From the very earliest days of settlement in the New World, people realized the importance of fighting fires. Just one year after Jamestown was settled in 1607, fire destroyed a large part of the settlement. That’s when the colonists devised bucket brigades, a system that called for two lines of people who passed buckets of water down one line, tossed the water onto the fire, and then returned the buckets down the other line to be refilled. There were no fire alarms at that time—only the voices of citizens and any noisemakers they had at their disposal.
Unfortunately, there was no organized fire corps in this country until 1648, which started in New Amsterdam (now New York). They simply formed the position of fire warden and hired four individuals to fill that role. Their responsibilities included enforcing fire laws, primarily through the inspection of buildings. At that time, wooden chimneys and thatched roofs were banned. These had already been identified as the two major fire hazards in American cities.
Nevertheless, it was Boston and Philadelphia that really took the lead in the development of formal firefighting. They were the first two cities to purchase fire engines, which at that time were either man- or horse-powered vehicles imported from England. These early vehicles were equipped with hand pumps that helped to stream water at the flames. Although rudimentary, they were far more effective than the bucket brigades.
It’s interesting to note that our nation’s founding fathers were interested in firefighting, particularly George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Both were volunteer firefighters. But it was Benjamin Franklin who took it to the next level by forming the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia in 1736. This volunteer organization served as a model for the professional leagues that followed.
By the early 1800s, the invention of the steam-powered water pump made it possible to stream water into hoses. This was a huge boon to firefighting efforts everywhere. It required less manpower and made it much easier to fight fires. Still, it wasn’t until 1853 that the first paid firefighting company was formed in Cincinnati, Ohio. Other cities quickly followed Cincinnati’s example, which made way for career firefighters who were better trained and more efficient on the job.
The twentieth century brought with it the internal combustion engine for cars and eventually for fire trucks. Other improved technologies, such as radio communication and self-contained breathing apparatus, greatly facilitated the ability to fight fires more safely and efficiently. Today, professional firefighters are highly trained and available at all hours of the day and night. Clearly, we’ve come a long way from the days of the bucket brigades.
Graduation Parties and Future Plans Are Happening…You will be surprised where these two seniors will assume their future adult roles in society.
While most of their classmates are counting on four years of college to sort out their ambitions and career paths, Ben Hagstad and Ashley Ebel have their futures firmly in their grasp. They both want to be firefighters.
As graduated seniors from Granville High School, these two residents became full-fledged volunteers for the Granville Township Fire Department last January.
According to the Marion Star, Fire Chief Jeff Hussey said although having two teens at the station with the degree of training that Hagstad and Ebel have is a first for the station, most of the volunteers firefighters he recruits today are younger than 21. As people get older, they get busier and harder to recruit, he said.
Hagstad’s and Ebel’s interest in firefighting wasn’t an instant flash of inspiration, but rather a gradual process. They were intrigued by an announcement at school about a local Explorer Scout group sponsored by the fire department that focuses on firefighting as a career, and they decided to join.
Once they had the chance to go on fire and EMS runs and experience the camaraderie of the department, their enthusiasm grew, and they decided to go a step further.
For Ebel, it was taking an EMT class in her spare time while continuing her education at Granville High School. For Hagstad, it was enrolling in C-TEC in his junior year so he could take a high school curriculum focused on a career as a firefighter.
Best of luck to Hagstad and Ebel as they begin their journey in fire service. This article originally appeared in the Marion Star. It was republished in its entirety with permission.
The National 9/11 Flag is one of the largest American flags to hang above the destruction at Ground Zero in New York City. This was displayed on the west facade of 90 West Street, a landmark building one block south of the South Tower.
Heavily damaged after attacks on the World Trade Center, the National 9/11 Flag became a symbol of American resilience. The flag was mended and stitched back together seven years after the World Trade Center attacks by tornado survivors in Greensburg, Kansas.
Over 160 Million Americans have seen the National 9/11 Flag through national and local television broadcasts, sporting events, community gatherings and cultural events. This Saturday, June 25th the flag will visit Columbus, Ohio on the West Lawn of City Hall.
A recent study of Seattle-area firehouses by University of Washington researchers found that the stubborn MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can lead to severe infections, can be transmitted by fire station personnel. MRSA is associated with approximately 19,000 deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Because fire personnel interact with both hospitals and the population in general, the MRSA bacteria can be carried between the two.
The study, published in the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, indicates that the MRSA bacteria is found most “in the medic trucks, kitchens, and other areas such as computer keyboards and computer desks.” Medic trucks were the most common area.
Researchers aimed to determine whether the MRSA strains were related to hospital or community strains. Their conclusion: both types can contaminate fire station surfaces.
As a result of this study, the Emergency Management and Response – Information Sharing and Analysis Center has provided a list of recommendations to protect responding personnel from a potentially serious or life-threatening infection.
What to Do:
- Utilize cleaning agents correctly.
- Filter air in stations.
- Confine turnout gear to work areas.
- Reduce the risk of carrying MRSA home by leaving station wear at the station and wash after use.
- Install disinfectant hand gel dispensers at key points between bays and the station. Or install sinks in apparatus bays.
- Have 9-1-1 dispatchers ask if anyone has flu-like symptoms, then wear masks, goggles and gloves when entering a home.
- Replace cloth surfaces with hard surfaces wherever possible.
- Do not share hand towels.
For a complete list of suggestions: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/downloads/pdf/infograms/23_11.pdf
It’s the summer of the boot for Fire-Dex so we wanted you to get to know the guy who is responsible for getting those boots shipped to you – Larry Haught. Larry, just named team leader for boot fulfillment, is responsible for filling boot orders, shipping, receiving and maintaining warehouse efficiency since he joined the Fire-Dex team in September 2010. Larry’s positive smile and “can-do” attitude is what makes Fire-dex one of the most efficient shipment operations in the country.
What Larry Likes About Working at Fire-Dex
Larry will soon be handling helmets, hoods and gloves as well as overseeing fellow employees. Those employees and their dedication to quality are the reason Larry enjoys coming to work at Fire-Dex each day.
“Fire-Dex employee’s care about the quality of the product and take pride in customer satisfaction,” said Larry. “We work hard to expedite the process of getting our product to the customer, and we strive to help them find what best meets their needs.”
Larry’s Advice to Clients
“My advice to the distributors is to maintain a supply of new and in-demand products for purchasers and to try and to keep the lines of communication open so Fire-Dex can meet your needs in a timely and efficient manner,” he said. We are a custom outfitter, and work hard to meet each and every individual need of our customers and distributors.
7 Things You Don’t Know About Larry
- He sang in a gospel quartet in high school and still loves to sing.
- He enjoys fishing.
- Larry has a green thumb.
- Salty Junk Food or Sugary Snacks? Chips! “That’s the one junk food I can’t live without.”
- Coke or Pepsi? “That is a great question. Coke over Pepsi, but Diet Pepsi over Diet Coke.”
- “I like to impersonate Arnold Schwarzenegger.” We assume he means Ah-nold’s accent!
- And, yes, he has been a Fire-Dex gear model for a local ad. (photo above)