Facts About Firefighting
- 1631 the fire ordinance was adopted in Boston.
- 1648 four Fire Wardens were appointed in New Amsterdam (now New York). Later eight more citizens were appointed to the first “Rattle Watch”. These volunteers would patrol the streets at night looking for fires carrying large wooden rattles. If a fire was seen, the men spun the rattles to alert citizens then directed the responding citizens to form a bucket brigade.
- 1676 Boston received its first “state of the art” fire engine from England. The three-foot-long, 18-inch wide wooden box had handles and a direct force pump that fed a small hose. The engine was kept filled with water by the bucket brigades.
- 1678 Thomas Atkins became the first Fire Engine Captain.
- 1736 Benjamin Franklin incorporated the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia.
Communities Are At Risk
- In 2014 volunteer firefighters represent over 69% of our entire nation’s one million plus firefighters. Out of 50,700 fire stations over 87% are staffed by all volunteer or mostly volunteer firefighters compared to 13% that are staffed by paid or mostly paid firefighters.
- Volunteer memberships are declining; fire and rescue departments are struggling to keep their companies properly staffed. Undermanned fire and rescue companies are leaving their communities at risk.
- The rural areas of our country have been hit the hardest by the volunteer firefighter manpower shortages.
Volunteers Are Needed
Fire companies need volunteers with all types of skills and abilities. Besides the men and women that put on the turnout gear, ride the truck and put out fires other volunteers are needed. Fire companies need volunteers that have backgrounds in various areas such as general business, accounting, medical, law-enforcement, mechanics, construction, computers and fund-raising.
Make A Difference
Volunteer firefighting is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have. The skills you will learn as a volunteer firefighter are invaluable.
Your community needs more volunteer firefighters. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter, the first thing you need to do is contact your local fire department and ask what you can do to help. Any fire company member would be glad to answer your questions as well as give you a tour of the facility.
Nationwide, it’s estimated that volunteer firefighters save the American tax payer $37.2 billion dollars a year in labor cost.