Feb 27, 2013

Up in Smoke: A History of Firefighting

Fire. One of man’s greatest creations. It allowed for light, heat, and the invention of the barbeque! For millenia, fire was essential to survival in one form or another. But fire was, and remains, a constant threat. Handled properly and safely, fire provided light, heat and the ability to cook delicious meals. But an act of carelessness or a lack of foresight could turn one of the most important forces known to man, into a destructive cataclysm far beyond our control.

To prevent and to manage events of the latter nature, we have firefighters, and firefighting equipment. Fire-fighters have been around ever since Ancient Rome, and they have a long and fascinating history, which this posting will explore.

Ancient Firefighting
Firemen have existed for centuries, in one form or another. There are fire-fighting teams that go back to Ancient Egypt and even Ancient Rome.

The first fire-fighting brigade of significance was established in Rome, by a man named Marcus Licinius Crassus. A wealthy businessman, Crassus employed a team of 500 men whose job it was to extinguish structural fires in the city of Rome…for a fee…to be paid…before the firefighters would even tip so much as a thimble of water…

So much for that.

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