Typical Response for Fire Incidents
Single or Double Response
Most fire department responses are handled by either one or two units. These types of incidents include most grass fires, dumpster fires, vehicle fires, medical emergencies, etc. When the incident involves a higher hazard, the number of fire units responding increases proportionately.
A Primary Response (also known as a 3:1:1:1) is sent for most larger incidents such as a structure fire. All primary responses will be assigned, at a minimum, 3 Pumpers (Engines), 1 Aerial, 1 Rescue and 1 Battalion unit are sent.
A Full Response (also known as a 4:2:2:2) is sent when the fire is significant in intensity, magnitude, or scope and will require resources or equipment beyond the capabilities of the primary response. All full responses will be assigned, at a minimum, 4 Pumpers, 2 Aerials, 2 ambulances (one being a Rescue) and 2 Battalion Units are dispatched.
A multiple alarm is when additional resources are sent to the same location of a previous full response. These are generally very large incidents (usually fires) where additional staffing and units are required.