Squad Companies to Be Used in New York City
The New York Fire Department has gone in for Squad Wagons for the purpose of having adequate manpower on first alarm responses. The first of five proposed Squad Companies in the high hazard sections of Manhattan and Brooklyn, went into service on November 1 in the heart of midtown Manhattan. It is located in Truck 24 at 33rd and 6th and is manned by one Lieutenant and eight Firemen. The New York department is 700 officers and men shy of its budgetary quota of 1,667 officers and 9,184 men.
The new company rolls to 140 first alarm boxes between Madison Square and Columbus Circle; to 146 second alarm boxes within the same limits, excepting that the second alarm territory spreads east and west to both waterfronts, and to 139 special building boxes in the hotel, shopping, theatre and industrial sections. The apparatus is a converted Seagrave hosewagon on pneumatic tires and is without hose, nozzles and scaling ladders. It has a deck pipe. Benches for the men are in each hose compartment. One-way radio receiver of N.Y.F.D. station WNYF (1630 kc) is on the dash board. Commissioner Walsh is confident that the Squad Wagon principle will help solve the manpower situation and will preclude the necessity of many second alarms.
The personnel of three Lieutenants and thirty men was obtained from twenty-eight companies. The members of this new company are relieved from all forms of extraneous duty and details, excepting housewatch in Truck 24. The company shall not be used for overhauling, nor unnecessarily detained at fires. The company can be special called with “9-Box-21.” It’s official number is Squad 21, or No. 1 in the 20 series which is reserved for Squad Companies.
New York Fire Department has about 650 officers and men on military leave. There are 100 temporary firemen employed to help fill military vacancies. Applications for retirement are so numerous that the exodus had to be staggered at the rate of 25 a month. Hundreds of officers and men who applied for retirement last summer will not be pensioned until next Spring. There is a feeling abroad in the department that the Squad Wagon has come to stay, and that it will eventually spell the elimination of some of the more closely contiguous fire stations of the horse age, now so well covered by much faster motor equipment.