Interesting Facts

Protective Headgear and Axe

The Fire-fighter's Protective Headgear and Axe help to get through the fire and rescue trapped or injured persons.
Water is still the best solution in combating fire.
Water also acts to protect the firemen as they look for people trapped, or to assess and locate vulnerable and threatened areas that may require attention.

The First Hydrant

The first fire hydrant was invented about 1817, by George Smith, a fireman in Manhattan, USA.
A water shortage motivated him to have water piped into the city not just for ordinary use, but especially to have sufficient water to combat fires.
Essentially not much has changed, as water piped to a kerb-side hydrant is still the best option in the event of a fire.
At least, they have been updated by Woodlands to incorporate the latest technical advances and supplied to make all the right places around the country safer from the threat of fire.

Storz Quick Coupling

In 1890, Carl August Guido Storz patented his quick coupling in Switzerland.
It soon became the accepted norm on hydrants in many parts of Europe.
And over the past 100 years, the Storz design has become more common in the USA and the rest of the world.

The Fire Alarm

The bell to rouse firemen in an emergency is one of those traditions that, it appears, will not die very easily.
At Roosevelt Park Fire station this large silver bell, still rung by hand, summons the crew to emergency duty.
Electric alarms are indeed used in many facilities but firemen seem to prefer the old hand tolled bell.

The Earliest Fire Brigade

The earliest reference to a fire brigade dates back six thousand years to China.
Not much is known about the prevention controls employed by ancient cities, but by the time the Romans ordered every house holder to keep buckets, syringes, hooks and mops at the ready, some advances had been made.
Ladders and the humble bucket were essential, while the fireman's axe has remained unchallenged until today, for securing quick entry through doors.

The Fire King of Victorian Times

Capt. Eyre Massey Shaw, led The Metropolitan Fire Brigade for twenty-five years from 1866, and laid the foundations of modern fire fighting methods.
Not only did he instigate improved uniforms and the celebrated brass helmet, he opened new stations and recruiting campaigns for professional fire-fighters, controlling a network of 59 stations in London by 1869.

He keenly embraced the horse-drawn steam-pumped fire engines and had the first brigade to use the telegraph for inter-station communication.
He published numerous books, the most significant becoming a standard book on how to organise, equip and train a fire brigade. He was knighted for his services and immortalised by Gilbert & Sullivan in their operetta, Iolanthe.

Earliest Reference to Pumps

The earliest reference to pumps is to be found in the writings of Pliny, the elder, who used the word SIPHO.
But whether he was referring to a double cylinder pump or a small hand held syringe is not clear.
The Hero of Alexandria, a pupil of Ctesibius, constructed an engine with two vertical cylinders, which was able to provide a continuous water flow. Circa 200 BC.

Only in 1548, did a German translation of Hero's work bring about a revival of fire fighting which seemed to have been discarded after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Once it got going again, the evolution of fire fighting machines grew rapidly, with mechanically sophisticated developments and valves, powered by steam, then electrical, internal combustion, and now back to electrical engines and combinations. One is tempted to ask, "Quo Vadis, Sipho?"