The origins of an organised fire brigade in England go back as far as 43 AD as the Romans were conquering. After a particularly bad fire in Rome, the Emperor Augustus ordered the organisation of the ‘Vigil Corps’. The brigade would act as fire control officers for some 500 years.
Laws regarding fire have been around for a very long time. As the Normans conquered England after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, one of William the Conqueror’s first laws was that house fires could only be put out at night!
One of the most notorious fires in history was the Great Fire of London which started in the early hours of the morning on September 22, 1666 and lasted for four days! The only form of fire extinguishers was buckets full of water, very basic fire trucks and water pipes.
By1667, a law had been passed that states London had to be sectioned into 4 parts, each one with 800 buckets, 60 ladders and 40 shovels. The law only specified the equipment that had to be stored and nothing about who might be using them.
Today, firefighters wear fire-resistant jackets, fire-resistant trousers, safety shoes, special hoods, helmets, glasses, insulated gloves, and t-shirts with their station names on them. The combined weight of this clothing comes to almost 60 pounds!
Firefighters must attend special training schools that teach them everything they need to know about fires such as how they can start, why they keep burning and how to extinguish them. They must also be able to work in teams and regularly train to help them learn how to deal with fires!
Firefighters are often among the first on scene at accidents or emergencies. They treat people who are injured or sick, both during fires and in other situations. Many of their calls require medical care. Training doesn’t end when they formally become firefighters, they must practice fire drills regularly.
Some firefighters operate in and rural areas where fires are known to occur and cause problems. Specialist firefighters known as smoke jumpers combat forest fires, parachuting from airplanes into remote areas.
Firefighters and fire supervisors work to prevent fires by carrying out building inspections, ensuring that fire safety regulations are followed and frequently visiting schools to teach about fire safety. Fire investigators examine fire to see how they started. They gather evidence from the fire scene and speak with witnesses.
A fire truck today will have a fire hose installed and a ladder used to save people from tall buildings. The truck will also have a rescue net that looks a bit like a trampoline. You’ll notice the distinctive markings on the rear that provide high visibility. For more information on these Chapter 8 Chevrons, visit www.vehiclechevrons.com
When on shift, firefighters live in fire stations most of the time and stations contain bedrooms, kitchens and living areas. In an emergency, an alarm sounds and they must respond immediately. Amazingly, it just takes an average of 1 minute and 18 seconds for a firefighter to depart their station.
It takes an average of 56 minutes to put out the fire!
The average length of time to answer a 999 call is 1.5 seconds!
Firefighters not only extinguish fires, they save people and animals trapped during floods, earthquakes and natural disasters.