Monday, January 01, 2007

This Date in Fire History - Jan 1

Note: This got posted kinda late, as we went to visit relatives last night, and got home around 3:00. I didn't wake up till after 4:00 PM. hey, I take advantage of my days off!

January 1, 1853, Cincinnati, Ohio, must have been quite a day. The locals were treated (I presume) to the demonstration of what the NFPA described as "the world's first practical fire engine." I was unable to find a picture of the engine, but I assume (with the usual caveat) that it was horse-drawn and probably hand-operated, with the long bar on each side being pumped up and down to create pressure for the hose lines.

Obviously, there have been tremendous advances since that cold day in 1853. I doubt the firemen in those days -- pretty much all the men in town, working together to try to keep fires from spreading -- would recognize or even comprehend some of today's equipment. Crash-Fire-Rescue trucks at our airports, HazMat response vehicles, heavy rescue units, brush trucks, rescue boats, all can trace their ancestry back to that one simple engine.

Training too has seen tremendous progress, what with today's dive teams, trench rescuse teams, high-rise attack protocols, EMS, all sorts of stuff.

It's no longer a matter of simply "putting the wet stuff on the red stuff." Today's firefighters are trained in a multitude of skills that the forebears could not have dreamed of, and their equipment has had to keep up.

So while we're all watching football and nursing hangovers, say a little "thank you" to the firefighters, cops, EMS crews, the truck drivers and cabbies, the pilots and waitresses out there working their butts off for us.

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