Here in New Castle County DE when we call for an additional alarm we're supposed to get 2 engines a ladder and rescue. Each additional alarm brings the same. Since we normally don't double pull three alarm will be 12 stations. Including cover ups the total could be 16 stations involved. Companies can contact Fireboard and say they have another piece available for response.

The reason I'm asking is that I read about 3 alarms and 5 companies being involved. Do you consider additional alarms calling for another engine or rescue or ladder? Or do you consider an upgraded alarm the full boat.

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Our additional alarm sounds something like this...

"Y'all get your asses here NOW please!!!!"

Than we generally get between 10-20 firefighters packed up ready to go in various trucks, basically whatever starts and runs and gets to the fire...(kidding of course)

We call for individual assistance as well, like mentioned above. We call for either tankers, engines, or manpower. We only have 2 aerial devices in our County and we have one of them, a 95' tower ladder. The other is a 75 foot snorkel about 10 minutes away. The most need for mutual aid around me is water and manpower, especially in areas without hydrants.
We don't have alarms we have the normal mutual aid. For example... Pager goes off. Ambulance Call. You have a Blank Age Male with Medical conditions. Please respone. Radios respond to dispatch. 702 EMT Responding. I am en route. Dispatch gives the time out. and the address like 123 Your Street, Your State, ZIP Code.
We have a couple different alarms here is our responses.
SFD: 2 engines 2 special services (truck or squad) 1 chief
MFD: 3 engines 2 special services 1 chief
Comm: 3 engines 2 special services 1 chief

Once the first company marks on scene and declares it a "working fire" you then get an additional 1 engine 1 ALS ambulance 1 EMS/Safety Officer 1 Chief, and 1 air utility. Also all of Fire Admin gets paged so the subsequent white wave usually marks enroute.

When we hit a second alarm you get 2 engines and 1 special services it continues on like that until we run out of special services then your alarms are just engines.

if we just call for an additional engine or even multiple units we just call it an upgrade. Its not an alarm until you say the words "Strike a blank alarm" I have been on a fire and called for 2 additioanl engines and 1 additional ambulance becuase I did not need a special service company only the engine companies.

I dont like it cause I always belive that an additional alarm should mirrior you first alarm. SO if you get 5 engines and 3 trucks you second alarm should be 5 engines and 3 trucks
I recall reading somewhere that a dept considered every call for additional equipment an alarm. So If you had 2+1 and then needed an additional truck, you would now have a 2nd alarm.
LA City no longer uses the 'alarm' system. According to their PIO it's an antiquated system.

Here a 1st gets you 3+1 residential and 4+2 commercial. A 2nd gets the same plus a rescue.
We don't consider the 'alarm' system antiquated. We've never used it! The 'alarm' system seems a bit prescriptive to me, as happened with a structure fire I attended some months ago. Our all career neighbours were first on scene (not their area though) and made it a 2nd Alarm. For them that meant an aerial was responded. No way could the aerial get close to the house, and there was not enough water close by to feed it either, it ended up being used as the first pump in a relay.

We simply ask for what we want, when we want it.

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