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San Francisco Fire Department
Established 1866
Staffing Career
Strength 1,700
Stations 44
Engines 43
Trucks 19
Rescues 2
Fireboats 2
EMS Units 16 + -
Fire chief Joanne Hayes-White
Commissioner Michael Hardeman
Stephen A. Nakajo
Andrea Evans
Francee Covington
Donald Carmignani

The San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) provides fire and emergency medical services to the City and County of San Francisco, California.

The San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD), along with the San Francisco Police Department and San Francisco Sheriff's Department, serves an estimated population of 1.4 million people (which includes the approximately 850,000 citizens residing in the 47.5 square miles (123 km2) of San Francisco (including Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island, Alcatraz Island, San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, San Francisco International Airport, Golden Gate Bridge and the Presidio of San Francisco - Golden Gate National Recreation Area), the daytime-commuter population, and the thousands of other visitors, tourists, and others present in the city every day) with approximately 1,700 firefighting and emergency medical field personnel. The department responds to, on average, approximately 73,000 emergency calls annually, with over 80% being emergency medical calls.


Volunteer companies were first formed in the city in 1850, and a paid staff established in 1866. In 1906, the department was considered on a par with those of the larger cities on the East Coast, but found itself reduced to fighting the fire of 1906 in the quake aftermath with axes and shovels, as most of the city's water mains were broken and cisterns drained. Fire Chief Dennis T. Sullivan suffered mortal wounds in his home by a falling chimney early in the disaster and subsequently died in hospital. Staffing of apparatus has varied over the history of the Department. Currently, Engines are staffed 1/3: (Officer, FF/Driver, FF/EMT & FF/EMT-P (for ALS Engines) or FF (for BLS Engines). Trucks are staffed 1/4: (Officer, FF/Driver, FF/Tiller Operator, FF/EMT, & FF. Rescue Squads are staffed 1/3: (Officer, FF/Driver, FF/EMT, & FF.


Rank Structure

  • H1 - Fire/Rescue EMS Paramedic (Ambulance) - rank to former SF Department of Public Health (SFDPH), Paramedic Division personnel who opted for this classification in lieu of H3 Level 2 when merged with the SFFD in 1997.
  • H2 - Firefighter/EMT (all cross-trained as Apparatus Driver/Tiller Operator/Pump Operator)
  • H3 Level 3 - Firefighter/Paramedic
  • H3 Level 2 - EMS Paramedic (Ambulance)
  • H3 Level 1 - EMS EMT (Ambulance)
  • H4 - Fire Inspector
  • H6 - Fire Investigator
  • H10 - Incident Support Specialist (Chief's Aide/Chief's Driver/Chief's Operator)
  • H16 - Technical Training Specialist
  • H18 - Community Services Coordinator
  • H20 - Lieutenant
  • H22 - Lieutenant, Bureau of Fire Prevention
  • H24 - Lieutenant, Bureau of Fire Investigation
  • H28 - Lieutenant, Division of Training
  • H29 - Special Services Officer
  • H30 - Captain
  • H32 - Captain, Division of Fire Prevention and Investigation
  • H39 - Captain, Division of Training
  • H33 - Paramedic Rescue Captain
  • H40 - Battalion Chief
  • H43 - EMS Section Chief
  • H50 - Assistant (Division) Chief
  • H51 - Assistant Deputy Chief (eg: Homeland Security Division/Division of Training/Division of Support Services/Airport Division/Fire Marshal Division of Fire Prevention & Investigation
  • H110 - Marine Engineer (Fireboat)
  • H120 - Marine/Maritime pilot (Fireboat)
  • exempt - Deputy Chief (Operations CD2 or Administration CD3)
  • exempt - Fire Chief (Chief of Department CD1)

Fire Apparatus Profile

  • 44 Fire Stations[1]
  • 43 Engine companies (Engine: E-1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 28, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 48, 51)
  • 19 Aerial Truck companies (Truck: T-1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 48)
  • 16 ALS Street Medic Ambulances (Medic: M-53, 54, 55, 58, 66, 67, 68, 72, 75, 77, 78, 79, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 92, 93, 94 **Variable EMS personnel staffing based on time of day by Station 49)
  • 1 ALS Rescue Ambulance (Rescue Ambulance: RA-48 staffed by Engine 48 EMT-P & EMT-A)
  • 2 Rescue Squads (Rescue Squad: RS-1, 2)
  • 2 Divisions (Division: D-2, 3)
  • 9 Battalions (Battalion: B-1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10)
  • 2 Fireboats (Fireboat: FB-1 Phoenix, FB-2 Guardian
  • 4 EMS Rescue Captain Units (Rescue Captain: RC-1, 2, 3, 4)
  • 3 Light Rescue Units (Rescue: LR-5, 7, 21)
  • 2 Mobile Air Units (Mobile Air Unit: MA-1, 2)
  • 1 Hazardous Materials(Haz-Mat.) Unit (Haz-Mat: HZ-1)
  • 2 Decontamination(Decon.) Units (Decon.: 1, 2)
  • 1 Mobile Command Unit
  • 1 CO2 Unit
  • 2 Coastal Rescue Units (CR-Cliff Rescue, SR- Swift-Water/Surf Rescue)
  • 1 CBRNE/USAR Rescue Unit
  • 2 Mass Casualty Units (Mass Casualty: MCU-1, 2)
  • 1 Pollution Control Unit (PC-Sand/Absorbent Unit)
  • 4 Wildland/Brush Mini-Pumpers (Mini-Pumper: MP-25, 32, 43, 44)
  • 1 Attack Hose Tender (AHT-21)
  • 3 Portable Five inch hose Hydrant Tenders (Hydrant Tender: FHT-9, 22, 48)
  • 1 Hose Tender (Hose Tender: HT-48)
  • 1 High-Pressure Battery Unit
  • 1 Fuel Truck
  • 1 Utility Unit (UU-1)
  • 2 Mobile Air Support Units
  • 1 Tow Unit

Fire Station Locations and Apparatus

Below is a full listing of all Fire Station Locations and Apparatus in the City & County of San Francisco. There are also 3 SFFD SFO Airport Fire Stations at the San Francisco International Airport in San Mateo County.

The SFFD Bureau of Equipment is located at 2501 25th Street. The SFFD Division of Training has two training facilities: one adjacent to SFFD Station 7 and the other at SFFD Treasure Island Training Facility / Clothing Depot (TITF) in Bldg. 600, located at 750 Avenue M. Port of San Francisco Fire Marshal located at Pier 1 on the Embarcadero.

Fire Department Headquarters, Fire Commission, Fire Prevention and Pumping Station #1 are located at 698 Second Street. SFFD Pumping Station #2[2] is located at the foot of Van Ness Avenue by the Municipal Pier. Central Fire Apparatus, small fire vehicle fleet & wood ladder fabrication shops are located at 1800 Jerrold Avenue.[3][4]

Division 2(Northeast Division)

Battalion 1

Engine Company Truck Company Special Unit Command Unit Address
Engine 2 Truck 2 Battalion 1 1340 Powell St.
Engine 13 Truck 13 Rescue Captain 1, CO2 Unit 530 Sansome St.
Engine 28 1814 Stockton St.
Engine 41 1325 Leavenworth St.

Battalion 4

Engine Company Truck Company Special Unit Command Unit Address
Engine 5 Truck 5 Rescue 5 (Light Rescue Unit) Division 2 1301 Turk St.
Engine 10 Truck 10 CBRNE./USAR Unit 1, Decon. Unit 1 655 Presidio Ave.
Engine 16 Truck 16 Rescue Boat 16 2251 Greenwich St.
Engine 38 Mobile Command Unit 1 Battalion 4 2150 California St.
Engine 51 Jet Skis 218 Lincoln Blvd., Presidio of San Francisco (Part of National Park Service and GGNRA)

Battalion 7

Engine Company Truck Company Special Unit Command Unit Address
Engine 12 Truck 12 1145 Stanyan St.
Engine 14 Truck 14 551 26th Ave.
Engine 22 Portable Five inch hose Hydrant Tender 22 1290 16th Ave.
Engine 31 Rescue Captain 2 Battalion 7 441 12th Ave.
Engine 34 Cliff Rescue Unit 1 499 41st Ave.

Battalion 8

Engine Company Truck Company Special Unit Command Unit Address
Engine 18 Truck 18 Surf Rescue Unit 1 1935 32nd Ave.
Engine 19 Truck 19 390 Buckingham Way
Engine 20 Mobile Air Unit 1, Mobile Air Unit 2, Pollution Control Unit 285 Olympia Way
Engine 23 1348 45th Ave.
Engine 40 Battalion 8 2155 18th Ave.

Division 3(Southwest Division)

Battalion 2

Engine Company Truck Company Special Unit Command Unit Address
Engine 3 Truck 3 1067 Post St.
Engine 6 Truck 6 135 Sanchez St.
Engine 21 Rescue 21 (Light Rescue Unit), Attack Hose Tender 21 1443 Grove St.
Engine 29 Decon. Unit 2, Tow Unit 299 Vermont St.
Engine 36 Haz-Mat. Unit 1 Battalion 2 109 Oak St.

Battalion 3

Engine Company Truck Company Special Unit Command Unit Address
Engine 1 Truck 1 Rescue Squad 1 935 Folsom St.
Engine 8 Truck 8 Battalion 3 36 Bluxome St.
Engine 35 Fireboat 1 Phoenix, Fireboat 2 Guardian Pier 22½, The Embarcadero
Engine 48 Truck 48 Rescue Ambulance 48, Hose Tender 48, Portable Five inch hose Hydrant Tender 48 Bldg. 157 @ 849 Avenue D, Treasure Island

Battalion 6

Engine Company Truck Company Special Unit Command Unit Address
Engine 7 Truck 7 Rescue Squad 2, Rescue 7 (Light Rescue Unit) Division 3 2300 Folsom St.
Engine 11 Truck 11 Rescue Captain 3 Battalion 6 3880 26th St.
Engine 24 100 Hoffman Ave.
Engine 26 80 Digby St.
Engine 32 Mini-Pumper 32 194 Park St.

Battalion 9

Engine Company Truck Company Special Unit Command Unit Address
Engine 15 Truck 15 CalEMA 361 Battalion 9 1000 Ocean Ave.
Engine 33 8 Capital Ave.
Engine 39 Mass Casualty Unit 2 1091 Portola Dr.
Engine 43 Mini-Pumper 43 720 Moscow St.

Battalion 10

Engine Company Truck Company Special Unit Command Unit Address
Engine 9 Truck 9 Portable Five inch hose Hydrant Tender 9 Battalion 10 2245 Jerrold Ave.
Engine 17 Truck 17 High-Pressure Battery Unit 1295 Shafter St.
Engine 25 Mini-Pumper 25, Mass Casualty Unit 1 3305 3rd St.
Engine 37 798 Wisconsin St.
Engine 42 2430 San Bruno Ave.
Engine 44 Mini-Pumper 44 1298 Girard St.
Station 49 (EMS Base) Street Medic Units, Rescue Captain 4, Logistics Supply Center, BioMed, Arson Unit 1415 Evans St.

SFO Airport

ARFF Station ARFF Crash Unit ARFF Engine ARFF Truck ARFF Special Unit Address
Station # 1 Rescue 9 ARFF Engine 1 ARFF Truck 1 ARFF Medic 1, Relief Truck, Rescue 90(Relief) W. Field Rd.
Station # 2 Rescue 10, Rescue 37 Airboat, Jet Skis, Mooseboat, Rescue 49(Relief) N. Access Rd.
Station # 3 Rescue 11 ARFF Engine 2 ARFF Medic 2, Relief Engines, Airport ARFF Captain S. Area Dr.

Closed Fire Companies/Locations

  • Engine 4, Truck 4 - 1648 Pacific Ave., Nob Hill - Closed 1979 (New Station 4 under construction as part of new San Francisco Public Safety Building 3rd/Mission Rock. Projected opening 6/2014)
  • Engine 27 - 356 7th St., South of Market - Closed 1980
  • Engine 30 - 1300 4th St., Mission Rock - Closed 1976
  • Engine 45 - 1348 45th Ave., Ocean Beach - Closed 1972
  • Engine 46 - 441 12th Ave., Inner Richmond - Closed 1972
  • Engine 47 - 499 41st Ave., Outer Richmond - Closed 1973
  • Engine 49 - 2155 18th Ave., Parkside - Closed 1972
  • Truck 20 - 285 Olympia Wy., Midtown Terrace (Engine 23) - Closed 1980
  • Battalion 5 - 1443 Grove St., Haight (Engine 21) - Closed 2003
  • Battalion 11 - 798 Wisconsin St., Potrero Hill (Engine 48 - Formerly) - Closed 1970
  • Division 1 - 530 Sansome St, Financial District (Engine 13/Truck 13) - Closed 2002


Fire apparatus for city suppression units are painted white over various shades of crimson red or maroon. Fire apparatus used at SFO airport (per FAA regulations), fire apparatus lent on long term assignment to SFFD by the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) for mutual aid use and former federal apparatus released to the SFFD are painted white over lime/lemon yellow. Fire Suppression apparatus are manufactured by the Spartan Motors, with Luverne or Crimson bodies and American LaFrance. Other Engine or Hose Tender Companies operate HME Ahrens Fox/Luverne, Ferrara Fire Apparatus, Ward LaFrance or Pierce Manufacturing Engines.

The standard 100 ft. Aerial Ladder Truck Company carries the following wood ground ladders: (SFFD Ladder shop custom made beams of Douglas Fir and rungs made of Oregon Ash or Hickory)

  • 1 50 ft. Bangor Pole Extension Ladder (handled by 6 persons plus 4 more persons to handle guy-ropes if for church raise)
  • 2 35 ft. Extension Ladders (handled by 3 or 4 persons)
  • 1 18 ft. Victorian High Ceiling Extension Ladder
  • 1 12 ft. Attic Extension Ladder
  • 2 24 ft. Bracing Straight Ladders
  • 1 22 ft. Fire Escape Straight Ladder
  • 1 14 ft. Roofing Ladder
  • 1 14 ft. Ridge Ladder
  • 1 6 ft. Step ladder.

The standard Engine Company carries: 500 gallon water tank

  • 1 24 ft. Extension Ladder
  • 1 12 ft. Straight Ladder
  • 1 10 ft. Folding Attic ladder.

A historical note: the retired predecessor to the modern day aerial turntable tiller ladder truck, the non aerial non turntable tiller ladder City Service Truck company carried the retired 65 ft. Bangor Pole Extension Ladder, a 32 ft. Bracing Straight Ladder, and pompier ladders. The 65 ft. was required to be handled by 8 persons (2 act as weighted counter-balance to assist raise) plus 4 more to handle guy-ropes if for church raise.

Response Guidelines

Alarm Type Alarm Level Units Assigned
Street Fire Alarm Pull Box (Fire alarm call box) Unit Dispatch Assignment 1 Engine, 1 Truck
Activated Commercial/Residential Fire Alarm Building Alarm Assignment 1 Engine, 1 Truck, 1 Battalion Chief
Box Alarm 1st Alarm Assignment 3 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Rescue Squad, 2 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Division Chief*, 1 Medic Unit
Confirmed Working Fire/Full Box Alarm 1st Alarm Assignment(Upgrade) 1 Engine (RIC)**, 1 Rescue Captain, 1 Engine (Incident Support Crew assigned at option of Division Chief or higher ranking officer)
2nd Alarm*** 2nd Alarm Assignment(Upgrade) 4 Engines, 1 Truck, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Medic Unit, 1 Rescue Captain, 1 Mobile Air Unit
3rd Alarm 3rd Alarm Assignment(Upgrade) 4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Medic Unit, Fire Reserve activated, Chief of Department and Deputy Chiefs notified
4th Alarm 4th Alarm Assignment(Upgrade) 4 Engines, 1 Truck, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Medic Unit
5th Alarm 5th Alarm Assignment(Upgrade) 4 Engines, 1 Truck, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Medic Unit
  • Depending on CAD Geobox location, a Division Chief might not be assigned on a 1st Alarm Assignment but would be when a 2nd Alarm is struck.


SFFD's Class "A" dress uniform (double breasted navy blue coat with silver buttons, navy blue crowned black peaked cap, navy blue pants, black tie & white shirt) and station uniform (navy blue crowned black peaked cap, navy blue pants & shirt with white buttons) for the rank and file. The SFO Airport division station uniform (navy blue crowned black peaked cap, navy blue pants & light blue shirt) for the rank and file. Class "A" dress uniform (double breasted black coat with gold buttons, black crowned/peaked cap, black tie, black pants with white shirt) and station uniform (black crowned/peaked cap, black tie, black pants & white shirt) for Battalion Chiefs and above. Members wear the "US Air Force smooth peaked cap" style. Up until approximately the year 2000, Captains and Battalion Chiefs wore white crowned black peaked caps "US Navy officer smooth peaked cap" style until the uniform regulations changed. Paramedics wear station uniform red shoulder patches. Members assigned to SFO Airport wear a station uniform with unique SFO Airport division shoulder patches. SFFD Bunker gear/turnout gear is black in color (with reflective stripes) for all city suppression ranks except for the Fire Chief who wears white. Bunker gear/turnout gear is tan in color (with reflective stripes) for all airport suppression ranks. Bunker gear/turnout gear is tan or yellow in color for (coats) and black in color for (pants) (with reflective stripes) for all SFFD Fire Reserve suppression ranks. Wildland turnout gear is yellow reflective in color. Yellow reflective traffic safety vests (High-visibility clothing) approved by the American National Standards Institute (AMSI) are worn during street/highway emergency incidents (except during firefighting or hazmat activities). The SFFD breast badge displays the American Bald Eagle imagery over a shield type style with the city seal, rank and number affixed on the shield. Silver badge/collar/cap insignia for the rank & file and gold badge/collar/cap insignia for Battalion Chiefs and above. SFFD Fire Officer collar rank insignias depict the traditional fire service raised horn/bugle/speaking trumpet/megaphone imagery on a similar colored disk (which makes it difficult to identify rank at a distance since there are no contrasting colors and only those individuals inside the fire service are able to discern what the horn/bugle/speaking trumpet/megaphone represents). Unlike the FDNY and Philadelphia Fire Department which uses US military officer collar rank insignias (easily identified at a distance) which individuals both inside and outside the fire service are able to more easily discern especially when interacting with other non fire agencies. Note: Sleeve service stripes on SFFD dress uniform coats or long sleeve uniform shirts, as well as, SFFD award/medal chest service ribbons are unauthorized and not allowed worn to denote seniority or esprit de corps as does the SFPD and United States Armed Forces.

Fire Helmets

Most SFFD fire helmets are manufactured by Cairns MSA. Many SFFD firefighters wear old-style Cairns N5A leather fire helmets, while others wear newer composite-style Cairns 1044 helmets. The Firefighter's helmets in San Francisco are painted specific ways to designate what fire company or unit the firefighter who is wearing the helmet is associated with. Firefighters assigned to Engine Companies have helmets painted all-black. Truck Company firefighters have their helmets painted black with alternating white and red sections on the dome of the helmet. Rescue Squad members have their helmets painted black with alternating black and white sections on the dome of the helmet. The helmets of Chief's Aides are painted black with white domes. Fire Chief's helmets are painted all-white. Arson Investigators have all-blue painted helmets. The SFFD is one of the only fire department which paints their helmets in this fashion, to designate certain companies. However, due to the daily manpower needs to balance the city fire stations one must keep in mind that members assigned to daily details could be assigned to a company in which their home company helmet color is not appropriately representative to the company they are temporarily attached to. Such as a member from an Engine Company being detailed to a Truck Company just for the day. It's not unusual for a company to be made up of detailed members all wearing different colored helmets and different numbered helmet front shields.

In popular culture

  • The SFFD was the responding fire department to a major high-rise fire disaster in the 1974 film, The Towering Inferno. The film cast many actual firefighters from the department and used many actual SFFD fire trucks during the filming. Fire Station # 38 was also shown in the filming. The exterior shots were done at the Bank of America Building, 555 California.
  • The SFFD was also used in the Dirty Harry film series, particularly Rescue Squad 2 in Dirty Harry.
  • When a veteran SFFD firefighter is killed and Adrian Monk is blinded in a mysterious attack at a firehouse in the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Can't See a Thing," Monk must rely on his other senses to solve the bizarre case. In the course of the episode, he finds that the killer came to the firehouse to steal a fireman's coat and even finds that the man who blinded him had just beforehand killed a woman a few blocks away and set fire to her house (said fire was the one the engine company had been responding to when the murder at the firehouse took place). The depicted fire station, Fire Station 53, is a fictitious station. The exterior of the station was represented by Fire Station 1 of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
  • In the Monk novel series by Lee Goldberg, Joe Cochran, Natalie Teeger's occasional lover, is an SFFD firefighter, making appearances in the novels Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse, Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants, and Mr. Monk in Outer Space.
  • The SFFD was featured in two Emergency! television movies in 1978 and 1979, where L.A. County Firefighter/Paramedics Gage and DeSoto run calls with the firefighters of Rescue Squad 2.
  • The NBC Television show Trauma followed the fictional lives of SFFD paramedics, EMTs and flight medics.
  • The department is featured in the 1985 James Bond film A View to a Kill. After San Francisco City Hall is set ablaze by the villainous Max Zorin in an attempt to kill James; the SFFD arrives on scene and assists Roger Moore's character in escaping the burning building and then ultimately "borrows" a SFFD ladder truck in order to outrun the police officers chasing him on the suspicion that his character set the blaze.


External links

San Francisco Bay Area portal
Fire portal
  • San Francisco Fire Department Official Website
  • San Francisco Fire Museum
  • History of the San Francisco Fire Department at the SF Museum
  • SFFD Fire Reserve Website

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