What Are Some Important Milestones in the History of Firefighting?


Quick Answer

Firefighting began in the 2nd century, when an Egyptian named Ctesibus crafted the first hand pump that would emit a stream of water. While the idea stayed dormant until AD 1500, it was then that the fire pump was reintroduced. Comprised of nearly 7,000 paid fire fighters, ancient Rome's first fire department established following the city's near destruction from flames. Fire fighters also had the authority to inflict corporal punishment on citizens who violated fire prevention codes.

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Developed in 1725 and purchased in 1731, the Newsham was the first successful fire truck in New York, wheres the first steam fire engine was built in London in 1829. Originally made of tin in 1725, speaking trumpets were eventually made from brass and then silver, and allowed fire chiefs and officers to yell orders at the fire crew.

In the beginning stages of fire fighting, insurance companies only paid the crew that actually extinguished the fire. Absent fire hydrants, residents were required to keep a certain number of buckets on their property according to the risk of fire. In places that had no fire hydrants in 1787, a four-wheeled carriage hauled 50 buckets to the scene of a fire.

For a price of $16,000, the Seattle Fire Department purchased the first thermal imaging camera in 1997. Three years later, fire fighters began utilizing global positioning devices to help locate and manage fires.

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