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Overview of the History, Tradition, and Development of the American Fire Service


Introduction This chapter ... Early American History Early regulations on ... Slide 9 Early History and Symbols of the Fire Service Slide 11 The Middle ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Overview of the History, Tradition, and Development of the American Fire Service

Chapter 1
  • Overview of the History, Tradition, and
    Development of the American Fire Service

  • This chapter covers
  • Importance of the mission of the fire service
  • Purpose of a mission statement
  • Major events that alter the history of the fire
  • History of firefighting and emergency response

The Mission of theFire Service
  • Firefighter tasks are the same all over the world
  • Save lives and property from fire and other
  • Different fire departments have different
  • Mission synonymous with purpose for existence
  • Legal authority to act in a certain manner
  • Mission statement
  • Written declaration describing things it intends
    to do to protect citizenry or customers
  • Every individual responsible for mission

Roots in the Past
  • Factors common to all agencies
  • Organizational structure
  • Inventory of facilities, apparatus, equipment,
  • Programs to protect life and property
  • Categories of programs
  • Fire and emergency operations and fire prevention
  • Arson investigation
  • Training
  • Emergency medical services
  • Communications and maintenance

Figure 1-1 Understanding the history of the fire
service is like climbing a ladder.
Ancient Beliefs
  • Turning point in human history recognition of
    value of fire
  • Initial challenge manage fire, prevent it from
    destroying its user
  • Ancient Greeks believed fire was a gift from
  • Phoenix myth fire powerful destroyer and giver
    of life
  • Ancient cultures used fire fire destroyed their
    homes and consumed their property

Recorded History
  • Vesta Roman goddess, protector of hearth fire
  • Hero of Alexandria created first fire pump
  • 22 B.C. magistrates reported fire outbreaks at
  • Familia publica organized along military lines
  • A.D. 6 Cohortes Vigilum permanent fire brigade
  • Housed in barracks toured the city at night
    looking for fires

Recorded History (contd.)
  • Emperor Augustus created seven cohorts
  • Seven military units under command of a tribune
  • Groups under a prefect (officer of equestrian
  • Each prefect had 500 men, later expanded to 1000
  • Vigiles were a variety of specialists
  • Roman leaders attempted to regulate building
  • After fall of Rome, no organized fire brigades
    for 1000 years
  • Legacy of organized firefighting left by Rome

Figure 1-3 An early European hand-operated pump
based on the ancient Roman design.
Early History and Symbols of the Fire Service
  • Crusades Order of Saint John of Hospitaliers
  • Dedicated to treatment of battlefield wounds
  • Knights of Malta
  • Dedicated to saving lives by serving as
  • Symbol on uniform and shield determined friend or
  • Red cross worn by Order of Saint John
  • Maltese cross worn by Knights of Malta

Figure 1-4 Symbols taken from history (A) red
cross and (B) Maltese cross.
The Middle Ages
  • Fire continued to destroy European cities
  • Technological advances around the globe not
    widely available in Europe
  • Fire brigade created in China, not copied in
  • A.D. 1100 1600 English devised fire
  • Laws requiring home owners to have ladders,
    buckets, and barrels of water handy
  • Arson a serious crime
  • Punishment to be burned alive

The Middle Ages (contd.)
  • 1666 Great Fire of London
  • Community leaders placed emphasis on elimination
    of conflagration
  • Next 200 years creation of almost all basic fire
    protection institutions of the modern age
  • Organization of fire departments
  • Creation of fire insurance industry
  • Rise of technology to prevent and combat fires

Early American History
  • Early regulations on prohibition of wooden
    chimneys, limitations on candle-making
  • Early settlements built of wood emphasis on
  • 1637 firemarks used by insurance companies
  • Fires fought by bucket brigades
  • Early 1700s Boston designated fire wardens
  • 1718 fire societies, era of volunteer
  • 1752 Benjamin Franklin started Philadelphia

Early American History (contd.)
  • Fire companies extinguished only the fires of
    insured buildings
  • Volunteer firefighters extinguished any fire
  • Fire used as a weapon of war
  • 1800 1850 better protection, more powerful
    hand pumpers, development of fire helmet
  • Arson became common in mid-1800s
  • 1853 first full-time, paid firefighting service
  • Steam-powered fire engine replaced hand-pumps

The Civil War
  • Establishment of paramilitary organizational
  • Firefighters became soldiers in the Civil War
  • Most of the countrys experienced firefighters
    were lost to the war
  • Military veterans replaced lost firefighters
  • Introduced military rank structure
  • Command and control similar to infantry tactics
  • Coloration and design of uniforms
  • 1873 National Association of Fire Engineers

The Industrial Revolution
  • 1870s through 1900 U.S. moved from farming to
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • Designed and installed automatic sprinklers
  • Standard number 1
  • Basic research in fire engineering started in
  • Alarm systems
  • Fire hydraulics
  • Aerial apparatus
  • Steam-powered fire pump

The Beginning of the Twentieth Century
  • International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
  • National Board of Fire Underwriters (NBFU)
  • Evaluated level of fire defense in different
  • Emphasis on fire prevention
  • 1920s firefighter education reform
  • Fire Chief Ralph Scott
  • Firefighting Bulleting Number 155, series 44,
    Federal Board of Vocational Education, 1931

Technology, Transition, and Times of Change
  • Different technology in service simultaneously
  • Pre-World War I stations had both horse-drawn and
    motorized fire apparatus
  • Several pieces of equipment had to be assembled
    to fight a fire
  • Internal combustion combined three apparatus into
  • Advances in ability to reach fire, but not in
    capacity to fight fire once on the scene

Figure 1-16 Triple combination engine companies
can carry water and hoses and other equipment as
well as pump the water. (Owned and photographed
by William Killen)
The Effects of World War II
  • War accelerated need to deal with fire
  • Fire still a weapon of war
  • Research resulted in
  • Indirect attack method
  • Improved foams for use in fire service
  • Improved personal protective clothing
  • Improved fire nozzle technology
  • Fire service became more paramilitary
  • Other innovations improved communications
    (radio), diesel engines

Modernization of the Fire Service
  • Modernization is a process
  • Information half-life how long it takes for 50
    of information to become obsolete
  • 1700s about 100 years
  • Half-life has decreased with every generation
    over last 100 years
  • Technological obsolescence any given technology
    is only useful for a period of time
  • Steamers replaced hand-pumpers
  • Diesel replaced gasoline

The Fire Service of Today
  • Acceleration of change related to duties of
    firefighter and agency staffing
  • Hazardous materials response
  • Search and rescue
  • Terrorism incidents
  • 1947 National Conference on Americas fire
    problem (Harry Truman)
  • Texas City Disaster first catastrophic hazardous
    materials event in America

The Fire Service of Today (contd.)
  • 1960s Johnson Foundation Wingspread Conference
  • 1970s National Commission on Fire Protection and
    Control America Burning
  • United States Fire Administration created
  • Incident command system (ICS) created

The Fire Service of Today (contd.)
  • Twenty-first century
  • 30,635 fire departments and 1,140,900
  • Fire department in the U.S. responds to one fire
    every 20 seconds
  • U.S. has fourth highest death rate among
    industrial nations one person dies every two
    hours in a fire

Figure 1-17 The fire service has expanded into
many areas, including hazardous materials
The Fire Service of Today (contd.)
  • The fire service also plays a large role in EMS

Figure 22-2 Firefighters are often called on to
assist EMS crews with patient care.
Lessons Learned
  • Firefighters career is like climbing a ladder
  • We must give due credit to the past
  • Future contains difficult challenges and
  • Firefighters must develop skills that did not
    exist previously
  • Motto of the Roman fire brigade Semper Vigilans
  • Always Vigilant
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