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The fire department is a city's main defense against fires. Each fire station built has a radius of influence. Increasing the funds for fire departments will increase each station's area of effect while decreasing funding will have the opposite effect. The functionality of the fire department is based on its real-life counterpart.
The Original SimCity
SimCity, being the first game in the series, also had the first fire stations. The stations cost $500 to build along with $100 a month for the maximum fire coverage. The fire headquarters was available as a reward. Along with acting as a regular fire station, it increased the range of all the regular fire stations.
The fire stations made their return in SimCity 2000, though the fire headquarters didn't. Each fire station provided a squad for the emergency dispatch. If a fire broke out and you had no fire stations, a bucket brigade would be made available. The player also has the option to enable an ordinance for a volunteer fire department.
SimCity 3000 keeps the fire stations and the emergency dispatch for fire fighters. However, the option of a volunteer fire department was removed.
SimCity 4 gives the player more control over how much fire coverage they want. Along with offering small and large fire stations, the player can also adjust the budget of individual stations. However, a lower budget means the possibility of a strike as well as being less effective when dispatched. The Rush Hour expansion adds a fire department landing strip to provide a wide area of coverage. The U-Drive-It mode also give the player the option to take the role of a firefighter and it gives mayors the option to put out fires themselves, rather than dispatching fire crews to the scene. The available firefighting vehicles in the game include a firetruck and a fire plane.
Note that other than areas that cannot be serviced by fire engines, it's not recommended to use a fire plane to put out regular fires, as it takes much longer for the plane to arrive on scene, on top of the fact that it takes several passes to drop enough water to put out the fire, by which time a fire crew could have easily dealt with the problem.
- There is a glitch where occasionally during a riot, you will be unable to get the fire crews out of the truck in UDI mode. This is especially a problem with areas with heavy rioting.
- Fires will not occur in an area protected by a fire station; even existing fires will be put out once a fire station is built.
SimCity removes the ability to be able to dispatch fire trucks manually, as the fire department receives a call automatically from the scene of the disaster. However, the fire department is greatly improved, in SC'13 the player can choose from two different fire buildings, Fire Station and Fire Headquarters, both have different purposes, and requirements.
Coverage and Response
In previous SimCity titles fire coverage was extremely simple, by placing a fire station no fires will spark within that specific zone. This meant by plopping fire stations all around your city, fires were a thing of the past. Response methods in previous titles also meant that the player would have to manually select, locate and dispatch their fire trucks.
SC'13 has completely revamped the coverage and response system, by placing a fire station it does not remove the possibility of a fire, fires like in real life spread whether there's a fire station close or not. As for dispatch and response, because there is no longer a coverage you have to deeply think about where you place your fire stations, if your fire trucks get stuck in traffic, the fire could spread to other buildings. The player does not have to manually dispatch fire trucks. The station also features animations of the firefighters sliding down the pole, hopping in the truck and rushing to the fire when the alarm bells ring.
A basic 1 fire truck building, costing $15,000 and $200 per hour. This fire station is the basic fire station, it comes with 1 fire truck, although the player does have the ability to add up to 4 extra fire truck bays. This fire station can also be customized with a sign saying "FIRE STATION", a flag pole, and a bell tower that improves the dispatch time of the fire crew.
This building is much bigger than fire station. You can add more garages which have hook and ladder trucks. Also, you can add a Haz Mat garage which dispatches Haz Mat trucks that put out Haz Mat fires that form in high density industrial zones. However, you must build a School of Engineering in a University in the region. You could build a Fire Marshall that dispatches Fire Marshalls that prevents fires. Also a Fire Dispatch Tower will improve response times. Along with that a sign and flag pole can be built mainly for decoration.