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    Arrow I need help on my history paper: "Tradition in the Fire Service"

    For my final project in United States History we have to write a 10 page paper on any topic we chose. I chose Tradition in the Fire Service. If anyone has anything to offer it would be greatly appreciated. Anything would help from general firefighting traditions to traditions within individual companies. Thanks, FireExplorer13

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    You can talk about traditional style helmets verses modern day helmets

    You can talk about traditions that cause one generation after another to join the fire service

    You can talk about the crossed ladders at a LODD funeral, caskets riding on the firefighters apparatus, bagpipes, 21 gun salute

    You can talk about the Black band for LODD

    You can talk about 5-5-5 (last alarm)

    You can talk about flags at half staff

    You can talk about dalmations

    Buy the book called "Captain he bought Eggs" by Carmine Speranza. Read it...it talks about some traditional stuff.

    You can talk about how they had fire watches and people were alerted via trumets....or bells which led to house sirens...

    good luck
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Thanks for the input. I haven't heard of that book. Would I be able to find it at barnes and noble or amazon.com. So far I've read Report from Engine Co. 82 by Dennis Smith, FFOPS by Leo Stapleton, and The Blackened Shield by Don Whintney. In the Balckened Shield it had a picture with firefighters wearing their helmets backwards. The caption noted that it was not a fashion statement. Does anyone know the reason they might have been doing this?

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    Default Sure, The reason is....

    The reaso they occasionally wore the helmet backwards was to give extra protection from tremendous radiant heat
    given off from the fire. typcally you would see the guys either sitting on a 21/2 or operating a deck gun or "stang"... which means a surround and drown operation, larger fire, lots of radiant heat... the brim helps to deflect the heat some.. (It looks stupid, but it works ) hence the comment)

    Typically, the fire service of old, were made up of fairly poorly educated guys, (from the NYC vollies who were picked as members, more for they're abilities to fight other companies) to the later Irish and other immigrant groups, who were strong and hearty , if not educated, but working class fellows, firefighting in those years was lots of brawn and little brain, you were taught and told what to do... you werent paid to think... "ya put the wet stuff on de red stuff" was really kinda what it was all about... buildings were all natural, wood, stone, bricks, and furnishigs were natural products too, Horse hair furniture stuffing, lamps used whale oil, then refined petrolium products (kerosene)
    ya fed your transportation, and shoveled up after it, which became fertilizer for the garden or plants. most everyone was well atuned to "banking coal" in the firebox which allowed you to sleep a few hours straight without tending the boiler for heat...
    Oil heat made that almost care free....
    Back in those days firefighting had its traditions but they embraced
    "technology" too, the change from manpowered rigs to horse powered rigs and from horse to motor driven wasnt as hard as we like to make it sound...heck, think of the technology of the Gamewell® box the clockwound telegraph that is still over 100 years later found in many municipalities, was a big step up in the 1840's and 50's from someone having to go to the church to ring the bell to alert the townsfolk
    to use a character wheel on a clock wound to break the current on a telegraph circut to sound a pre-determined number via a printer device or bells ( like dennis smith talked about in report frm Eng.Co.82) worked and worked well !! It happens that Bridgeport CT was the first to try a vocal alarm system back in the 1930's where the phone dispatcher after getting a call for help, could instead of setting up the box, and the companies would go to that location hoping to find something, could tell them to go directly to an address, and what sort of problem there was, more like what we do today, with 911 dispatch.

    I think while we (firefighters are somewhat romantic about the past, we try to stay ahead better now then ever before, were before it took someone getting killed to "look at what happened", what caused it what could be changed to prevent that... we also are aware that to put the fire out, you have got to put the wet stuff on he red stuff, plain and simple... If you havent read the firehouse note about deaths in the fire service today are just as bad as in 1977 (why) wth all the advances in technology for us, there have been just as many regressions in areas such as building materials (trusses rather than joists) etc that have pushed us backwards to some extent...
    for years solid bore nozzles were all that was used, and in the 20's and 30's someone made a adjustible spray nozzle saying it would save on water damage, over 40+ years advances and variations and improvements were made increasing volume, lighter materials, and such, and it has even seen us go back to smooth bore nozzles for some applications...
    2 stage pumps have taken a back seat for the most part due to gains in technology in pump manufacture, and design, for the moment single stages seem to be in... but with 5 inch hose the water flows with less need for RPMs.... so the pump pumps with less strain or friction losses etc.
    is food on the stove any differant today then it was 100 years ago? its still food on the stove right? (add to it the possibility of getting zapped on the electric stove, lol ).... well, I am getting long here, I'd better chll for now, The previous poster
    had some great suggestions, if your interested in the traditions oh the bagpipes in the fireservice or 5-5-5-5 over the bells, or anything else I would be glad to offer any help I can, just point in the direction you wish to go with it...and I will try to help you. I have been a career firefighter for 13 years, was an active vollie for the 13 before that, I am a founding memeber, the first pipe sergeant, sec and treasurer of my states' firefighers pipe band as well as started the ball rolling in my career departments historical society... if you wonder why, I mght just have an answer....Jim

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    How about talking about the history of the Maltese Cross. Dates back to the crusades when the 'Night's of Saint John' were waging war with the saracins, who were the first to use fire as a weapon of war. The brave 'Night's of Saint John' (Night's of Malta) are concidered the first firefighters, hense we wear their cross.....You can look it up.

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    Default Yes knghts of St john;s

    absolutely, the knights of St. Johns became known when opposing army used "fire bombs on the crusaders laying seige, they used sort of a napalm by todays standards and the Knights of St Johns, made attempts to rescue knights from the fires, many knights were burned to death
    but the knights of St Johns because of they're heroism were recognized by the modified christian cross, which was sorta compressed into what we think of as a maltese cross, which was a badge of courage, good will, and caring for others.... hence adopted by the fire service.....

    Consider also St. Florian the patron Saint of Firefighters, a Roman Centarian who chose to become a christian because he didnt believe that the romans burn and pillage campaign was just After, he was captured by he Romans as a trator he was burned at the stake....

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    FireExplorer13,

    I have been working on a paper for English with a similar topic. I have a few sources that may be helpful. Also, I am working on a website that I plan to use for my presentation. It will hopefully be a compilation of my research efforts. If you still want info, e-mail me.

    ~Courtney:~)
    Last edited by Co11FireGal; 05-14-2002 at 01:18 AM.

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    Traditions, they are all around us in the fire service, many we still do and don't even realize it! I only wish I could find out more of them.

    One that I learned from a "crusty old jake", is why we still send a unit in on false alarms. He told me that they use the excuse that it may be the arsonist calling the alarm in as false so the fire gets a better hold. But years ago, a truck was sent in to rewind the box that was pulled.

    Look in the Fire Buff's thread for a discussion on why firehouses have red and green lights on the stations.

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    Traditions?

    How about the reason for brass eagles on new yorker lids is because they were originally used for breaking windows?

    Firemen used to push their hose wagons and pumps into the bays once they unhooked the horses, so a lot of places still have the tradition of "pushing" their new apparatus into the bays for the first time (usually running, but it looks cool).

    Or going way back, how the first fire service got started in ancient Rome with the "vigiles", sort of a combination fire-watch and police force. Or how the first "modern" city fire brigade was started in London, England following the Great Fire of 1666. That's not really tradition I guess, but fire service history.
    I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.

    --Kurt Vonnegut

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    Default OOPS (Saint Florian)

    apologies, as Capt gonzo pointed out to me, I didnt finish the St. Florian story...

    >the Romans tryed to burn St. Florian at the stake for being a trator to his Emperor, but no matter, cause they were unable to kindle a fire under him, so they tied him to a mill stone and tossed him in the river. The "fire resistive" fire wood is the reason he became the patron of firefighters....

    (otherwise he might have been the patron saint of mafia victims, For sleeping wif de fishes) lol

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    Alert systems.

    Start with the old fire bells or church bells. In our town they used to blast all of the train whistles at the local depot. Then we moved to roof sirens and Plectrons...now we have paging and sirens.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

    I.A.C.O.J. Safety/Traffic Control Officer

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    As I seem to recall reading this several years ago you might want to check it out. the SanFrancisco California fire department at the time was still using all wood ground ladders that were custom built by 2 craftsmen in their shop. I think they are still doing it. Good luck with your project!

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    Default Tradition/History

    Just a little input--- in the London Fire Service a fire call is (or certainly was 20yrs ago) called a "Shout"--simply because in the very early days of the Brigade firemen would shout "Oy-Oy-Oy" repeatedly, One to clear the way, Two to get assistance to help push the large wheeled escapes which were dotted around the Inner London area. I have furthered the tradition by naming the bar in my house "The Last Shout" , One I don't go on them any more, Two in a pub if its your "Shout" you are buying !!
    "If you thought it was hard getting into the job--wait until you have to hang the "fire gear"up and walk away!"
    Harry Lauder 1981.Me on the left!

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    BRINGING THEM ALL HOME

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    Default conflicting information

    trumpeter75, on this website, http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist/helmet.html, it says the eagle on the helmets have no significance or use. do you no if the eagles were specifically made to break glass, or if they were just used for this purpose after they came about?

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    It seems the eagle was born as a reproduction of a sculpture at the grave site of a firefighter. The sculptor added the eagle to the firefighters helmet for no known reason but firefighters who had seen it had Cairns reproduce it.

    The Sculture is still at a place called Trinity Churchyard, I don't know the state or town.
    Last edited by E229Lt; 05-15-2002 at 05:37 PM.

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    Default A Few More For You...

    1) The Dalmation is considered to be the "fire dog" because it is one of the few breeds of dogs able to run in between horses without getting scared. When horses were used to pull hose wagons a Dalmation would run with the horses "encouraging" them by chasing after them.

    2) Why do firemen wear red suspenders? This goes back to the first organized volunteer fire brigade. (Formed by Ben Franklin). As a type of uniform the men of Franklin's brigade wore flannel shirts with red suspenders. It was also common for these men to grow long beards, as they believed it would help them breath better in smoke.

    3) The trumpets which denote rank for a lieutenant, captain, etc. are symbolic of the speaking trumpets originally used by officers to give orders on a scene.

    4) The red lights on the sides of fire houses date back to when many of the firefighters were also sailors. The same light setup is used at the entrace to ports.

    Please feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken or confused about any of the above.

    .Turk II

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    Fire explorer 13,
    I don't know if you are a senior or not, however, one word of advice that I want to give you about writing papers, especially if you go to college. Always pick a more detailed topic. Just like many of the brothers/sisters have posted some direct topics. It makes research and fitting info within your paper. I recently just finished a research paper on Nerve Agents and Terrorism. It started at NBC Terrorism, but I had to limit my paper to no more then 8 pages. But I wrote a very effective and good paper that was 7 and 1/2 pages. Under reseach and education on AOL, there are sites that you can use to look up books and articles on topics using keywords. Try it you may find good info if you have time. Traditions is a good interesting topic, but varies depending on where you live, and it may be hard to have good coherence from paragraph to paragraph.
    Good luck, and I'm not giving you a lesson, just some fellow student advice that I've learned while going back to college. You seem very intelligent, and compared to some of the other junior members on the forums spelling your a step ahead. Go get em, kid!!

    Also, here in NY, red lights on a building signify a fire house, green lights signify a police station. I also was told, but never verified here in NY if the station doesn't have staff inside, the light should be off to let people know there is no one there.

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    Default turks post....

    1) The Dalmation is considered to be the "fire dog" because it is one of the few breeds of dogs able to run in between horses without getting scared. When horses were used to pull hose wagons a Dalmation would run with the horses "encouraging" them by chasing after them.
    I believe the dalmations also tended to run ahead barking and thus clearing the street or at least giving the horses confidence to run full gallop, as well as keep them calm once unhitched and walked off the scene ( when that was possible)

    2) Why do firemen wear red suspenders? <"to hold up they're pants?..lol">
    This goes back to the first organized volunteer fire brigade. (Formed by Ben Franklin). As a type of uniform the men of Franklin's brigade wore flannel shirts with red suspenders. It was also common for these men to grow long beards.
    > lets not forget the "cookieduster" which after the civil war/into victorian age when Beards went out of fashion, large mustaches "protected a jake from inhaling smoke (this tradition is diehard to this day with many of us)

    3) The trumpets which denote rank for a lieutenant, captain, etc. are symbolic of the speaking trumpets originally used by officers to give orders on a scene.

    4) The red lights on the sides of fire houses date back to when many of the firefighters were also sailors. The same light setup is used at the entrace to ports. our turn of the century houses had yellow lamps and the police had white globes with police written across, possibly due to the (other red lamp usages)

    Please feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken or confused about any of the above.
    .Turk II
    (not corrections , additions

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    I have to admit that as far as the eagle on hemlets go, I don't have any substantiated evidence one way or the other. I've always been told that the eagles were used back in the 1800's and earlier to break out window glass (and to hold those really huge leather fronts they used to wear).

    Which brings up another seeming tradition of the fire service: word of mouth. Seems like whatever you're talking about, you'll get different opinions and explanations wherever you turn.
    I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.

    --Kurt Vonnegut

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    Default 1) hieagle fronts

    Hi-eagle fronts were just a way for the guys of the NYFD vollies to out do the other companies, given the ferocity of company pride and such the idea as was stated in one post was taken from the monument carving and cast as an accoutrement to add to a company to make them look fancy... Cairns & brother was most likely the "surviving" leather helmet manufacturer who retained the patent, after another ( there were numerous helmet makers in NY early on) after all saddle makers were a dime a dozen, but once patented, it was Cairns who kept em alive into last century. Cairns, unlike many other similar firms deided early on they would produce leather Firefighters parade dress belts and helmets, because saddlemakers were everywhere, as the service matured, so did Cairns, using "new materials" and making new styles of helmets, including the "New Yorker", Philladelphian, Senator, made of differant materials , including aluminum (which conducts electical current) fiberglass, and plastics which also can decompose, anyway during the 70' Cairns was looking at ways to cut cost and increase profit, watching other manufacturers "stamp out hundreds" while they still hand laybored to make leather New Yorkers at least parts were hand worked and sewn....someone decided that they were too popular with the big city Departments to just drop, so they approached the NFPA with standards with which they designed that all gear should meet, specifically helmets... The leather new yorker passed all but one called the penitration test which was like hammering a nail into the crown using a large press and X number of foot pounds er square inch... IF you were wearig ANYTHING you would have been dead from a broken neck... guys had been hit by falling bricks and survived... It was all in how MSA could make 1000 stamped top guards @15 dollars to Cairns 4 New Yorkers @ 60 dollars. and that would most ikely last a lifetime or two...the $$$$ won out , but firefighters began a "Leather Forever" campaign and whie cairns wanted to get into turnouts , they realized possibly bad blood would loose some buisness, after a bit, the agreed to make the New yorker meet they're own requirements by adding the scull cap, and thus effectivly making a great product crappy, charging 5 times the price,
    (more like 7 times now) as opposed to biting the bullet and forgeting our "traditions"


    I proudly own 3 unapproved and 2 approved New Yorkers that I have worn to battle the beast and also have a "volunteer" model with a short brim in the back that was caught in a flashover and luckily its wearer (not me ) was able to bale out he window... LEATHER FOREVER

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    Thank You to everyone that has posted. To properly cite the information you have provided me I need your first and last name. If you don't mind providing this you can e-mail it to me at clarkw00@hotmail.com. If you don't want to provide this I will just use your screenname, but it looks better and more creditable if I use a real name. Thanks, Tim

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    FireExplorer... if u e-mail me I can give you a whole bunch of nice stuff. I would post it on the post board, but I just do not have the time right this min. and it is really long so I can give u the histroy of the M. Cross, how Fireman got the name, dalmations, and I bet I can get a few other things. Take Care hope to hear from you soon.
    FiremanD@Firehousemail.com is my e-mail address
    Dan M. B.
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    Passaic County Fire Acadamy
    Class of 2001
    "Let's Not Forget Our Fallen Heroes"
    9-11-01

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    Everyone has touched on many of the traditions of the fire service. Hopefully I can interject a few more:

    1) In the early days of the fire service in America, volunteer departments were the norm, even in big cities like New York. However, the advent of the paid fire service in our larger metropolitan cities came just after the Civil War. Consequently, many of the early paid firefighters were Civil War veterans. They brought with them to the fire service the military ranking system (captains, lieutenants, etc.) and many of the uniform concepts we recognize today (blue uniforms, brass insignia, etc.)Even the brass we use today, if you've noticed, follows the military style (one bar/one bugle=lieutenant, two bars/bugles=captain, etc.) This paramilitary organizational style is with us today. ( Prior to the paid days, volunteer fire companies would have "foremen" and "presidents" (normally an elected position) as their leaders. )

    2)The term "fireplug" comes from the days of old London when the city water mains were made out of wood. Following the Great Fire of London, the city recognized a need to have easy access to water for firefighting. So at intervals along the city streets they made openings in the cobblestone sidewalks, dug down to the wooden water mains, and cut holes in the top of them. They then installed wooden plugs in the holes (long enough to be spotted above the cobblestones). In case of a fire, one only had to yank out one of these "fireplugs" to get to a supply of water for a bucket brigade. In the early days of American firefighting, a similar system was used. Sometimes competing fire companies would arrive at the fire together and fistfights would ensue over "ownership" of the fireplug. A man who had been in enough of these fights was judged to be "plug ugly".

    This is an interesting topic. I'm interested to hear what others have to offer. The History Channel recently ran a great show on the history of the fire service that has a lot of good info...maybe you can get a transcript or a tape. Good luck!

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    Default thank you...here it is

    Thank you to everyone who helped me with my paper. It is greatly appreciated. I tryed to attach it but it won't let me attach word files so I was forced to copy and paste. Thanks again, Tim.


    The fire service is a close, tightly knit community. Many people wonder why it is so close. Why are businessmen, stockbrokers, or car salesmen not in such a tightly knit community? Some say it is the danger of firefighting that keeps firemen so close. This is true, firefighting is dangerous, the sign above the kitchen door at FDNY Engine 82’s firehouse reads, “This could be the night.” A firefighter, because of the danger associated with his job, must rely constantly on his fellow firefighters. Some say firemen are close because they live with each other every shift. This is also true. Because firefighters spend so much time together they become a family and treat each other like they would treat any of their blood relatives. Some say they are close because they must work as a team starting in fire academy and throughout their career. This is true. Right from the day a firefighter starts at fire academy everything they do is done as a team. All these things are true. The one thing that is the foundation of the fire service community and holds it together is tradition. There are many traditions in the fire service. Some traditions everyone knows about, or they think they do. Like the brotherhood, the Dalmatian, and the leather fire helmet. There are some traditions that people know about, but do not know the story behind them. An example of this is the fireman’s mustache, the Maltese cross and St. Florian. Most traditions come from the past, when firemen fed the apparatus, and shoveled up its waste; or from when firemen road on the tailboards with rubber coats and hip boats. Those were the good old days. With advances in technology firefighting is much different now, but in some ways still the same. It is every firefighters responsibility to preserve the traditions of the fire service. It is the thread that holds them together.
    "The leather helmet, is an international sign of a firefighter, a symbol that is significant in not only tradition from the early years of firefighting, but one of bravery, integrity, honor and pride". This passage is taken from the mission statement of the Fraternal Order Of Leatherheads. Leather helmets are not issued by many departments anymore mostly due to their cost, around $500 for a Cairns Sam Houston, and the advancement in the technology of fiberglass composite helmets which sell for between $100 and $300 depending on the style. Despite their high cost many firefighters buy their own leather helmets because of the tradition they represent.
    Leather helmets have been used for a long time in the fire service. They are most likely leather because they were originally made by saddle makers. Part of the reason people where them are because they have had parents, grandparents, and other firefighters before them who wore leather. Firefighters are not quick to change their ways.
    Besides the obvious purpose of head protection, the leather helmet serves as the main identification of a firefighter. The part of the helmet which is most used for identification is the six inch tall piece of leather affixed to the front. It is often called a front piece or a shield. The style and significance of the shield vary from department to department. The shield may provide the firefighter’s name, rank, identification number, company number, and company type. In the Fire Department of New York, the shield and helmet color has the following meaning. A white helmet with a gold shield means a chief officer. All other firefighters have black helmets. A white shield with red numbers means a truck (ladder) company officer. A red shield with white numbers means a truck company firefighter often called a truckie or ladderman. A white shield with black letters means an engine company officer. A black shield with white letters means an engine company firefighter. A white shield with blue letters means a rescue company officer. A blue shield with white letters means a rescue company firefighter or paramedic. There are also other colors for specialized companies such as squads, haz-mat companies, and marine companies. Many people dismiss the shield as a meaningless ornament. However, it is very important to identification and accountability on a fire scene.
    There is much debate on the purpose of the eagle on the top of the helmet that holds the leather front piece in its beak. This piece of the helmet always gets caught on window frames and is dented when any thing falls on it. It would probably be safer to just take it off. However, this is a case where tradition comes before practicality. Other than holding the shield in place, some people say the eagle was used for breaking windows. Others say it came about after a sculpture added it to the helmet of a firefighter in a statue. Some say it was a way of New York City volunteer companies of the late 1800s, who would often fight each other over which company had the right to extinguish the fire, of out doing one another. These companies would often wear high eight-inch eagles instead of the six-inch version used today.
    One other thing the leather helmet does is show experience. As fire fighters work in smoky conditions the shield on their helmet will become blackened. In the high heat of a fire the leather becomes soft. This allows the back brim of the helmet, often referred to as a beaver tail, to be bent down. This is called the “Bronx bend.” Many people say one can tell a lot about a firefighter by looking at his helmet. It can show where he has been, what he has done. It has been said that a firefighter’s helmet is an extension of his personality.
    Many things that had uses in the early days of firefighting live on today, not for any practical use, but because it is tradition. One example is the mustaches many firefighters wear. Before SCBAs became a part of firefighting, firefighters would grow big, bushy beards and mustaches. Before going into a fire they would wet their beard and pull it over their mouth. This would help filter the smoke. In an early picture of Nashua firefighters nine out of eleven firefighters had beards or mustaches. Today firefighters cannot have beards because it interferes with the face to facepiece seal of their SCBA mask. However, in a 1984 picture of men from the Portland Fire Department, eight of ten firefighters had mustaches. In a more recent, 2001, photograph of the men of FDNY’s Rescue 5, eight out of thirteen firefighters have mustaches. This goes to show that firefighters will carry on traditions even after they have outlived their use.
    Another tradition that lives on is the Dalmatian’s role as the firedog. In the early days of firefighting, before motorized apparatus, horses were used to pull fire engines. Dalmatians would run with the horses encouraging them along. The dalmation was chosen because it is one of the few breeds of dogs that can run between the horses without being scared. They also have the stamina to run long distances. The Dalmatians would also run ahead of the horses barking to clear the streets. This would allow the horses to run at full gallop and arrive at the fire quicker. Although fire engines are now motorized and are now encouraged along with gas pedals on streets cleared by lights and sirens, the Dalmatian remains a widely recognized symbol of the fire service.
    Before the days of fire alarms, scanners, pagers, and radios, speaking trumpets were used to signal alarms as well as giving orders on the fire ground. Speaking trumpets, often called bugles, are no longer used for this purpose. They now signify the rank of a fire officer.9 Five bugles are for Chief. Four bugles are for Assistant chief. Three bugles are for District Chief. Two crossed bugles are for Battalion Chief. Two vertical bugles are for Captain. One bugle is for Lieutenant. This is just one more example of something today coming from the traditions of the past. The badge of a firefighter is the Maltese cross. The Maltese cross is a symbol of courage and bravery and a badge of honor. Its story is from the time of the crusades. When a courageous band of crusaders known as the Knights of St. John, fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple, but a horrible device of war. It brought excruciating pain and an agonizing death to the brave warriors. The Saracen's weapon was fire.
    As the crusaders advanced to the walls of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became drenched with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens launched a flaming torch at the knights. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive and others risked their own lives to save their brothers from dying painful, fiery deaths. These men became the first firemen and the first of a long list of courageous firefighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each hero a badge of honor, a cross similar to the one firefighters wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, the cross came to be known as the Maltese cross.
    The Maltese cross still symbolizes all the traditions and ideals of the fire service. It is a firefighter’s symbol of courage, honor, and bravery. It means that the fireman who wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for his brothers, just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years ago.
    St. Florian is the patron saint of fire fighters. He was a Roman Centurion who chose to become a Christian because he did not believe that the Roman’s burn and pillage campaign was just. The Romans captured him as a traitor. The Romans attempted to burn him at the stake. They were unable to kindle a fire under him, so they tied him to a millstone and threw him in a river to drown.14 Because the Romans were unable to kindle a fire under St. Florian he became the patron saint of fire fighters.
    One of the strongest traditions in firefighting is not leaving a brother behind. If two firefighters go into a fire two firefighters come out. Backdraft, a film that better depicts brotherhood than true firefighting, shows this with a line used twice in the movie, “You go, we go.” One of the greatest examples of not leaving brothers behind was the Worcester Cold Storage fire, December 3, 1999. The Worcester Fire Department was dispatched to 266 Franklin Street at 6:13 PM. Four engines, two ladders and Rescue 1, under the command of District Chief Mike McNamee, responded on the first alarm. Upon arrival Chief McNamee ordered a second alarm and firefighters searched the building for fire extension and any occupants who might have been trapped. At first conditions were good and the second alarm companies were ordered to stage. There was a light haze of smoke, but not even enough to force firefighters to wear their SCBAs. When conditions became worse Chief McNamee ordered an evacuation of the building. However, the windowless building was built like a maze. Its construction made it very disorienting under the best of conditions. Under the worsening conditions, two firefighters from Rescue 1, Jerry Lucey and Paul Brotherton, were unable to make it out.
    The second alarm companies, Engines 3 and 7 and Ladder 2, were ordered into the building to conduct a search for the missing men. Chief McNamee had the companies searching the third, fourth, and fifth floors of the building. Each time a search crew reported back to Chief McNamee they reported conditions even worse than before. When a Ladder 2 firefighter, who had gone outside to change is air bottle, tried to call his lieutenant, Thomas Spencer, on the radio he got no response. Chief McNamee now knew he had four firefighters missing, Lucey and Brotherton of Rescue 1 and Lt. Spencer and Tim Jackson of Ladder 2. Conditions continued to get worse. The fire was reported to be heavy on the second floor. Finally, with twelve firefighters ready to enter the building and continue searching, Chief McNamee ordered the building to be evacuated so more firefighters would not be lost. Because of their strong brotherhood and desire to rescue their fellow firefighters this was not well accepted by anyone. Some men had to be physically restrained from entering the inferno. After evacuation a head count confirmed the four missing as well as two more firefighters from Engine 3, Joseph McGuirk and James Lyons. Two firefighters died trying to save the people who started the fire and left without reporting it. Four more died trying to save their brothers.
    Brotherhood is an extremely strong tradition in the fire service. A firefighter can always count on his brother to be there when he is in need. Worcester was not the first time firefighters died trying to save their brothers, and it certainly was not the last. More recently, on May 4, 2002, Derek Martin and Rob Morrison of the St. Louis Fire Department, died while trying to save a fellow firefighter who was lost. The lost firefighter found his own way out but Captain Martin and Captain Morrison were not so lucky. It is certain this will not be the last time firefighters will die trying to save there brothers. In the dangerous world of fighting fire it is not certain a firefighter will make it out of a fire. What is certain is there will be someone there who tries to help him out, even if this means sacrificing his own life.
    Once a line of duty death does occur, firefighters stay at the scene of the fire until the last body has been found. In Worcester, firefighters took eight days to pull out the last body. At the World Trade Center, firefighters and other rescue and recovery workers stayed at Ground Zero for eight and a half months until the last piece of steel was removed and there were no more bodies left to be found. Firefighters do this because they believe it is important to give their brothers a proper burial and honor them at a funeral.
    Line of Duty Death funerals provide firefighters who have given their life in the line of duty all the honor and respect they deserve. In a traditional LODD funeral the flag draped casket of the fallen firefighter will be transported in the hose bed of a fire truck in a procession along with bagpipes and other firefighters all dressed in their Class A uniforms. Many times the procession will pass under aerial ladders, which form an arch over the roadway. Then the signal for a fallen firefighter is signaled. For FDNY this is 5-5-5-5.
    Many firefighters attend LODD funerals and memorial services. In Worcester, 35,000 firefighters attended a memorial service for the six fallen firefighters. At least once a year fire fighters get together to remember everyone that has died in the past year. Among the services are the International Association of Firefighters Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Ceremony in Colorado Springs, Colorado and the International Association of Fire Chiefs Nation Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service usually held in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Over 100,000 firefighters are expected to march in the Procession of Honor immediately prior to the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation Memorial Service on Sunday, October 6, 2002. This will honor all of the firefighters who have died this past year including the 343 firefighters who died at the World Trade Center. This many firefighters go to funerals and memorial services because they feel it is important to pay respect to the men how have died “just doin’ what they do.”
    Despite the danger associated with firefighting, families keep becoming firefighters generation after generation. One example is the Griswold family. Tim Griswold is a fifth generation firefighter. Back in 1927 his great great grandfather, William Griswold, helped to organize the Rocky Hill Fire Department. In 1941, his great grandfather, Leonard Griswold, became chief of the Rocky Hill Fire Department and held the position until 1945. His grandfather, Raymond W. Griswold, Sr., was a volunteer firefighter with Truck 1 of the Rocky Hill Fire Department. His father, Arthur Griswold, was a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician (EMT) in Hebron, Connecticut from 1982 until 1996. During this time he held many positions including firefighter, lieutenant, captain, and training officer. His uncle, Raymond W. Griswold, Jr., was a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Hebron, CT from 1978 until 2001. He was employed by the town as the fire marshal, but held many different positions within the fire department including Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief, Captain, and training officer. He is currently a full time firefighter in New Hanover County, North Carolina. My other uncle, Mark Griswold has been a volunteer firefighter in Hebron, CT since 1980. Currently Tim Griswold is the Captain of the Danville Fire Explorer Post. It is the traditions mentioned above that keep generation after generation wanting to become firefighters.
    As the evidence demonstrates, there are many traditions in the fire service. They are what the leather helmet represents. From things that have out lived their practical use to things with roots in the ancient past, traditions keep the fire service together. For many firefighters firefighting is a large portion of their lives. Without tradition their lives would have no meaning. Tradition is what keeps generation after generation of families joining the fire department. Without the brotherhood of the fire service would not be as strong. If one wants to be a firefighter they must value tradition every time they go to work, every time they put the leather on their head, and every time they rush into a raging inferno not knowing if they will ever come out.

    The footnotes and citations did not copy.

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