The last couple weeks have been brutal. Between the fire academy and my new job, I’ve been slammed. I’ve been to Concord Uniforms so many times recently, I’ve though about volunteering there.
It was my hope at the start of this blog that I would be able to write a post for every day of the academy. That is clearly not going to be possible, but I will try and stay on top of things at least in blocks of days. Today’s post will be on Day 2 of the academy, but in this posts and future posts I’ll generally focus on a few things: What we’ve covered in class; class/training instructors; personal wins/losses (blunders); other highlights. In addition, I’ll also try and get the quizes we’ve taken so far posted on the quiz page so you can test your own firefighter knowledge. Remember – anything less than 70% fails.
Day 2 – This was the actual first day of “class”. Day 1 was our 10-hour orientation. In this class Captain Grillo covered the history of the fire service from 24 B.C. to current day. There’s a lot that we covered and I’d love to post the notes here, but that would take a lot of time I don’t have. That’s a project for later, but I can tell you a few highlights regarding the history of the firefighting and some of the interesting trivia that goes along with it.
- The earliest recorded history of firefighters was in Caesar’s Rome. The “Familia Publica”, made up of 600 slaves (not like the African-American slaves of American history. They were more like servants of the commonwealth.) stationed around the city and kept watch nightly for fires. They put them out by throwing buckets of water on them.
- The Corp of Vigiles eventually replaced the Familia Publica and served Rome for about 500 years.
- The very first fire pump ever was called the Siphona Syringe (invented by Ctesibus and Hero the Alexandrian) which was basically a giant syringe full of water which was pumped by multiple men onto a fire.
- Former Captain of the Romain army, Florian, became known as “Florian, Patron Saint of Firefighters”.
- Dalmatians, the fire service mascot was originally used to keep horse teams on path and calm at the scene of fires.
- Ben Franklin is commonly referred to as “America’s First Fire Chief” as he started the first fire department in Philadelphia, PA.
- Boston, MA created the first paid-on-call Fire Department, let by Thomas Atkins – America’s first Fire Captain.
- The word ‘curfew’ comes from the french saying “couvre feu” meaning “cover fire”. In Medieval England the curfew bell was rung meaning it was time to cover and extinguish your fire, so that homes would not catch on fire in the night.
- Andrew Gratacap invented the first fire helmet made of leather with the primary purpose of keeping water out of your eyes.
- Cincinatti, OH (1853) is credited as being the the 1st paid, full-time Fire Department.
- San Francisco’s Daniel Hayes invented the 1st hydraulic aerial ladder in 1870.
- In 1973 America’s growing fire problem was finally explored in depth in the monumental “America Burning” publication. It’s conclusion was that our fire problem which is worse than any other industrialized country, stems from our own apathy.
- 345 firefighters die in the terrorist attacks on 9/11. 6000 people died in total.
- Today there are approximately 33,000 fire departments in the U.S. and 1 million firefighters (two-thirds are volunteer)
- The are approximately 2 million fire calls per year in the U.S.
- A popular saying in the fire service goes “200 years of tradition, unhampered by progress.”
- “Semper Vigilans” is the motto of the fire service. It means “Always Vigilant”.
Class went smooth. Nothing significant to tell beyond the