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    Default Appartus/Company nicknames

    I was reading a brief history of the Chicago fire to my students as a tie-in to lessons about 9-11, and I noticed that many of the hose carts/steam pumpers in the story had specific names-America, Vigilance. I know that many of the companies in NYFD have nicknames and patches.

    Is this something only larger departments do, or do any volunteer organizations follow this trend? In our combined department, stations are referred to by number and address or location: Station 1/County Line, Station 12/Headquarters. And each of our apparatus carries a simple name/numeric designator: Engine 12, Rescue 1, Tanker 2.

    The numeric references are clear and unambiguous, but I still like the romance of naming the engines and even the stations/companies. So, are any of you guys more creative? Do you have nicknames or mascots for your stations or engines? I'm not trying to change the culture of my department, but I am curious what else is out there.

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    Alot of the old companies had names for their companies along those lines. Some of these fire companies are still in operation dotted through out the northeast. In the early days of our country mostly the cities and towns had volunteer companies that served as fire companies and social clubs. That is where the names come from. A member had to pay dues and other club like things. The firefighting was just a small part in the equation. These organization held alarge amount of political power too. Which swayed local elections. Over time these cities started paid fire companies and the rest is history.

    My city had several of these "named fire companies" dating back to before 1800. They existed until 1858 when the city switched to a paid fire department. I cannot think of the names of them right of hand, however I will look in my history book for you.

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    I can tell you in Philly that originally we were a loose collection of independent volunteer companies. In 1871 we became a unified paid department. In the beginning, there were the "cute" names like Vigillance, Goodwill, Charity, Hibernian, etc... oh, and one little company known as "Union". When we unified, they became numbers. I can't access my copy of the dept. history for specifics, but say Goodwill Hose Co. became Engine 1, Vigillance Fire Co. became Engine 2, etc. Later additions as they came in just took the next available number. So, we have engine 73 - just happened to be the 73rd engine company we formed - but we have a lot less now.

    As for mascots, slogans and such, some of those direct descendants from the originals keep the old names on their patch as something to distinguish themselves. Others take modern cues; Our station in Chinatown is the House of Dragons. Another company is on Federal Street, hence they call themselves "Federal Express" (but use as a mascot the pony express). One house has E55/L22, they are "Double Trouble". Another had quite a reputation back in the day (and still do), they are the "Cuckoo's Nest". Our one station has something like 70% of the tallest buildings in the city, including the ten biggest skyscrapers here - they are "Above the rest". There are many more, and I don't meant to slight any not included here; just a few off the top of my head. As for mascots, majority had some cartoon character on their patch back in the day. Some still do, others have updated and gotten away from a "real" mascot. No dalmations/dogs permitted since the last commissioner, when allegedly one of them either bit or was sicced on him.
    Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RHB312 View Post
    I know that many of the companies in NYFD have nicknames and patches.
    What is NYFD? Never heard of it.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpita View Post
    One house has E55/L22, they are "Double Trouble".
    I thought 55/22 was "Double Nickel/Double Deuce?"

    No dalmations/dogs permitted since the last commissioner, when allegedly one of them either bit or was sicced on him.
    Heh heh heh that would be Ellwood, at E29/R1. I remember when that happened!!! LOL!!!!!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    It is funny my old volunteer department didn't have any nicknames per say...but my career department does. Our Engine 3 is the "BC express"...mostly because we are the engine that goes to Boston College and back in the day they used to keep us really busy.

    Our Engine 10's logo is the headless horseman and often known as "Sleepy Hallow" station, mostly because they do the least amount of runs. Which is nice for overtime

    I've heard nicknames for other towns stations as "Vacation Station 6" because lots of almost retirees go there.

    I know that some FDNY (incorporated before the city was a city...hence FDNY) pieces have nicknames...but I never though of it as a pure Northeast sort of thing....interesting
    Last edited by philfirerescue; 09-17-2011 at 10:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by mrpita
    One house has E55/L22, they are "Double Trouble".
    I thought 55/22 was "Double Nickel/Double Deuce?"

    No dalmations/dogs permitted since the last commissioner, when allegedly one of them either bit or was sicced on him.

    Heh heh heh that would be Ellwood, at E29/R1. I remember when that happened!!! LOL!!!!!
    OK, they're the Double Nickel and Double Deuce, too. The patch I am thinking of for them had Garfield and Heathcliff on it, with the legend "Double Trouble"...

    And refresh my memory, since you know the story. Was HH bit, or Ellwood sicced on him, or ???
    Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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    Check New York fire department history in the era before and just after "Boss Tweed". In the days of hand pumpers and bucket brigades. Lots of names for 'Enjines' and fire companies in the era before and just after the Civil War.

    Paid names here: http://firehistory.org/oldest-fd/oldest-paid/

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrpita View Post
    OK, they're the Double Nickel and Double Deuce, too. The patch I am thinking of for them had Garfield and Heathcliff on it, with the legend "Double Trouble"...

    And refresh my memory, since you know the story. Was HH bit, or Ellwood sicced on him, or ???
    Folklore has it that HH stopped at 4th & Girard one night to talk to (then) Capt B.S. of R1. Man on watch was not present to hold off the attack dogs. HH walked in, and Elwood was just protecting "his territory." Never heard that he was "sicced" on HH. I remember when this happened as it was the time that I was riding regularly with R1 on the C Plt.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    There are a few out our way, mostly department slogans. For Instance:

    Cuylerville is "Home of the Sink Hole" Due to a major collapse at the Aczo salt mine, that left a large area of land much lower in elevation...

    We are "home of the Iron Fireman", and have an Iron Firemen club with a monthly 50/50 drawing. We had a local artist who would paint some sweet murals on our rigs. My favorite was on the old Sanford pumper, and was a historical of a horse drawn steamer turning the corner onto main st from our firehouse. They used old photos of the village center from the mid 1800's.

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    My department doesn't have a nickname, but a surrounding town does; "Hilltown Hose Company" which they display on their engine and gear. Kind of weird, all of the surrounding towns/stations are strictly "Hose Companies".

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    Firematic race teams tend to have names, some of which apply to, or even began with the fire department itself.

    In this area: Calumets - Clayton, NY (native Americans, I think, also an Island in the St Lawrence), Quakers (Philadelphia, NY), Hornets - West Carthage, NY (yellow apparatus), Cubs - Copenhagen, NY, (unknown origin), Ramblers - Dexter, NY (unknown origin).

    My department was once known as the Red Rovers, and I have no idea where that came from.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    I know of one department in upstate NY that has a different Disney charecter on each piece of apparatus.

    I know of several VFDs that have names and a company logo for each of their stations. Some even have seperate T-shirts.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Forgot about the apparatus angle.

    One of our tankers was named "Soapy" after a long time member. How that member got that nickname escapes me at the moment.

    Our newest tanker is named "Soapy II." The original has long since been retired and is now used by the town highway department.

    Our engine carries "The Big One" on it's bug deflector.
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    Thumbs up And.............

    Our VFD was founded in 1928, and acquired the nickname "Blitz Crew" in the mid 1960s as our research into better Fire Attack methods began to bring a level of attention to what we were doing. We tried 1.5 hose on Reels, 3.0 Preconnect Handlines, 750 gpm Hand held nozzles etc. and had a lot of success (except for the Reels). The name is still with us today, along with a name for each piece of Apparatus. The Heavy Rescue is "Problem Solved", The Rescue Engine is "Rescue Wagon" and the Fire Engine carries "Blitz Crew"...........
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    Thank you for all the information! My class is getting to the Revolutionary War/early America period soon, and I'll bring in some of the history of the social club angle. I have taught before how Benjamin Franklin started the first fire department in America, but I have never gone into the Boss Tweed period.

    BTW-I think it's interesting how many responses I got from career firefighters in big departments. I never suspected you gentlemen would be reading the Volunteer forum. Thanks for adding so much to the discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    What is NYFD? Never heard of it.
    You never heard of the North Yokel FD? And their heartfelt slogan-So Others May Laugh? (You KNOW I meant FDNY. My fingers got tangled and my brain took a senior moment

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    Back in the day (I'm saying 20 years ago haha) We had a White Tower Ladder with hand crank out riggers and such, that my company paid some 13 grand for at the time. They called that truck the "White Ghost" And at that time my company was also called the "Black Sheep" I have no idea why, and I suppose were bringing it back, because we don't really have a "thing" Anymore, and moral ups are always important

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    I volly in Vernon, CT. The Department has 6 houses, 6 Engines, 2 Trucks, 2 Rescues, 3 Ambulances, and a few specialized service vehicles. Probably somewhere between 4000-4500 runs including medicals. EMS is paid part time, fire is not, busiest volunteer fire service in the state of CT. Half of town used to be a city called Rockville. These companies trace back to before the Civil War, and at one point were run by the mills. We call these houses Stations 4 and 5 today. Station 4 has Engine Tank 4, which was founded in 1855 and goes by Hockanum Hose Co. Engine 4 goes by Fitch Hose Co. Truck 5 is the Snipsic Hook and Ladder Co, and our motto is High and Mighty. Station 5 has Engine Tank 5 and they go by the Fitton Hose Co. All of these companies are over 100 years old, and the names are either notable local figures of the time or the mills that originally owned the rigs. We still have a horse drawn steamer that was put in service in 1895 and yes- it pumps water. The newer companies arent named after anyone, but they have their neighborhoods on the side of the rigs.
    Last edited by Mikelev69; 10-02-2011 at 11:52 PM.

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    We have an unnoficial nickname we just came up with a few weeks ago. We have a road in our district named Abilene Road which produces a higher than normal amount of MVCs. We have tossed around the idea of Abilene Road Rapid Response Rescue and Recovery(ARRRRR!) And using the Jolly Roger(pirate flag) as a "mascot". Convincing the older members will be a challenge.....

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    On the front of our big green tanker.


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    We have 6 pieces of apparatus but only two of them have nicknames.
    The tanker is Red River II, The tower is Rural Truckin' Company.
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