Fire! Fire!

Fire has always been a danger to people, but long ago it was an even greater danger.  Fires started much more quickly from old-fashioned ways of heating and lighting homes.  Once a fire was started, it was more difficult to put out.  Without running water, fire hydrants, and hoses, the first firefighters had to rely on buckets of water to put out a blaze.  The firefighters formed a line called a "bucket brigade" and passed buckets of water from hand to hand.

As time went on, fire engines were used.  Early fire engines were pulled by horses and had tanks of water.  Firefighters used hand or steam pumps to spray the water on the fire.

The first fire departments were usually made up of volunteers who just wanted to help their neighbors in a time of need.  Gradually, fire departments paid people to work full time.  In small communities, however, fire departments still depend on volunteer firefighters.

Find out more about fire protection in your community by answering the questions below.

  1. When was the first fire department established in your community? ______________________________________________________________

  2. Who was the first fire chief? _______________________________________

  3. Is your present fire department made up of paid or volunteer firefighters? _______________________________________________________________

  4. Who is the fire chief? ______________________________________________

  5. How many fire fighters does your community have? _____________________

  6. How many fire engines does it have? __________________________________

  7. What other services does this department provide? ________________________

  8. Draw a picture below of an old fire engine that was once used in your community.  Perhaps someone at the fire department or library can help you find research for your drawing.  You may want to include a caption with your picture to tell something about the fire engine and when it was used.






Courtesy of the Warren County Historical Society