A Short History Of Firefighters

Human control of fire may date back 400,000 years and is often described as the first step towards civilization, but extinguishing it is just as important to mankind as making fire. The first evidence of firefighting can be seen in ancient Egyptian artifacts, and we know that organized teams of firefighters originated in 300 BC under the rule of Augustus. in Rome, but who are the firefighters we know today, and how did they become what they are?

Red Truck

When you think of firetrucks, you probably think of the color red. Why is this such a common color for firetrucks around the world? According to science, red is the most attention-grabbing color because it has the longest wavelength and thus can be seen from afar than any other colour. It also helped that the U.S. The first cars on the road in the U.S. were generally black because black was cheap, so in the early 20th century, fire departments painted their trucks bright red to stand out in a sea of ​​dark vehicles.


Before they had trucks, firefighters used a variety of strategies to get ahead of the crowd, including ringing bells and employing dogs to guide them through streets full of horses and carts. The Dalmatian in particular has done a good job of keeping horses galloping and has an amazing ability to keep horses calm next to a blazing hell. They also guarded the vehicles while the firefighters did their job, protecting their belongings from thieves.

Fire Poles

Animals are also responsible for another firefighting quirk: slide poles. Because the old firehouses were supposed to house and protect the horses in the midst of emergencies, they may not have regular stairs, lest the horses try to follow them. This meant that stations often only had spiral staircases, but they were not easy to bolt on to carry 50 lbs. of equipment, so in the 1870s, a firefighter at Engine Company 21 in Chicago decided to simply slide down the pole that had been used to secure the wagons on the floor below, including third-floor storage. Grass had been felled.

Everyone thought it was such a good idea that they replaced it with a sturdier pole for that express purpose, and while other firefighters scoffed at the strange invention, this particular firehouse was the city's first all-black fire company, so no It wasn't even about giving them any credit for anything. The laughter faded when it became clear that Company 21 was always the first to arrive on the scene, and by the turn of the century, brass poles were common in America's firehouses.

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