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Frequently Asked Questions

We have received a few questions about terms seen on our home page. I hope these answer your questions, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Q- How can someone contact "Dewey and Ridgeway?"

A- If you need to contact us involving an emergency situation, dial 911 for assistance. If you are City of Rochester, NY resident and are looking for info on smoke detectors &/or carbon monoxide detectors, please dial 311 and they will assist you. For general information and website info, we can be contacted via e-mail at;

" deweyandridgeway@yahoo.com " 



Q- How do you determine how long it takes to declare a fire under control?

A- The times you see here for a fire under control, a person extricated from a car accident and ETC, starts at the time of initial dispatch and ends when the incident commander declares the incident under control. Companies may still be working on scene overhauling or cleaning up for a much longer time.


Q- How many firefighters are working per shift at Dewey and Ridgeway?

A- There are 3 firefighters and 1 officer working on each company per shift, for a total of 8 on duty at Dewey and Ridgeway.


Q- I see Engine 10 and Truck 2 listed at The Dewey and Ridgeway firehouse, but see more than 2 fire trucks inside. What are they used for?

A- The other pieces of apparatus you see in the firehouse are "reserve" trucks and/or engines. They are stored in various firehouses around the city for use when any front line apparatus are being serviced at the repair shop. Unless being used by a company, these pieces of apparatus are not manned or fully equipped. Here at Dewey and Ridgeway, we normally store 1 reserve engine and 1 reserve truck, but can hold up to 3 pieces of reserve apparatus.


Q- I see the term "R.I.C." used on the home page. What does it mean?
A- It stands for Rapid Intervention Crew. It refers to a company sent on a fire call that will stand by outside the structure to be ready to rescue firefighters inside if they become trapped or lost. They are allowed to do some outside tasks, but must be ready to enter at all times. They also work closely with the safety officer (Car 99).

Q- What is a "restricted alarm?"
A- A restricted alarm is declared when there is a working fire (or any incident that requiers use of the channel without interruption). It secures "channel 2" on the radio for the companies working the fire. All other calls in the city would then stay on channel 1, until the restricted alarm is lifted.

Q- When I see a story that says a fire was under control in 20 minutes, does that mean that's the entire time fire companies are there?
A- No. It simply means that the fire itself is controlled. Companies will remain on scene for what ever time it takes, making sure there is no hidden fire anywhere, and completing overhaul and salvage. Areas between walls, ceilings and floors must be opened up to check for hidden fire, all burned materials and debris from opening the areas must be removed, and companies will try to preserve or "salvage" as much unaffected property as possible. Companies can be on scene from 1.5 hours to several hours.

Q- Are the calls I see posted your only calls?
A- No. They are just the more "news worthy" calls. We respond to many many calls that include anything from EMS, fires, and natural gas leaks, to water problems, motor vehicle accidents and anything else we are needed for.

Q- I see Rescue 11 listed on most of the fires. Are they the only rescue in the city?
A- Yes. They respond to all working fires, Haz-Mat calls, rope rescues, accidents with someone trapped, confined space rescues, and water rescues. If they are tied up on a call, and another fire comes in, an extra company will be sent in their place. If they are at a fire, and a technical rescue or Haz-Mat incident comes in, they can be freed up(if possible) to respond. 

Q- What does a "Deputy Chief" do?
A- The Deputy Chief is basically the "shift commander" on duty. They respond to all working fires and will assume command from the Battalion Chief on scene. The Battalion Chief will then be in charge of "operations." On each shift, there is 1 Deputy Chief and 2 Battalion Chiefs working city wide.

Q- Who are the "Protectives?"
A-The Protectives program is a volunteer organization which includes a staff of four paid firefighters who act as drivers. With a City fire vehicle, the Protectives respond to fires with the responsibilities to safeguard and salvage property. Tarpaulins, fans, pumps and other equipment are used to reduce smoke and water damage. When you see photos or videos from fire scenes, the Protectives are wearing red helmets. For more information, go to their web site, http://rochesterprotectives.com/.


Q- What do the different color helmets firefighters wear mean?

A- Firefighters wear black helmets, Captains and Lieutenants wear yellow, and chief officers wear white helmets. The Protectives(see above), wear red helmets.


Q- Why do I see fire companies and ambulances respond to a location, and stay on the trucks until police arrive?

A- On some calls, it's necessary to "stage" away from an address until the police can respond and "secure" the scene so fire and ambulance crews can safely do their job. This would include calls such as assaults and ETC, where a "suspect" may still be at or near the scene and pose a threat to responders, or interfere with them helping someone.


Q- Where do the other companies I see listed in reports on the home page respond from?

A- There are 15 firehouses strategically located around the city, housing 13 engine companies, 6 truck companies, 1 heavy rescue, 2 "Haz-Mat" rigs, 2 "Special Ops" rigs, 1 "Water Rescue" rig, 2 battalion chiefs, 1 safety officer, 1 deputy chief and The Protectives(see above).



Q- Does EMS (Emergency Medical Service) make up a lot of the RFD's calls and do you have special training for EMS?

A- Currently, EMS makes up approximately 50% of the calls we respond to. EMS training is ongoing (as is all fire training) and over 85% of Rochester's firefighters are trained to at least NY State EMT Basic level. EMTs have to recertify with the State of NY every 3 years. All companies carry EMS equipment that includes defibrillators, first aid supplies, spinal immobilization equipment, oxygen equipment, airways, splints, and etc. We are the designated EMS first responding agency and patient care advocates.


Q- How many calls does the fire department respond to in a year?

A- The number of calls varies each year. In 2014, The Rochester, NY Fire Department responded to over 33,000 calls.


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