History Of The Dalmatian Dog

The Dalmatian has been the fire dog since the fire department used horses. Dalmatians were breed for endurance and stamina. Dalmatians are not fast dogs but are able to run for long periods of time without rest. Dalmatians were trained to escort the horse drawn engine to the fire scene and prevent stray dogs from interfering. The spotted Dalmatians were easy for the horses to distinguish from the other dogs. Once at the fire scene Dalmatians would continue to protect the horses from other animal


History Of The Fire Apparatus

In the centuries gone by fire has been looked upon by some peoples as a god, to be worshipped. Destructive conflagrations have been accepted as the angry expression of a deity. But with the progress of civilization the attitude toward fire has developed the philosophy that it is a splendid servant but a dangerous master.
The history of portable fire fighting apparatus is an interesting panorama of mechanical progress. It has been a long step mechanically, as well as in terms of years, from the earthen buckets to the modern pumping engine.

Ancient efforts at fire extinction were confined to the use of earthen, metal or leather buckets for carrying water and throwing it on the fire. The first mechanical device for fire extinction was a syringe. In England in the sixteenth century it was known as a "hand squirt." These "squirts" were of very limited effectiveness for their capacity was only about two to four quarts of water, and usually three men were required to operate them -- two to hold the cylinder and one to work the plunger. Other people were of course needed to carry the water.

Sometime about the middle of the sixteenth century a "fire engine" was built, consisting of a giant syringe having a capacity of perhaps a barrel of water, mounted on a two-wheeled carriage. The plunger, or piston, was controlled by turning a crank attached to a threaded plunger-rod. Water was poured from buckets into the syringe through a funnel near its mouth.

Then came the "pump engine" - a plunger pump set in a large tub of water. Two men operated the pump handle and another directed the jet of water. In order to transport this "engine" it was mounted on a sled and dragged by ropes to the fire.

This machine was more effective than the "hand squirts" because of its greater capacity, but its effectiveness was impaired because of the interrupted action of the jet. Water was projected in spurts, ceasing with the completion of the piston stoke. As a consequence, considerable water was wasted in falling between the engine and the fire. That disadvantage was greatly overcome later by connecting two such pumps to one discharge pipe, and operating the pumps alternately. But even this machine had its limitation, and much reliance was still placed on buckets and "hand squirts.

In the course of time there was developed the "man-power" pumping engine with the rocking handle operated by two or more men, and mounted on a four-wheeled carriage drawn by men. This type of engine, which was improved upon from time to time, was used a great many years. A few pieces of this type are still in existence.

The next mechanical device of importance for use in fire extinction was the steam pumping engine, drawn by horses. Its advent marked considerable progress in fire fighting equipment and though the first of such engines was crude, yet the idea was developed to a point where the "steamer" possessed a high degree of efficiency. For years it served very capably in fire extinction.

The idea of using the gasoline engine to both transport fire apparatus and to furnish power for the pump was approached from two directions; one, from the use of the gasoline engine as a transporting power only and the other from its being used only to drive the pump.

About 1908 a pumping engine consisting of a piston pump driven by a four-cylinder gasoline engine was built. This was mounted on a vehicle drawn by horses. This "pioneer" apparatus proved the practicability of using the gasoline engine for furnishing power for a fire department pump.

To adapt the gasoline engine to performing the double duty of transporting the apparatus and of driving the pump was soon accomplished. From that time, eventual motorization of fire departments was a certainty. It was then a matter of improving upon the principle whose inherent practicability had been demonstrated. Efforts at increasing the efficiency of the early motorized pumping engines included a study of the various types of pumps in order to ascertain which one of the three types could best be adapted to use with the gasoline engine. The three types were: the piston pump, the rotary gear pump, and the centrifugal pump. The factors entering into the suitability of these types of pumps for gasoline engine drive are discussed elsewhere in this book.

It has been a long step mechanically, as well as in terms of years, from the ancient bucket to the modern pumping engine. Who can say but that this transition is an accurate indication of the increased intelligence of the human family?

Author: From Seagrave Catalogue No. 5, ca. 1926


History Of The Maltese Cross

The badge of a fireman is the Maltese Cross. This Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection and a badge of honor. Its story is hundreds of years old. When a courageous band of crusaders known as Knights of St. John, fought the Saracens for possession of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple but a horrible device of war, it wrought excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters for the cross. The Saracen's weapon was fire.
As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled a flaming torch into their midst. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths.

Thus, these men became our first firemen and the first of a long list of courageous firefighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each here a badge of honor - a cross similar to the one firemen wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, the cross came to be known as the Maltese Cross.

The Maltese Cross is your symbol of protection. It means that the fireman who wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for you just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years ago. The Maltese Cross is a fireman's badge of honor, signifying that he works in courage - a ladder rung away from death.


History of Bag Pipes at Funerals

The tradition of bagpipes played at fire department funerals in the United States goes back over one hundred fifty years. When the Irish and Scottish immigrated to this country, they brought many of their traditions with them. One of these was the bagpipe, often played at Celtic weddings, funerals and ceilis (dances).

It wasn't until the great potato famine and massive Irish immigration to the East Coast of the United States that the tradition of the pipes really took hold in fire departments. Factories and shops had signs reading "NINA"-No Irish Need Apply. The only jobs they could get were the ones no one else wanted -jobs that were dirty, dangerous or both - fire-fighters and police officers. It was not an uncommon event to have several firefighters killed at a working fire. The Irish firefighters funerals were typical of all Irish funerals-the pipes were played. It was somehow okay for a hardened firefighter to cry at the sound of pipes when his dignity would not let him weep for a fallen comrade.

Those who have been to funerals when bagpipes play know how haunting and mournful the sound of the pipes can be. Before too long, families and friends of non-Irish firefighters began asking for the piper to play for these fallen heroes. The pipes add a special air and dignity to the solemn occasion.

Associated with cities such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago, pipe bands representing both fire and police often have more than 60 uniformed members. They are also traditionally known as Emerald Societies after Ireland-the Emerald Isle. Many bands wear traditional Scottish dress while others wear the simpler Irish uniform. All members wear the kilt and tunic, whether it is a Scottish clan tartan or Irish single color kilt.

Today, the tradition is universal and not just for the Irish or Scottish. The pipes have come to be a distinguishing feature of a fallen hero's funeral.

Author: Excerpted from Ohio Fire Chief, July 1997

History of St. Florian 

Florian von Lorch was born around 250AD and was martyred for his Faith around 304 AD. He lived around the town of Enns near the River Enns which is in Present day Austria. He converted to Christianity when it was still a minority Religion. It is said that as a youth, Florian was able to put out a fire in a house through the power of his prayers alone. It is also said that he saved and entire city from flames with only a single bucket of water. Because of these events Florian has been the patron saint of firemen and chimney sweeps since the twelfth century.

As a youth, Florian joined the Roman Army. Later he would serve as an officer of the Roman Army, and occupied a high administrative post in Noricum, now part of Austria, He suffered death for his Faith in the days of the Roman Emporer Diocletian. His legendary Acts state that he gave himself up at Lorch to the soldiers of Aquilinus, the governor, when they were rounding up the Christians, and after making a bold confession, he was twice scourged, half-flayed alive, set on fire. He survived all of these torments through his unyielding faith. Finally, Florian thrown into the river Enns with a millstone tied around his neck. His body, found by a pious woman who returned it to dry land. An eagle mysteriously watched over him until he was buried. Florian was eventually removed to the Augustinian Abbey of St. Florian, near Linz.

Later, St. Florian was moved to Rome, and Pope Lucius III, in 1138, gave some of the saint's relics to King Casimir of Poland and to the Bishop of Cracow. Since that time, St. Florian has been regarded as a patron of Poland as well as of Linz, Upper Austria. He also holds patronage of firemen, brewers, coopers, chimney-sweeps, and soap-boilers. He is invoked against bad harvests, battles, fire, flood, and storm. He is also the patron of those in danger from water and flood, and of drowning.

There has been popular devotion to St. Florian in many parts of central Europe, and the tradition as to his martyrdom, not far from the spot where the Enns flows into the Danube, is ancient and reliable. Many miracles of healing are attributed to his intercession and he is invoked as a powerful protector in danger from fire or water. His feast day is May 4th.

Author: St. Florian School