS) Support Unit), 2 Truck Companies (Designated to search stairwells), 1 Tower Ladder Company, 1 High Rise Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) Team unit (1 Truck Company, 1 Advanced Life Support (ALS) Engine Company, 1 Advanced Life Support Ambulance 1 Paramedic Field Chief Unit and 1 Battalion Chief Unit) 1 High Rise Support Unit, 1 Breathing Apparatus Unit, 1 Battery Unit, 1 Rehab Unit, 5 Battalion Chief Units (Safety, Search and Rescue, Plans, Special Operations “5-1-5", Support Chief), 1 Office of Fire Investigation unit, 1 District Chief Unit, EMS Plan I Assignment

Multiple AlarmsEdit

Higher-alarms for larger fires and more serious incidents are assigned as 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Alarm Assignments as upgrades of a "Still & Box", a "Box", or a "Working Fire". Each alarm level is signified by the level of alarms, followed by the number 11. The number "11" after the level of alarm is tradition of the bell and register system striking 11 blows onto the bell in the firehouse after whatever level of alarm the incident has been upgraded to, followed by the box number, carried over into the modern era. The following are examples of Multiple alarm assignments with alarm type, alarm levels and units assigned.

Alarm Type Alarm Level Units Assigned
2-11 Alarm 2nd Alarm *Upgrade* 4 Engine Companies, 2 Truck Companies, 1 Tower Ladder Company, 2 Battalion Chief Units, 1 Deputy District Chief Unit, 1 Air Mask Service Bottle Truck, 1 Light Wagon Unit, Media Affairs Unit, 2-7-10, 6-3-9
3-11 Alarm 3rd Alarm *Upgrade* 4 Engine Companies, 1 Deputy Fire Commissioner, 1st Deputy Fire Commissioner
4-11 Alarm 4th Alarm *Upgrade* 4 Engine Companies, Fire Commissioner
5-11 Alarm 5th Alarm *Upgrade* 4 Engine Companies
Special Alarm (any level) *Upgrade* any additional units not part of an existing alarm profile; may be specialized units such as turret wagons, mobile ventilators, or extra line units; at discretion of IC

Special IncidentsEdit

Special Incidents are incidents handled by the Chicago Fire Department that are emergencies other than fires. While a Still & Box Alarm might be used for an 'L' train derailment, a Water Rescue or a Collapse Rescue has its own assignment. Many of these assignment profiles include specialized units not ordinarily found at the scene of a fire; being part of a named preplanned response, they are not considered "Specials". However, as with fires, units not listed in the default responses below can be special-called to the incident scene, designated by their signature number (i.e., Unit 6-8-2 is one of the CFD's Air-Sea Rescue Helicopters). The additional vehicle(s) are referred to as "Specials", while the incident type is specified. Thus, if a Mobile Ventilation Unit (MVU) were called to a Building Collapse, it would be described as "Building Collapse response with one Special".

CFD's Special Operations division has a Battalion Chief dedicated to it (5-1-5), who will always be among the chiefs dispatched to a special incident.

Alarm Type Alarm Level Units Assigned
Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Special 1 Engine Company or 1 Truck Company, 1 Ambulance
Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) with Entrapment Special 1 Engine Company, 1 Truck Company, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Squad, 1 Ambulance, 1 Paramedic Field Chief
Vehicle Fire Special 1 Engine Company
Expressway Vehicle Fire Special 2 Engine Companies, 1 Truck Company, 1 Battalion Chief
Specialty Rescue Special 1 Engine Company, 1 Truck Company, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Squad, 1 Ambulance, 1 Paramedic Field Chief
Building Collapse Special 5 Engine Companies, 3 Truck Companies, 1 Tower Ladder Company, 3 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Deputy District Chief, 1 Squad, 1 Command Van, 3-5 Ambulances, 1 Paramedic Field Chief, 1 O.F.I. Unit, 1 Collapse Rescue Unit
Water Rescue Special 1 Engine Company, 1 Truck Company, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Squad, 1 Ambulance, 1 Fireboat, 1 Helicopter, 1 SCUBA Team Unit, 1 Fast Boat
Type I Power Outage Special 1 Engine Company, 1 Truck Company, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Paramedic Field Chief
Type II Power Outage Special 1 Engine Company, 2 Truck Companies, 2 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Deputy District Chief, 1 Squad, 1 Command Van, 1 Ambulance, 1 Paramedic Field Chief, 1 OEMC representative

EMS plansEdit

Because the Chicago Fire Department handles the city's Emergency Medical Services, certain large-scale incidents, such as a major vehicle accident or a building collapse will require a special EMS Response. This response is also known as a "Plan" from the CFD's EMS Division. These plans consist of EMS Units and Fire Units, depending on the incident. EMS Plans can also be assigned to fires where a large EMS presence is needed or special events, such as a marathon where injuries may arise.

Alarm Type Alarm Level Units Assigned
EMS Plan I EMS Plan 5 Ambulances, 1 Paramedic Field Chief, 1 Assistant Deputy Chief Paramedic, 1 Engine Company or 1 Truck Company (Advanced Life Support), 1 Battalion Chief
EMS Plan II EMS Plan *Upgrade* 5 Ambulances, 1 Paramedic Field Chief, 1 Deputy District Chief, 1 Command Van, 1 Triage Van, Media Affairs Unit
EMS Plan III EMS Plan *Upgrade* 5 Ambulances, 1 Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner (Emergency Medical Services), 1 on-call Physician, 1 District Chief,
 
Ambulance 77 at St. Anthony's Hospital

Hazardous Materials IncidentsEdit

During a Hazardous Materials (Haz-Mat.) Incident, such as a chemical spill or leak, the Chicago Fire Department assigned three specific levels of response depending on the size and magnitude of the incident. Aside from standard fire suppression equipment and Haz-Mat. equipment, the CFD also can dispatch standard fire suppression equipment whose crews have special training in hazardous materials situations and mitigation. These companies are called the Hazardous Incident Team (H.I.T.).

Alarm Type Alarm Level Units Assigned
Level I Haz-Mat. Haz-Mat. Incident 1 Engine Company, 1 Truck Company, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Ambulance, 1 Haz-Mat. Unit
Level II Haz-Mat. Haz-Mat. Incident *Upgrade* 1 Engine Company (H.I.T.), 1 Truck Company (H.I.T.), 2 Battalion Chiefs (Plans, Safety) 1 Special Operations Chief (5-1-5), 1 OFI unit, 1 Deputy District Chief, 1 Command Van, 1 Paramedic Field Chief, 1 Air Mask Service Bottle Truck
Level III Haz-Mat. Haz-Mat. Incident *Upgrade* 1 Haz-Mat. Unit, 1 Deputy District Chief (Haz-Mat.)

In popular cultureEdit

The Chicago Fire Department cooperated with film director Ron Howard on making the 1991 film Backdraft, starring Kurt Russell, William Baldwin, and Robert De Niro.

The NBC television show Chicago Fire, centers on a group of fictional firefighters and paramedics at a firehouse that is the headquarters of the fictitious Engine Company 51, Truck Company 81, Rescue Squad Company 3, Battalion Chief 25 and Ambulance 61.(represented by the headquarters for real Engine Company 18).[12] CFD firefighters were involved in the production as consultants or extras and real places in the city were often referenced in the characters' dialogue. The series premiered in 2012. There are different themes for each episode.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Google (27 May 2021). "The Chicago Fire Department" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b "History of the Chicago Fire Department" (PDF). Chicago Fire Department. 10 June 2004. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Request for Information from Annual Budget Committee Hearing" (PDF). Chicago Fire Department. 31 October 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Firehouse Run Report 2019: The Country's Busiest Departments and Ambulances". EMS World. 1 December 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2021.
  5. ^ a b "City of Chicago :: Operations". Cityofchicago.org. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  6. ^ "City of Chicago :: Administrative Services". Cityofchicago.org. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  7. ^ "City of Chicago :: Employee Relations". Cityofchicago.org. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  8. ^ "City of Chicago :: Fire Prevention". Cityofchicago.org. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  9. ^ "Chicago Fire Department Organizational Chart" (PDF). Cityofchicago.org. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Radio Station Identification Numbers" (PDF). Chicagofd.org. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  11. ^ "Chicago Fire Dept - Districts & Battalions". Plaws.net. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Chicago Fire Department". GREC Architects. Retrieved February 15, 2017.

External linksEdit