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Monday, May 10, 2010

The Fire Service

I heard a quote once describing the fire service that can seem fairly accurate at times. "The fire service. 200 years of tradition unimpeded by progress."

I know at times it can seem that fire departments are slower than molasses at accepting and embracing change but if you look back at our history I think you'll find that we have changed rather dramatically in recent years.

The Romans were the first to employ "firefighters." They were a group of men that watched for fire and then tried to stop it using a bucket brigade, water pumps, and various tools to rip down buildings in the path of the fire.
In 1679, the first fire department was established in Boston, MA. By 1715, Boston had 6 engine companies.
 It wasn't until 1853 that the first fully paid fire department was established in Cincinnati OH. Horse drawn fire apparatus were state of the art at this time.
In the early 1900's the first motorized fire engines came into service.
In 1967, the Los Angeles County Fire Department made another huge step. The first paramedics we're put into the field on two squads. While initially met with resistance from the fire service, paramedics today have become standard on most metropolitan fire departments. Part of the early success of the paramedic program is due to the show Emergency.

Since that time the fire service has grown in size, technology and scope. We no longer just respond to fires. Firefighters are trained in advance emergency medicine, vehicle extrication (no small feat considering all the different types of vehicles out there today), hazardous materials, technical rescues of any and all kinds, skydiving, flying, boating, prevention...just to name a few. And we strive to be experts in every one of these areas.

Here are a few of the modern apparatus that we use today.
ARFF (Aircraft Rescue Fire Firefighting)
Type 1 Engine
Fire Truck
Firehawk Helicopter

I just thought you might like a very brief look into the history behind the fire service and that firefighter/paramedic treating you or your family member.


kurt Kamm said...

Hi - I am an author of firefighter novels and run a website with a blog called Firefighter's Words. It has a world-wide readership. If you would like to submit a story - heroic, sad, funny about a first responder experience. Send it to me at
Blog is at
Books - One Foot in The Black and Red Flag Warning

Anonymous said...

Hi! I have been reading your blog on and off for a while now. I really enjoy it, and I learn a lot.I am a 16 y/o girl and am aspiring to be a firefighter/paramedic. I was wondering if you had any advice for me? Thank you for writing such an excellent blog (and posting regularly to boot!)

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

Anonymous 16 year old girl. I wrote several posts about how to get hired. Here's a link to the first one:

Most of all don't give up. As a woman you might encounter some (or a lot) of grief from guys in the fire service. Don't listen to them. You can do this job just as well, if not better, than they can. Everyone in the fire service as strengths and weaknesses. The big thing is to put all those strengths together to make something happen. If you have more questions hit me up on twitter #firemedic or Facebook. Or you can just email using the contact button on my blog.

Good luck!

Amela Jones said...

Is there any further reading you would recommend on this?

fire service blog

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