Boston Fire Department Alarms and Assignments

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In the City of Boston, a fire can go as high as 9 Alarms.  These numbers can vary from city to city, so what does it mean?  Ever wonder who is getting sent to an alarm when it hits a 5th alarm, 6th alarm, and so on?  Here is a break down:

Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Special Incident 1 Engine, 1 Ladder
Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) with Rollover/Entrapment Special Incident 1 Engine, 1 Ladder, 1 District Chief, 1 Resuce
Vehicle Fire Special Incident 1 Engine, 1 Ladder
EMS Response Special Incident 1 Engine, 1 Ladder, or 1 Rescue
Haz-Mat. Level 0 Special Incident 1 Engine, 1 Ladder
Haz-Mat. Level 1 Special Incident (*Upgrade*) 1 District Chief, Special Unit, 1 Haz-Mat. Inspector
Haz-Mat. Level 2 Special Incident (*Upgrade*) 1 Engine (Haz-Mat.), 1 Ladder (Haz-Mat.), Safety District Chief, Haz-Mat. Unit, Fireground Rehab./Mass Casualty Unit, Field/Comm. Tac. Unit, 1 Boston Police Department Environmental Safety Group Unit
Haz-Mat. Level 3 Special Incident (*Upgrade*) 2 Engines (Decon.), 1 Division Chief, 1 Public Information Officer, 1 Fire Investigation Unit, Photography Unit
Alarm Type Alarm Level Assigned Units
Central Station Alarm Still Alarm Assignment 1 Engine, 1 Ladder
Brush/Large Outside Fire Still Alarm Assignment 2 Engines, 1 District Chief, 1 Brush Fire Unit
Box Alarm 1st Alarm Assignment 4 Engines (1 for R.I.T.), 2 Ladders, 1 Rescue, 1 District Chief
Box Alarm (Downtown) 1st Alarm Assignment 4 Engines (1 for R.I.T.), 2 Ladders, 1 Tower Ladder, 1 Rescue, 1 District Chief, 1 Division Chief
Box Alarm (High-Rise Fire Response) 1st Alarm Assignment 4 Engines (1 for R.I.T.), 2 Ladders, 1 Rescue (R1 or R2), 3 District Chiefs (1 for Operations, 1 for Evacuation, 1 for Accountability), 1 Division Chief, Safety District Chief, Air Supply Unit, Field/Tac. Comm. Unit
Box Alarm (MBTA Station/Tunnel Fire Response) 1st Alarm Assignment 4 Engines (1 for R.I.T.), 2 Ladders, 1 Rescue, 1 District Chief, 1 Division Chief, Safety District Chief
Box Alarm (Waterfront/Ship Fire Response) 1st Alarm Assignment 4 Engines (1 for R.I.T.), 2 Ladders, 1 Rescue, 1 District Chief, Marine Unit (Fireboats)
Full Box Alarm/Confirmed Fire 1st Alarm Assignment (*Upgrade*) 1 Ladder (R.I.T.), 1 Tower Ladder, 1 District Chief (R.I.T.), Safety District Chief, Fireground Rehab./Mass Casualty Unit
2nd Alarm 2nd Alarm Assignment (*Upgrade*) 3 Engines, 1 Ladder, 2 District Chiefs (1 for Accountability), 1 Division Chief, Special Unit, Air Supply Unit, 1 Public Information Officer
3rd Alarm 3rd Alarm Assignment (*Upgrade*) 2 Engines, 1 Ladder, Field/Tac. Comm. Unit
4th Alarm 4th Alarm Assignment (*Upgrade*) 2 Engines
5th Alarm 5th Alarm Assignment (*Upgrade*) 2 Engines, 1 Ladder
6th Alarm 6th Alarm Assignment (*Upgrade*) 2 Engines
7th Alarm 7th Alarm Assignment (*Upgrade*) 2 Engines, 1 Ladder
8th Alarm 8th Alarm Assignment (*Upgrade*) 2 Engines
9th Alarm 9th Alarm Assignment (*Upgrade*) 2 Engines (Total Apparatus on Scene: 21 Engine Companies, 7 Ladder Companies, 1 Tower ladder Company, 1 Heavy Rescue Company, 4 District Chiefs, Safety District Chief, 1 Division Chief, Special Unit, Fireground Rehab./Mass Casualty Unit, Air Supply Unit, Field/Tac. Comm. Unit, 1 Public Information Officer)