Fire Department - Frequently Asked Questions

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This is one of the most popular questions we are asked.
Crews work 48 hour shifts, and have to provide their own meals.  Every day a cook is selected at each station and it is their responsibility to come up with a menu and shop.  After every meal the bill is divided amongst the crew members and everyone pays their equal parts.  Our number one responsibility is to serve this community and its citizens.  In order to provide the most effective and rapid care, the crews take the apparatus to the stores so they can stay in service, and respond to any emergencies that occurs in the city.

The City provides ambulance transport services, it is not a private ambulance service. This allows the City to provide a higher level of service to the community than would be possible if they contracted with a private provider.


This is evident in the faster response times to medical emergencies to initiate care that the current service provides. In critical medical emergencies where seconds can make a difference between life and death this is a very important detail.

A fire truck, also known as a ladder truck, carries multiple ground ladders of varying length and purpose; an aerial ladder used to reach upper floors of buildings; rescue equipment for forcible entry, extrication, etc; numerous power tools such as chain saws, ventilation fans, and lighting equipment.


A fire engine, also known as a fire pumper, carries thousands of feet of fire hose, nozzles, hose couplings and other equipment. It also carries 500 gallons of water in a tank for a quick attack on a fire which is critical to fire control until they can establish a dedicated water supply from a fire hydrant.

Multiple fire engines and/or trucks will only show up to a single vehicle accident if there are extenuating circumstances involved which could require additional personnel. An example of this would be an accident with someone trapped in a vehicle who needs extrication.


Under this circumstance we would send a fire engine, with a paramedic, and carrying hose and water supply. This is necessary as there is a potential for fire in any vehicle accident. We would also send a fire truck which carries rescue equipment and power tools. All of these operations require enough trained personnel to manipulate equipment and extricate the trapped person successfully.  Under these circumstances we would also have an ambulance respond in case there is a medical emergency.

A fall for a senior citizen is often a very frightening and sometimes life altering incident. One of the major causes of traumatic injuries to seniors is from falling down. We take these types of emergency responses very seriously because of our experience.


The Alameda Fire Department is required to comply with the Alameda County Emergency Medical Services protocols call for medical emergencies. These protocols require a fire engine or truck with at least one paramedic to be on scene at all emergency medical calls. They also require a transport provider (ambulance) to respond with at least one paramedic to all emergency medical calls.


In Alameda the Fire Department provides ambulance first responder (fire engine or truck) and transport provider (ambulance) services. In other parts of the County a private ambulance company provides the transport services. So, for example, if you are involved in a medical emergency in Hayward, a Hayward Fire Engine and a Paramedics Plus ambulance will show up.