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This is Item # 12745.
Release: December 2002
Edition Quantity: 3,000
From the time the first roll call was held by Chief James Mulcahey, the
Department has grown from a single engine and ladder company manned by 6
firemen, to one with 11 engine companies, 6 ladder companies and Hazardous
Over the years since the Yonkers Fire Department celebrated their 75th
anniversary, there have been some significant changes.
Probationary firefighters who once received only a few weeks of training at Fire
Headquarters on New School Street, now utilized the Westchester County Fire
Training Center in Valhalla to receive a full eight weeks (now 10 weeks) of
training conducted by Yonkers Fire Officers who were specifically assigned for
this task. July 1979 had the largest group of probationary firefighters to be
hired when 54 took the oath of office. Also in '79 Engine Company 305 (housed at
Station 2) and Ladder Company 76(housed at Station 11) were placed into service
In 1980, Fire Station 2 on Vineyard Avenue was closed due to the structural
condition of the building. Engine Company 302 was relocated to Station 9 and
Engine Company 305 was relocated to Station 1. In December of that year the City
Charter was changed to provide for the title of Fire Commissioner replacing the
civil service title of Fire Chief.
Due to a fiscal crisis in 1982, Engines 302, 305, 311 and Ladder 76 were
disbanded, also included in these cuts were the Battalion Aides. A compromise
was reached shortly after the cuts were made which provided that Battalion 1
would have an aide while Battalion 2 would ride without one. 1984 saw the
reactivation of Engine Company 311. At the same time, the position of the aide
in Battalion 2 was also reinstated. In July of that year, Personal Distress
Locators were issued to all members. These devices were to be attached to the
firefighter's turnout coat and would sound if the wearer was motionless for a
period of time. The alarm would allow a search team to locate and rescue the
In 1990, the Department recognized the need to begin to develop a special unit
to cope with the rise in Hazardous Materials incidents as well as to comply with
the new OSHA regulations, which specifically detailed the training requirements
for personnel handling Hazardous Materials. Initially all line officers and
firefighters were trained to the Operations level, while a team of six officers
were further trained to the Technician level. These six officers provided 24/7
coverage on more serious Hazardous Materials incidents while maintaining
positions in Engine or Ladder companies.
1991 a Safety Division was instituted and manned with a full-time Safety
Officer. The Safety Officer responds to all structure fires and supports the
health and safety needs of the firefighters.
In July of 1992, a significant step was made to improve emergency medical
services in the City. By Special Order 34-92, the First Responder Program was
implemented. This program takes advantage of the fact that Fire Stations are
strategically located throughout the city. When a call for emergency medical
help is received, the closest Engine Company is immediately dispatched. The
resulting reduction in response time translates into increased chances of
patient survival with firefighters administering life saving first aid. Since
1991, all probationary firefighters are trained as Certified First Responders.
Many senior Department members have also opted to receive medical training and
became New York State Certified First Responders, Emergency Medical Technicians
and Paramedics. Firefighters have performed a variety of emergency medical
tasks, from delivering babies to administering CPR. 1998, the Department began
using a UFH channel as the primary operations frequency. The low band frequency
continues to be used for fire station alerting and has remained in reserve in
case there is a failure of the primary frequency.
As the Yonkers Fire Department entered the new millennium, Squad 1with its two
man crew was decommissioned. In its place, on March 6, 2000, Rescue Company # 1
was commissioned with a four man crew. The City of Yonkers once again has a
Heavy-Rescue Company almost 70 years to the day from the commissioning of the