History Overview


The York City Fire Department can trace its roots back to December of 1770, when citizens first met to organize a fire brigade.

At its height, the department consisted of nine volunteer fire companies operation out of nine fire stations throughout the city. The department is currently a combination department, with approximately 60 career staff, approximately 35 active volunteer firefighters and approximately 10 active volunteer fire police, operating out of four stations and a fire headquarters building.

The department staffs three front line engines and one front line truck company, as well as several support vehicles, staff cars and reserve apparatus. The career department works a four platoon “Philadelphia” schedule, which consists of two day shifts followed by two night shifts followed by four days off, for an average 42 hour work week. Fire Prevention personnel work an alternating four day shift work week.

Career personnel up to the rank of Assistant Chief are represented by the York Professional Fire Fighters Association, Local No. 627 of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

The Foremen’s Presidents Fire Chiefs Association is a liaison organization between the career and volunteer personnel of the department.

The York Volunteer Firemen’s Relief Association provides safety equipment and insurance coverage for the volunteer firefighters.

Hand pumper in Continental Square

EMS response in York City is provided by White Rose Ambulance, a private, for profit firm contracted by the City of York. The Department of Fire/Rescue Services responds medical assist for motor vehicle accidents, cardiac arrests and other incidents as requested.

A Gamewell municipal fire alarm system with over 200 boxes is currently maintained by the City Electrical Bureau. The system consists of nine fire alarm circuits and four gong circuits connected to a central controller in the Fire Headquarters building. Boxes consist of both street pull boxes and closed door auxiliary boxes monitoring fire alarm systems inside various buildings throughout the City of York, with one box located in West Manchester Township.

The Fire Department is dispatched by the York County Department of Emergency Services 911 Communications Center, the public safety answering point for all of York County. The 911 Center operates over a Project 25 digital trunked 500 MHz radio system. The department maintains a legacy conventional radio system with several radio repeaters and a tower site at the Fire Headquarters building. Each fire station is equipped with a radio transceiver and has a telephone extension on the City’s telephone network.

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