Box Alarms are the other main assignment utilized by the Chicago Fire Department. A Box Alarm is the standard protocol response for fire alarm activations in a hospital, nursing home, theater or other potentially high risk structure. If the fire is reported to have persons trapped or the Fire Alarm Office receives numerous calls for the same location, then a "Still & Box Alarm" is automatically transmitted by Fire Alarm Office.
4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Battalion Chief (Box)
Still & Box Alarm
1st Alarm, Still *Upgrade*
4 Engines, 3 Trucks (1 R.I.T.), 1 Tower Ladder, 4 Battalion Chiefs (1 Box, 1 R.I.T., 1 Safety, 1 Fire Attack), 1 Deputy District Chief, 1 Squad, 1 Command Van, 1 O.F.I. Unit, 2 ALS Ambulances (1 R.I.T.), 2 Paramedic Field Chiefs (1 R.I.T.)
Still & Box Alarm in a High-Rise Building
1st Alarm, High-Rise Still *Upgrade*
1 Engine (ALS), 3 Battalion Chiefs (1 Plans, 1 Safety), 1 Helicopter (6-8-1 or 6-8-2), EMS Plan I Assignment
Higher-alarms for larger fires and more serious incidents are assigned as 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Alarm Assignments as upgrades of a "Still & Box", a "Box", or a "Working Fire". Each alarm level is signified by the level of alarms, followed by the number 11. The number "11" after the level of alarm is tradition of the bell and register system striking 11 blows onto the bell in the firehouse after whatever level of alarm the incident has been upgraded to, followed by the box number, carried over into the modern era.
2nd Alarm *Upgrade*
4 Engines, 2 Trucks, 1 Tower Ladder, 2 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Deputy District Chief, 1 Air Mask Service Bottle Truck, 1 Light Wagon Unit, Media Affairs Unit, 2-7-10, 6-3-9
3rd Alarm *Upgrade*
4 Engines, 1 Deputy Fire Commissioner, 1st Deputy Fire Commissioner
4th Alarm *Upgrade*
4 Engines, Fire Commissioner
5th Alarm *Upgrade*
(any level) *Upgrade*
any additional units not part of an existing alarm profile; may be specialized units such as turret wagons, mobile ventilators, extra line units, or the reserve snorkel (6-6-1); at discretion of IC
Special Incidents are incidents handled by the Chicago Fire Department that are emergencies other than fires. While a Still & Box Alarm might be used for an 'L' train derailment, a Water Rescue or a Collapse Rescue has its own assignment. Many of these assignment profiles include specialized units not ordinarily found at the scene of a fire; being part of a named preplanned response, they are not considered "Specials". However, as with fires, units not listed in the default responses below can be special-called to the incident scene, designated by their signature number (i.e., Unit 6-8-2 is one of the CFD's Air-Sea Rescue Helicopters). The additional vehicle(s) are referred to as "Specials", while the incident type is specified. Thus, if a Mobile Ventilation Unit (MVU) were called to a Building Collapse, it would be described as "Building Collapse response with one Special".
CFD's Special Operations division has a Battalion Chief dedicated to it (5-1-5), who will always be among the chiefs dispatched to a special incident.
5 Engines, 3 Trucks, 1 Tower Ladder, 3 Battalion Chiefs, 1 Deputy District Chief, 1 Squad, 1 Command Van, 3-5 Ambulances, 1 Paramedic Field Chief, 1 O.F.I. Unit, 1 Collapse Rescue Unit
1 Engine, 1 Truck, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 Squad, 1 Ambulance, 1 Fireboat, 1 Helicopter, 1 SCUBA Team Unit, 1 Fast Boat
Because the Chicago Fire Department handles the city's Emergency Medical Services, certain large-scale incidents, such as a major vehicle accident or a building collapse will require a special EMS Response. This response is also known as a "Plan" from the CFD's EMS Division. These plans consist of EMS Units and Fire Units, depending on the incident. EMS Plans can also be assigned to fires where a large EMS presence is needed or special events, such as a marathon where injuries may arise.
EMS Plan I
5 Ambulances, 1 Paramedic Field Chief, 1 Assistant Deputy Chief Paramedic, 1 Engine or 1 Truck (ALS), 1 Battalion Chief
EMS Plan II
EMS Plan *Upgrade*
5 Ambulances, 1 Paramedic Field Chief, 1 Deputy District Chief, 1 Command Van, 1 Triage Van, Media Affairs Unit
EMS Plan III
EMS Plan *Upgrade*
5 Ambulances, 1 Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner (EMS), 1 on-call Physician, 1 District Chief,
Hazardous Materials Incidents
During a Hazardous Materials (Haz-Mat.) Incident, such as a chemical spill or leak, the Chicago Fire Department assigned three specific levels of response depending on the size and magnitude of the incident. Aside from standard fire suppression equipment and Haz-Mat. equipment, the CFD also can dispatch standard fire suppression equipment whose crews have special training in hazardous materials situations and mitigation. These companies are called the Hazardous Incident Team (H.I.T.).