NEW YORK (WABC) -- The FDNY celebrated the 150th anniversary of the department Saturday with its first-ever citywide open house program.
More than 200 firehouses and EMS Stations opened their doors to the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., with Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro attending Open House events at EMS Station 27 in the Bronx at 11 a.m. and Engine Company 287/Ladder 136 in Queens at 1 p.m.
"For a century and a half, FDNY members have risked their lives bravely protecting life and property in our city, an enduring commitment steeped in pride and tradition," he said. "That tradition of service is devoted to the people of our great city, and we're inviting them all - every New Yorker - to join us in this historic celebration. We want them to come and meet the men and women who serve them with selfless dedication."
Throughout the day firefighters, paramedics and EMTs educated the public about fire and life safety, conducting demonstrations, discussing the department's storied history and offering tours of FDNY apparatus (engines, ladders and ambulances).
Thanks to generous support from the FDNY Foundation, members distributed more than 6,000 combination smoke/carbon monoxide alarms and information on careers available within the Department. They will also be giving away more than 100,000 items commemorating this historic year including fire safety coloring books, fire helmets for children, flashlights and magnets with messages promoting the anniversary.
Volunteers from the American Red Cross were also on hand at all locations to schedule free smoke/carbon monoxide alarm installations.
"We are proud to stand alongside FDNY and celebrate this tremendous 150-year milestone while helping save lives," said Josh Lockwood, Regional CEO of Greater NY Red Cross.
Throughout the celebration, all FDNY units remained on call to respond to fires and medical emergencies. In 2014, FDNY had its busiest year ever, responding to more than 1.6 million incidents.
To find the nearest location and time, visit NYC.gov/FDNY
The origins of the Fire Department of New York date back to 1648, but it wasn't until May 2, 1865 that the modern-day FDNY was established with the creation of the Metropolitan Fire Department (MFD). The first professional unit, Engine Company 1, went into service later that year with horse-drawn engines and ladder trucks responding to fire calls.
In 1870, the MFD was reorganized and the lettering on all apparatus was changed to FDNY. Over the next several decades, the FDNY expanded beyond Manhattan and Brooklyn into all five boroughs, replacing existing volunteer fire departments, building new firehouses and forming new fire companies to meet the fire protection needs of the growing population.
In 1996, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation's EMS Division merged with the FDNY, creating the largest Department-based EMS system in the country. Today, more than 16,000 FDNY members continue to carry out the life-saving mission of the Department which began 150 years ago.
FDNY holds first-ever citywide open house to celebrate 150th anniversary