In 1976, I eagerly awaited the arrival of my Firehouse® Magazine charter issue. I can remember sitting around the firehouse and talking to fellow firefighters about the new magazine. Throughout the years I continued to read and observe Firehouse® expand into new areas. One area of particular interest was technology. While it was never specifically labeled as such, Firehouse® always kept firefighters abreast of the new technological changes that were occurring in the fire service.
This article takes an-in-depth look at all the changes that have taken place inside the American firehouse since 1976. Computer-aided dispatch, E-911, pagers, radios, apparatus, exhaust systems, traffic light controllers, hose, nozzles, personal protective equipment, EMS equipment, hazardous materials equipment, gas/atmospheric detection devices, terrorism containment and protective equipment, thermal imaging cameras, online and CD-ROM training, incident command vests, auto extrication equipment, telescoping light towers, weather monitoring equipment, ventilation equipment, warning lights and sirens, PASS devices, cellular phones, faxes, computers and the Internet, and much, much more.
What follows is a wrap-up of where we started and where the American Fire Service has progressed.