Fire Alarm Dispatch

Old Fire Alarm Building 1911

The Fire Alarm Building at 1310 Oak Street was officially opened in 1911. The building was built as a result of the 1906 Earthquake that substantially damages the old Fire Alarm building at 14th and Washington St, now City Center. The new building ushered in the new dispatch capabilities and the start of Oakland's manufacturing  of its own equipment. The building was one of the first fireproof buildings and contained no flammable materials. The building contained the Fire Dispatch, Electrical Department Administration, Line crews, Full service machine and fabrication shop, Assembly and repair shop, battery room, Generator backup and storage. The building was built on 3 power grids that made it so that the City would have to have a complete power outage before power would be lost to the building. The battery banks would keep power for 12 hours and the generator would supply power for 3 days before requiring refueling. This building also received the messages and alarms for the police department and would relay them to the Police stations  This building remained functional till 1983 when operations were moved to the Fire operations at 1605 Martin Luther King Jr, Way and computer aided dispatch began. Fire Boxes were removed in 1978 but dispatch to the station's Tape registers and house equipment continued until this building was closed in 1983. Auxillary Boxes were in service until 1989. 

Site Content

Incoming Box Circuits


48 individual box circuits and 48 tape registers took the box transmissions from throughout the City

Original Registers


The original registers and equipment were made by Gamewell. After a dispute with Gamewell in 1922, the Dispatch equipment was removed completely by 1928 and replaced by equipment manufactured by Oakland. The new equipment was faster and had the capacity to serve a City of 1 million

Oakland Manhole


The new system also incorporated new manholes and underground cables.

Dispatch Position


The dispatch consisted of the Hot and Cold seats and the Chief Fire Alarm Operator Desk. Day shift many times would have an additional Electrician that would field test the boxes. 

Share the big news


Have you opened a new location, redesigned your shop, or added a new product or service? Don't keep it to yourself, let folks know.

Address Lookup


Address lookup cards aided with the calls via phone rather than box. Dispatchers used t