Pat Burrows sews gear bags, lettering, harness straps and other miscellaneous gear needs. She was featured in our Fire-Dex Remembers 9/11 video series. In the video, Pat talked about her three nephews that are Brooklyn firefighters and her passion about creating protective fire gear. She said, “we’re sewing the lives of firefighters.”
Highlights about Pat:
- She loves home improvement/construction projects: “putting up and tearing down walls”;
- Shes hates yellow and gold;
- She once won a line dancing contest.
- Pat says her work at Fire-Dex has made her more creative overall.
The steam pumper and the horse changed the face of firefighting. Not only did the steam pumper make it possible to supply continuous water to the scene of the fire, but horses starting pulling equipment and apparatus. Both lessened the need for manpower. What’s interesting is that although the horses transported the apparatus to the fire, the firefighters still arrived by foot. It wasn’t until the 1860s that running boards were installed on the sides of the ladder trucks, making it possible for the firefighters to ride to the scene of the fire. The name “running boards” came from the fact that they took the place of firefighters running to the fire. Imagine how this improved a firefighter’s ability to fight the fire once he arrived, no longer exhausted from the run.
Following are some additional highlights of the horse-drawn era:
- Horse-drawn ladder trucks grew in length to accommodate longer ladders. Wood aerial ladders were developed, which in the early days were as high as 85 feet. The first of this kind, patented in 1868, was set up so that the tillerman could sit underneath it. During this time, firefighters had to raise, rotate and extend the aerial ladders using gears and pulleys they cranked by hand.
- The horse-drawn chemical wagon was developed to quickly fight the fire while the steam pumper was being prepared. The wagons carried tanks that were filled with bicarbonate of soda and activated by mixing with sulfuric acid. The resulting chemical reaction shot into the air through a small hose.
- Horse-drawn water towers were popular as well, making it possible to apply a stream of water to upper floors.
- Steam apparatus had to be lubricated regularly, and brass oil cans were used to accomplish this task.
- Fire bells that appeared on the early steamers were made from brightly-polished brass and usually showcased ornaments.
- These early apparatus were decorated with striping, paintings and logos that later evolved into ornate gold leafing and stripes designed to characterize various departments. Lavish paint themes and polished brass added to the glitz, and colors ranged from dark green and brown to maroon, white and red.
Pictured above is a 1885 Ahrens Steam Pumper No.433 restored by the members of the Seymour FD. Built in 1885, this Ahrens (before Ahrens-Fox)steam pump was built in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Fire-Dex goes pink! In support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we created pink turnout and EMS extrication gear for our distributor Ten-8 Equipment and their customer, the Guardians of the Ribbon, Georgia Chapter.
Pictured above is Sherry Deveraux. Sherry works in our liners department. Great work by all!
Picture in your mind a fire that took place during Colonial Times and you’ll likely envision bucket brigades. In fact, individual homeowners were required to keep special leather buckets on hand so they could help to transport water from a nearby well or lake to the scene of the fire. As time evolved, the bucket brigade disappeared in favor of hoses made from riveted leather, hand-operated pumps and brass nozzles and fittings that connected the hoses. At the time, it greatly facilitated the ability to effectively fight fires.
Fire hose designs improved over time. As new materials and manufacturing methods were developed, the leather hoses were replaced with rubber hoses. Eventually even these were replaced with more durable synthetic fibers that were lighter and more flexible. But firefighters soon learned that they could be much more effective if they could move greater volumes of water, so larger hoses were developed. Early hoses were 2 ½ inches in diameter, and they were expected to flow 250 gallons of water per minute. By comparison, today’s hoses are often 5 inches in diameter and can easily deliver more than 1,500 gallons of water per minute. And because the newer hoses are made with lightweight materials, they are no heavier than their predecessors.