Since the 1600s till now, firefighting has come a long way. From the time when men gained knowledge of how to start a fire, fire-related accidents have been taking place time and again. Overtime, we have been able to establish agencies, forces and groups to coup fire, fire-related accidents and injuries. Moreover, fire brings huge losses to properties, money and above all, lives.
If we look through the American history, there have been enormous fires. The first one was in Jamestown back in 1608, only after a year when it came into existence. This incident is remembered for the massive loss of lives, properties and money it caused.
Moving on, Boston was one city in United States that witnessed fire over and over again. Fires that broke out in 1631, 1654 and 1676 were so serious that they pushed the administration to think about fire, fire prevention and related laws very seriously. As a result, new laws, codes and policies were introduced. This included the proper utilization of open spaces, constructing buildings from fire-resistant materials and formation of proper firefighting departments. In the latter part of the 17th century, Boston saw the introduction of the first ever firefighting department, engine and paid fire-fighters.
Following Boston’s footsteps, the government of New York also established a Volunteer Fire Department in 1737. If the American statistics are to be believed, almost 73% of American firefighters have entered into firefighting via Volunteer Fire Department.
Firefighting and firefighters have been put to test time and again. One such incident was back in 1871 when the Great Chicago fire broke out and then the forest fire that took place in Wisconsin in the same year. These incidences made 25% of the firefighting and insurance companies dysfunctional.
Firefighting today is not merely seen as extinguishing fire, rather it is seen as a heroic act of rescuing lives of people stuck in deadly situations. From children to adult, no one can easily escape fire unless rescued by a firefighter. Whether it is saving the life of a child caught in a tall building or an old woman stuck in a manhole, the firefighter of today can rescue anyone from anywhere.
The traditional firefighting equipment consisted of buckets, hooks and chains and swaps have now been evolved to latest use of technological tools and equipment for putting off fire instantly. One of the most important aspects of firefighting today is the concept of paid firefighters which was non-existent before. Wes Barne was the first ever firefighter chief in Jefferson who was paid for his services $45 a year!
Today, firefighting is about working effortlessly on policies, procedures and technologies to easily overcome all kinds of fire-related challenges in future. The journey of firefighting and firefighters hasn’t been easy; however, a joint effort to can lead to a better today and future.
Fortunately, the calls for fire in America have reduced since 1980. Thanks to the U.S fire administration, the national leadership given to local fire services is helping in keeping up with the fire regulations.