Fire Department
Fire Department

1. How many fire stations are there in Berkeley?

2. What is the difference between a fire engine and a fire truck?

  • A fire engine (or pumper) is the piece of apparatus that carries hose and water to a fire. BFD engines carry over 3000 feet of fire hose or various sizes, a 2000GPM pump and 500 gallons of water in a tank. Once the tank water is used (which usually takes less than 2 minutes of firefighting) the engine must be connected to an external water source (a fire hydrant). A fire truck (or Hook & Ladder) can basically be described as a giant toolbox. It carries specially trained personnel and tools, which are used for search and rescue, vehicle extrication, structural collapse rescue and several hundred feet of ladders including a 100-foot hydraulic aerial ladder. At fires, their primary job is to ventilate the structure and perform search and rescue inside the structure.

3. How many firefighters are there on an engine/truck in Berkeley?

  • The Berkeley Fire Department staffs each engine and truck with 3 personnel.


4. Who runs the ambulance service in Berkeley?

  • The fire department runs the ambulance service here in the City. Unlike many Cities who contract out their Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to private industry, the citizens of Berkeley chose to pay for what we believe is a superior transport service for our community. The fire department staffs and maintains 3 ambulances around the clock. Each ambulance is staffed with 2 firefighters who are also trained paramedics. If all of our ambulances are committed to emergency calls, ambulances from neighboring fire departments who transport (Albany, Piedmont, Alameda) or American Medical Response (AMR) will respond to the call.

5. Are there paramedics on the engines/trucks in Berkeley?

  • No, Engine and Truck companies are staffed with Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs).


6. Why does a fire engine/truck come to every medical call?

  • Fire stations are strategically positioned throughout all major cities so that a piece of fire apparatus can be at any location in the city within usually 4-6 minutes. Therefore, when fire departments began offering response for medical emergencies, it made sense to send a fire engine/truck to medical emergencies with personnel trained to initially assess and stabilize a patient while the ambulance would take longer to arrive.


7. What types of calls does the fire department respond to?

  • Fire departments respond to almost any type of emergency you can imagine. In fact, the fire department often gets called for non-emergencies, or when someone just doesn’t know whom else to call. Some of the more common calls a fire department responds to are; structure fires, wildland fires, vehicle (car, truck or train) accidents and fires, medical emergencies of many type, hazardous materials incidents, water rescue, structural collapse rescue, flooding, odor investigations, lift assist, lockouts (child locked in a vehicle), and many more. Calls for emergency medical service make up the majority of any fire department’s call volume. To see a current breakdown of the BFD's responses, click here. 

8. Who do I contact to obtain a report from a fire that occured in my home?

9. Who do I contact if I want to request a copy of a Patient Care Report (PCR)?

10. Who do I contact to dispute a bill for a ambulance transport?

11. What is CERT and how do I sign up for a class?

  • CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Training and is a series of classes that is offered free of charge to Berkeley residents. The classes cover topics such as Fire Supression, Basic Search & Rescue and Shelter Operations. The classes are organized by the Office of Emergency Services (OES). Link to their webpage here and download a registration form. 

12. Where can I get sandbags?

  • Sandbags are usually distributed to each fire station in advance of inclement weather. Many times the fire stations are flooded with requests and run out of bags fairly quick, therefore its always a good idea to call your neighborhood fire station before you come down. Sandbags are also usually available at the City Corporation Yard (Between Allston & Bancroft, west of Acton).

13.  How do I become a firefighter with the Berkeley Fire Department?

  • Berkeley Fire Department hires firefighter/paramedics and typically opens the recruitment to accept applications every 12 – 18 months.  If the recruitment is currently open for applications, go to the City’s website and look up Human Resources for instructions on how to apply.  If we are not recruiting, then you can fill out an interest card with Human Resources.  Once the recruitment begins, you will be notified of the application process.

14. Are firefighters in Berkeley represented by a Union?

  • Yes, firefighters in Berkeley have the option to join International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1227, Berkeley Fire Fighters Association.

15. How close is the nearest fire hydrant (usually this information is needed for insurance purposes)?

  • Every resident should be within 600 feet of a fire hydrant in all areas. 

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Fire Department, 2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: fire@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-3473
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903
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