1. #1
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    Question What year was the first US Fire Dept.?

    Ok history buffs, how many questions do you know the answer to and how many different answers will we get?

    What year was the first official United States(Colony Hx. would count, thanks Skuehl34) volunteer and then paid fire department established? Which departments were they?

    What year and who was the first department to make EMS a standard response equal to fire response?(transport not neccessary)

    What year and who was the first department to make HazMat a standard response equal to fire response?

    What year and who was the first department to make trench rescue a standard response equal to fire response?

    And yes, this is for another essay of mine and the help is greatly appreciated, again.

    [ 12-16-2001: Message edited by: BC 307 ]

    The opinions expressed here are that of my own and in no way reflect the opinions of my administration or department.

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    What year was the first official United States fire department established? Which dept. was it?

    1742, Union Fire Company, Lancaster PA

    Now since this is, as you put it, for another essay of mine and the help is greatly appreciated

    I'm gonna help you the best way I know how...

    I'm gonna let you do the rest of your own research.
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

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    Boston first appointed a Foreman and 12 Paid-on-Call Firefighters in 1678 to care for and operate the town's fire engine.

    As early as 1648 in New Amsterdam (later day New York) Fire Wardens had been appointed to enforce fire prevention laws.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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    I didn't know that. Learn something new everyday.

    Why don't they get credit for being the first organized FD?

    We're they paid by (what I guess would be) the City of Boston or by the insurers of Boston's buildings?
    It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!

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    Ouch Mongo, but your point is well made. This is one where I have some info from books, but as with anything in history, other people have their own thoughts on the facts. This is actually what I'm writing about. As you can see, other history has already been learned by us both.

    Thanks, by the way, for yours and the others input on my last post. You guys and gals got an A+ on the paper, I might add.
    The opinions expressed here are that of my own and in no way reflect the opinions of my administration or department.

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    In 1658, when New York was still New Amsterdam, a fire brigade known as the "Prowlers" was first organized. They walked the streets from 9pm till morning equiped with 250 leather fire buckets. Originally there were 8 men in the brigade which was nicknamed "Rattlewatch."(17)

    Was this the first department?


    Burgess-Wise, David. Fire Engines & Firefighting, Longmeadow Press, Norwalk Connecticut: Octopus Books Limited. 1977

    [ 12-16-2001: Message edited by: BC 307 ]

    The opinions expressed here are that of my own and in no way reflect the opinions of my administration or department.

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    OK, I guess there is one in every crowd but I happen to like history and I noticed several words in the original question that might make a difference...."United States"....

    So I would have thought anything before 1776-1787 would be cool for "Colony" history...ok..ok flame away....

    Steve

    PS - So I guess you would have to go to the order of who signed the DOI after Hancock...that being New Hampshire, so I guess that would make whatever FDs in that state the oldest for the US by about 30 seconds...as the remaining delegates signed...NY did not sign until days later.

    [ 12-16-2001: Message edited by: skuehl34 ]


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    First department to go completely paid, municipally sponsored was Cincinnati, OH in 1853.

    As I understand, the city fathers there at the time deemed it necessary because the volunteer companies were such complete rivals, they'd actually lose buildings because they were busy brawling in the street!

    Boy, we've sure come a long way, haven't we?!

    FB
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    1) Cook at 350...
    2) Pump at 150...
    3) When in doubt, isolate and deny entry...
    4) When in trouble, claim lack of adult supervision.

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    Boston did establish the first paid fire department, as per Dalmatian 90's post.

    I do know the first known conflagration in the Colonies...1608, Jamestown Settlement, Virginia.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    We're they paid by (what I guess would be) the City of Boston

    That would be the [i]Town{/i] of Boston which paid them...wouldn't become a "City" until 1822.
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  11. #11
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    As I understand, the city fathers there at the time deemed it necessary because the volunteer companies were such complete rivals, they'd actually lose buildings because they were busy brawling in the street!

    That's a partial answer. It's not coincidental that practical steam-powered pumps came into being at the same time. Prior to the steam, there wasn't a choice to use volunteers or not, the manpower requirements were too great.

    Changing to career forces was economical with steam -- this is back in the days of Single-Platoon systems where typically you might get a an hour or two every few days off and one full day off every 15. By using Horses and staffed stations, fewer companies were needed (In 1865 FDNY was formed with 39 Engines and 15 Ladders, replacing a volunteer force of 52 Engine Cos., 54 Hose Cos., and 17 Ladder Cos.)

    There was also political concerns. Many Cities allowed the volunteers to run wild, largely because they were a large source of votes. Sometimes because it was nice to have thugs of your own. I don't know Cincinnati history in detail, but I'm willing to guess the City Council at the time probably had political differences with the volunteers. FDNY was formed by the New York State Legislature (Metropolitan Fire District of New York) to replace the City of New York's volunteers...it wasn't coincidental the volunteers where predominantly Democrats and supporters of the Democratically controlled city gov't, and the Legislature were Republicans. It was a way for the Republican legislature to stick it to the Democratic City Council, and oh yeah, reduce rioting and improve fire protection.

    Hmmmm, firefighters squabbling, volunteers accused of having too much apparatus, Politicians using the fire service as pawns...wait, what Century was I talking about?

    Matt
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