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Thread: History of Firefighting

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    Forum Member MichaelXYZ's Avatar
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    Default History of Firefighting

    Greetings and Happy New Year. I had to write a report on the history of firefighting for a class I was taking. I thought I would share it.


    History of Firefighting

    One can almost envision man’s first encounter with fire, some many millennia ago. A lightning strike near a brushy outcrop perhaps, suddenly transformed from a dark, cold gully to a brightly lit, and strangely warm miracle. What fear, curiosity, and sense of wonderment must have filled the thoughts of this paleo-race? The use of charcoal as a writing medium in the 17,000 year old cave paintings of Lascaux France provides evidence that man had already mastered fire, and the uses of its byproducts1. From warm caves, cooked meat to forging bronze, indeed, fire has had a profound effect on the evolutionary rise of man-kind. With the discovery of fire also came the discovery of its destructive power when misused; hence the first firefighters were born. Due to lack of written records during the time of Paleo-man, much about firefighting is just speculation.

    One of the first written records of a fire brigade dates back to 115 B.C. in ancient Rome, others were the fire brigades of Alexandria Egypt. Capitalism and profit was the basis of the first fire department as a man Marcus Licinius Crassus realized a need, and formed a brigade, 500 men strong. Interestingly, In the event of a fire, Crassus brigade responded to the cries for help, but took no action until a negotiation of price for services rendered could be made with the building owner(2).

    The first emperor of Rome, Imperator Caesar Divi F. Augustus socialized Crassus idea around 6 A.D. forming the Vigiles Urbani ("watchmen of the City"). Using the fire brigade of Alexandria Egypt as the paradigm, Augustus formed the first public fire department called the Vigiles(2). The Spartoli, as they were nicknamed meaning "little bucket fellows" were probably the first professional bucket brigade as they are called today. To fund this newly formed public service, Augustus imposed a 4% tax on the sale of slaves(3).

    Much like many of the other public services in ancient Rome, the Vigiles were quite sophisticated, and were much like the fire departments of today. The crews were housed in barracks, and patrolled the streets on the ready for fires. The firefighters were equipped with pumps, buckets, hooks, picks, and axes. Also amongst their firefighting salvo was a device called a ballistae, akin to a catapult able to launch large projectiles, used for creating fire breaks. The Romans left no stones unturned as they even had an EMS division staffed with doctors. Despite this impressive fire brigade, two thirds of Rome was destroyed by fire in 64 A.D.(3).

    Much of what the Romans brought to civilizations was lost with the fall of Rome, During the Dark Ages and beyond public fire service was all but non-existent. Europe fell victim to devastating fires, and in 1666 the Great Fire of London scorched about 2 square miles of the city, leaving thousands without homes. Following the great fire, private fire brigades were formed along with the first fire engines. It was not until then that water pumps were once again being used much like Rome had done 500 years earlier. Firefighting technology was slow to develop at the time but one noteworthy innovation was that of fire hose by Dutch inventor Jan Van der Heyden in 1672, a leather jacketed hose with brass couplers every 50 feet. Much of this remains standard today(2).

    Across the pond, the New World was also feeling the sting of fire, and the need for fire agencies, and ordinances preventing fires. After a major fire in Boston in 1631, Boston Governor John Winthrop prohibited wooden chimneys and thatched roofs initiating America’s first fire regulations. Later in New York City, 1648, fire wardens were assigned to enforce these ordinances thereby creating America’s first fire department5. The man whose face once appeared on the half dollar, a great man of his time, and known for many achievements, Benjamin Franklin instituted the first volunteer fire department in Philadelphia.

    Much like Rome, New York City was the crown jewel of the New World, the mecca of this soon to be new great nation. It is no surprise then that New York City would serve as the birthplace for public fire service. The fire department of New York City (FDNY) is now the largest municipal fire department in the United States(6).

    In the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam (now New York City), after the first fire wardens were appointed, the prowlers were formed. Often called the rattle watch, furnished with buckets, hooks and ladders they would patrol the streets at night on the lookout for fire from 9 o’clock until dawn. To manage a fire large amounts of water are needed, the rattlers met this demand by attaching many leather buckets to ladders thus making transport easier. In 1664 the Dutch settlement became a British colony and was renamed New York(6).

    It was not until 1731 that the first fire brigades would be put into service. Hand drawn pumpers from London would be the first two engine companies, engine 1 and engine 2. All citizens of good health were required to answer the call to service in the event of fire. The burgeoning city growth soon prompted the need for a more organized way to handle the ever growing need to protect its city and its citizens. In 1737, a more able force was assembled as New York City formed its first volunteer fire department. This new vigilant, able body group of men set the standard for selection of those wishing to serve the people in the fire service(6).

    The end of the revolutionary war gave birth to this new great nation and ushered in the now FDNY. The volunteers continued to be the mainstay of the fire service until the Civil War, and in 1865, New York City introduced its first paid metropolitan fire department. Not surprising, this new entity fueled resentment and rife amongst the volunteer units. This rife often led to physical altercations and brawling between the two entities, but the burning resentment was soon quenched with the advent of the first steam engines thus eliminating the need for men to pump water and the volunteer service soon ended with a smolder in the greater New York City area(6).

    Steam driven, horse drawn pumps for Engine Company 1 would be the start of a new era in the municipal fire service. With Engine Company 1 only servicing the Manhattan area of New York City, “The United Brooklyn and New York (cities) to form a Metropolitan District Act” would expand the reach of the FDNY. This new department now consisted of 13 officers and 552 men. Today’s firefighters would be up in arms to work the hours of our founding fathers of firefighting:

    “They worked a continuous tour of duty, with 3 hours a day for meals and one day off a month. They were paid salaries according to their rank or grade.”6
    Portions of New York City were added to the coverage of the FDNY, areas like Queens, the Bronx and Brooklyn to name just a few. 1898 saw the consolidation of all areas of New York City, and todays FDNY now boast a city coverage serving 8 million people(6).

    The pride of serving citizens in the protection of their cities now spans from New York to California. Much of what firefighter do and know can be traced back to the early days of the FDNY. From a group of rag tag men, to an elite group of people serving the greater good, the fire service of today, still following the traditions of our forefather continue to serve as role models and a source of city pride.


    Bibliography:

    1 Lascaux Caves http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lascaux
    2History of firefighting http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_firefighting
    3Vigiles Urbani http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vigiles
    4Firefighting Timeline http://www.auroraregionalfiremuseum....y_timeline.htm
    5Ditzel, Paul C. Fire Engines, Firefighters: the Men, Equipment, and Machines, from Colonial Days to the Present. New York: Crown, 1976
    6FDNY http://www.nyc.gov/html/fdny/html/hi..._service.shtml
    Last edited by MichaelXYZ; 01-03-2013 at 01:38 AM.


  2. #2
    Forum Member MichaelXYZ's Avatar
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    One of my previous college professors emailed me not too long ago that the above essay was flagged by turnitin.com, he knew it was mine because I did it for his homework assignment.

    First I don't know why anyone would copy this essay based on the zero lack of interest on this forum over my essay, but more importantly, I think the fire service has no room for people who would cheat in school.
    A firefighter must be trusted in a house filled with brothers and sisters, and trust is one of the most important things a fire family must foster. With my crew I leave my cell phone laying around sometimes and I am sure I could leave my wallet too. If your not the kinda guy/gal that would tell a store cashier that s/he gave you too much change after a purchase, then I suggest you re-examine your moral compass, and consider if the fire service is really for you. If your moral compass does not point true, then I suggest you try politics...

    Rant over
    Last edited by MichaelXYZ; 08-03-2013 at 04:30 AM.

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    So let me get this straight.....You post something on the internet- where anyone on the face of the planet with a laptop, desktop, smartphone, ipad, notebook or whatever and internet access could find it- then you come in here- a "virtual firehouse kitchen" to cry about it AND basically (in so many words) accuse another firefighter of committing plagiarism......?????

    You're a special kind of stupid, aren't you?
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    Forum Member MichaelXYZ's Avatar
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    Many essays, writings and other works are shared on the internet. The intent is to share ideas, enlighten, and add to a compendium of knowledge. The expectation of this free sharing of thoughts, ideas, knowledge, and work put into research is that the readers will use these works to assist in their research, ideas, essays, or just general knowledge.

    For a college student to blatantly copy works of others and submit it as there own work is in violation of most college/student agreements and I find it very unethical. Many colleges and universities use software such as turnitin.com to catch students using other works as their own. I just expect fire students to have a little integrity. I don't think I was so much as crying, more like ranting.

    I have no problem with people using works of others on their own websites, citations are nice, but using for a homework assignment is just dishonest.

    And no I am not a special kinda stupid, just the regular kind.
    Last edited by MichaelXYZ; 08-05-2013 at 03:52 AM.

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    FYI turnitin also checks web pages for content that is on the Internet so it is very possible that they picked it up from this post. That program does all sorts of crappy stuff like increase the percentage of plagiarism that it finds in your papers because it compares your new paper with older ones. I personally hate it because they get to store my writing in it and use it for free but that is another can of worms. Good paper by the way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    So let me get this straight.....You post something on the internet- where anyone on the face of the planet with a laptop, desktop, smartphone, ipad, notebook or whatever and internet access could find it- then you come in here- a "virtual firehouse kitchen" to cry about it AND basically (in so many words) accuse another firefighter of committing plagiarism......?????

    You're a special kind of stupid, aren't you?
    It wouldn't have been been reported on turnitin.com unless someone HAD committed plagiarism. And as the original author, he has the RIGHT to complain about it. And I for one, wouldn't want to work with someone so lazy that they couldn't research such basic information themselves and write their own paper. You might want to take your foot out of your mouth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    It wouldn't have been been reported on turnitin.com unless someone HAD committed plagiarism. And as the original author, he has the RIGHT to complain about it. And I for one, wouldn't want to work with someone so lazy that they couldn't research such basic information themselves and write their own paper. You might want to take your foot out of your mouth.
    The OP started a thread titled "The history of firefighting". Any jabroni that wants to learn about "The history of firefighting" do what billions of other people do when they want info on a certain subject, they google it. This thread title will naturally come up with a link to this thread. I googled it and it led me right here. The interwebs are an ever connecting freeway of information. Some people use it for good, some people use it for evil....EVIL!!! hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.. .....
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    The OP started a thread titled "The history of firefighting". Any jabroni that wants to learn about "The history of firefighting" do what billions of other people do when they want info on a certain subject, they google it. This thread title will naturally come up with a link to this thread. I googled it and it led me right here. The interwebs are an ever connecting freeway of information. Some people use it for good, some people use it for evil....EVIL!!! hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.. .....
    The history of firefighting started in Philadelphia pa.. And Ben Franklin was the first firefighter....A mustache increases your street cred and ability to repel heat by 37.59%.

    That's all anyone needs to know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigGriffC12 View Post
    The history of firefighting started in Philadelphia pa.. And Ben Franklin was the first firefighter....A mustache increases your street cred and ability to repel heat by 37.59%.

    That's all anyone needs to know.
    That's pretty much what my report said. I also added that fewer and fewer firemen get to carry naked or scantily clad hot chicks away from danger these days. I got a D+. Probably should have wrote "The history of school teachers" instead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowball View Post
    That's pretty much what my report said. I also added that fewer and fewer firemen get to carry naked or scantily clad hot chicks away from danger these days. I got a D+. Probably should have wrote "The history of school teachers" instead.
    Did you explain why fewer and fewer hot chicks are carried away by fireman these days, or did you just make the statement?

    And did you clearly define the parameters for a "hot" chick?

    If not, I can see why you got a D+.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    I must admit I chuckled when I read he used wikipedia as 3 of his 5 sources for his paper. Personally, I would steal a much better researched paper if I were so inclined.
    “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leo F. Buscaglia

    This place gets weirder and weirder every day...

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I must admit I chuckled when I read he used wikipedia as 3 of his 5 sources for his paper. Personally, I would steal a much better researched paper if I were so inclined.
    I still have some real honest to goodness BOOKS with that info in them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I still have some real honest to goodness BOOKS with that info in them.
    Dude, now you sound VERY old...Although I must admit, I have some of those books too!
    “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leo F. Buscaglia

    This place gets weirder and weirder every day...

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    It wouldn't have been been reported on turnitin.com unless someone HAD committed plagiarism. And as the original author, he has the RIGHT to complain about it. And I for one, wouldn't want to work with someone so lazy that they couldn't research such basic information themselves and write their own paper. You might want to take your foot out of your mouth.
    So what you are saying is that no one could have found his original post on here if they did not look for it? As Brother Snowball said........it's all connected. Anyone, anywhere with a device and software and an internet connection..........Here, allow me to assist YOU in removing your head from your sphincter.......
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    So what you are saying is that no one could have found his original post on here if they did not look for it? As Brother Snowball said........it's all connected. Anyone, anywhere with a device and software and an internet connection..........Here, allow me to assist YOU in removing your head from your sphincter.......
    Let the games begin!!!
    “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leo F. Buscaglia

    This place gets weirder and weirder every day...

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigGriffC12 View Post
    The history of firefighting started in Philadelphia pa.. And Ben Franklin was the first firefighter....A mustache increases your street cred and ability to repel heat by 37.59%.

    That's all anyone needs to know.
    You fool!

    It's APPROXIMATELY 37.59%.

    Although permanent assignment to a rescue company CAN increase that number.

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    Honestly, as an instructor, if someone turned in a research paper to me with wikipedia as the majority of references I would reject the paper and tell the student to do some research. I know I will sound old here but I am thinking I would also REQUIRE 2 sources that were NOT internet sources for references.
    CaptOldTimer and fotowun like this.
    “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leo F. Buscaglia

    This place gets weirder and weirder every day...

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    The history of firefighting in America can be traced all the way back to Jamestown, VA, the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

    Founded in 1607 by colonists from the London Company, Jamestown was under the command of Captain James Smith. It did not take long for fire to begin taking its toll on the new settlers.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    The history of firefighting in America can be traced all the way back to Jamestown, VA, the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

    Founded in 1607 by colonists from the London Company, Jamestown was under the command of Captain James Smith. It did not take long for fire to begin taking its toll on the new settlers.
    Was the suffering of your neighbors what motivated you to join the fire service Cap?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miller337 View Post
    Was the suffering of your neighbors what motivated you to join the fire service Cap?
    Pow!! Right in the nut sack!!!
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