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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    Default Wetdowns--please explain

    The practice of "wetdowns" is getting a lot of attention on another site (stater911) and I am just wondering the whole point of it.

    I am trying to educate myself by searching and all I find is videos and pictures of a glorified water fight. I really am trying to look at this with an open mind and try to understand the tradition behind it. Seems only popular in the east coast, particularly New Jersey.

    Can anyone explain this to me yet keeping it professional and without the name calling or nastiness I have seen in defense of this. I just want to know what the point is...what are you supposed to be doing?? Not trying to start a fight, just trying to understand the history, tradition, and the procedure for hosting or participating in one.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!


  2. #2
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    The practice of "wetdowns" is getting a lot of attention on another site (stater911) and I am just wondering the whole point of it.

    I am trying to educate myself by searching and all I find is videos and pictures of a glorified water fight. I really am trying to look at this with an open mind and try to understand the tradition behind it. Seems only popular in the east coast, particularly New Jersey.

    Can anyone explain this to me yet keeping it professional and without the name calling or nastiness I have seen in defense of this. I just want to know what the point is...what are you supposed to be doing?? Not trying to start a fight, just trying to understand the history, tradition, and the procedure for hosting or participating in one.
    I would be lying if I said I never went to one or that I never enjoyed one.

    It's basically a big party to celebrate a new piece of apparatus. Some companies come and "wet down" the new piece. Some of these guys then spray others with water.

    I was never into the whole water fight thing.. seemed stupid to me.

    However, I like to party and as long as you had coverage, didn't seem to be so bad.

    That was then... times were different. Heck, in the 1970's the engineer's job was to make sure there was a pack of camel's and a bottle of blackberry brandy in the glove box on all the rigs. The Lady's Artillary (I mean auxilliary) would bring a cooler of beer and sandwiches after a fire.

    My department had some of the biggest wetdowns. Live band, beer truck, the works. We would make money on them by selling mugs (ceramic and then plastic).. fifty/fifties.. etc.

    Then the world started to change in the 80's/90's. Fights that used to happen now generated lawsuits, fund raising became expensive parties, guys who used to work hard to make things happen around the firehouse, became slugs on the couch who were in it for themselves...

    ON the flip side, good things happened too... the volunteer fire departments (some of them) grew up. Got professional and focused on safety and training.

    Some didn't. Would you believe 10 years ago I went to a mutual aid fire at a nearby department and their asst chief came out of the burning dwelling wearing a helmet, scba, turnout coat, sweatpants and loafers?

    Yep.. some got the message and some ignored it. Those that ignore it due so at extreme risk to themselves and their department.

    The crazy wetdowns still happen and guys still don't wear all their PPE and buckle their seatbelts.

    We are our own worst enemy sometimes.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  3. #3
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    What else do you need to know? Didnt you get enough explanation at IACOJ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Some didn't. Would you believe 10 years ago I went to a mutual aid fire at a nearby department and their asst chief came out of the burning dwelling wearing a helmet, scba, turnout coat, sweatpants and loafers?
    WOW! I've heard stories from MANY years back of guys advancing hoselines inside of burning homes in shorts and a t-shirt but just 10 years ago? There's just no excuse.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Last one we had was on the beach. Many apparatus showed up and were judged for trophies. A few short speeches and a blessing. LOTS of pictures. Live band, Tug of War in the sand, some other small "competitions". Had a beer trailer 1 side being beer, 1 side being Birch Beer. Food was provided via one of the restaraunts on the boardwalk. We sold ceramic mugs, plastic mugs, and plastic cups. Yes, we made a couple dollars on it. In 1 of the parking lots, there was a water fight. Guys used booster lines off tanks. Water fight lasted maybe 1/2 hour, was no big deal (unlike video posted earlier). Had a parade once the judging was done. Had 212 trucks/engines in the parade. Ya, the parade was that big.

    I've been to about 30 in my years. Most were fairly low key, some food, some music, and small ceremonies. Very few had water fights (like the video previously) and when they did, we left.

    For the most part, it's been a way to show your new truck to people...that's about all. I would not put the previous video posted as an example of what commonly happens....that was more on the rare part.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    I'm curious where the practice came from. Who thought "gee we got this new truck, better have everyone come over and squirt water at it"?


    Pushing the rig in is understandable because they used to have to push the wagons in. Just like some other things we do, we had to do it before the new technology came along.

  7. #7
    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    Back in the horse and buggy days, when a department ordered a new piece of equiment it was customary for all the firefighters to get together and wash down the apparatus. This was because there were no paved roads back then and the apparatus had to make the arduous journey pulled by Belgian Clydesdales. Well you can imagine just how dirty a new hose wagon or steam pumper can get traveling all those many miles behind those huge draft horses for hundreds maybe even thousands of miles.
    Some went by rail but even in those days there were no covered cars.

    Over the years as more and more townships were founded, areas became more densly populated, and friendships formed, outside agencies were invited to view and help wash the new rig, as it was a pretty big deal back then to be able to afford a new engine.

    As the years went by townspeople all gathered together for a community picnic and parade. The whole community was involved and they stood proudly by as their firemen washed and detailed and displayed their new apparatus for all to see. What a spectacle!









    I hope this helps, cause I just made it all up......
    IAFF

  8. #8
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nameless View Post
    I'm curious where the practice came from. Who thought "gee we got this new truck, better have everyone come over and squirt water at it"?


    Pushing the rig in is understandable because they used to have to push the wagons in. Just like some other things we do, we had to do it before the new technology came along.
    Funny how our tradition is less understandable?

    We never had wagons, so I guess we didn't have to push anything.

    I imagine it is similar to smashing a bottle of champagne on a ship.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    I always thought it had to do with keeping the wooden spokes damp.

  10. #10
    Forum Member Chauffeur6's Avatar
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    It's akin to a christening.

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    I thought it was symbolic of all the new guys ******ing on tradition
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

  12. #12
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Funny how our tradition is less understandable?

    We never had wagons, so I guess we didn't have to push anything.

    I imagine it is similar to smashing a bottle of champagne on a ship.
    Actually, have never seen an engine pushed into a building other than 1 time in PA. (and it was funny hearing the public talking about how the damn truck doesn't even run...it has to be pushed).


    Pushing engines into buildings is NOT common in my area at all.

    Though, we did have to push start our 66 Mack a few times...
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    Default

    The more I look and research, the more the videos that have surfaced are not the norm. The 'norm' is what Bones mentioned, nothing out of control.

    I still don't agree with them but to each his own. We got some goofy traditions around here too.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    as it was a pretty big deal back then to be able to afford a new engine.
    hell it still is for my department

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    I want to go to a wet down on the beach. That sounds fun.

    Bones, I have been spending a lot of time in your neck of the woods lately. Love it there. Trying to move in.
    This space for rent

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    Quote Originally Posted by KyleWickman View Post
    I want to go to a wet down on the beach. That sounds fun.

    Bones, I have been spending a lot of time in your neck of the woods lately. Love it there. Trying to move in.
    And leave all of this???? (Morris County, I mean).
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber SIMP0LMAN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KyleWickman View Post
    I want to go to a wet down on the beach. That sounds fun.

    Bones, I have been spending a lot of time in your neck of the woods lately. Love it there. Trying to move in.
    Nuthin but pineys down there! LOL

  18. #18
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Itís called tradition. Also pushing the rig into the house is another tradition.

    When I was in the Army and made rank, the guys always wetted down the new stripes on the fatigue shirts.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  19. #19
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Pineys? Whoa, that hurts. A little bit south of here....

    Kyle, lots of nice areas. Some big, some small. Some good schools, some not so good (if you have kids).

    House prices are getting to be closer to what they are actually worth...not the inflated costs that people used to be willing to pay for.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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