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We are not going to title this first part partially because we could not come up with a really good title and partially because the one that we did come up with would scare some of you off (History). Let us also add that when we use the HIS or HE it does not mean just male. It is just easier than always putting his/hers all the time. So we will just jump in. One of the first things we wanted to put in here is an old Fire Service tradition.


The fire helmet was first designed in 1821 by a New York Fireman, Henry Gratacap. It was made of leather and had a long rear brim to deflect water off the wearers back. Worn reversed it could be used to shield the eyes from the heat. Combs sewn into the cap provided strength to the cap part. It quickly caught on and soon was seen being worn by most firemen. Thrown from a window, it became the signal of a cry for help from a trapped fireman. A front peice could be added that had the wearers Department or company on it. Thus started another Fire Service tradition, colors designating the wearers rank and type of company. White became the color of Officers, with the Chief (Forman, Chief Enginer, or whatever his title) having a completely white helmet. The other officers would have a white front only. Black was the color for Engines, Red the color for ladder companies, and once the idea of Rescue Firemen came about, Blue for Rescue. These days so many Departments have gone to yellow helmets because of the visivilty. We have partly lost the use of colors. This color code is used by some departments as the background color on the officers rank insignia to show his type of company. Our department for instance uses Black helmets to signify Officers and Yellow for all firefighters. I am told that this is from a past Chief (who had no idea what he was doing on a lot of things) Now because of the expense of the helmets we are stuck with this system. However some of the older and larger Departments like New York City still use this color code, also they still use the leather helmet. Infact the Cairns and Brother leather helmet is known as the Model 5A New Yorker.


The rank insignia used to day to designate officer rank is normally one of three types, the military type, the bugle (actually a speaking trumpet), and the fire ax. The speaking trumpet dates back to the days of the hand drawn and hand opperated fire engines. The Officers used speaking trumpets (a type of megaphone) to shout out the orders. The fire ax (correctly called a pick ax) is normaly a sign of a ladderman (truckman in some departments). So the trumpets are used for engines and the axes for trucks. Normally one is a Lieutenant and two side by side is a Captain. The ranks of Chief depend on the department but normally start with two trumpets crossed. I dont know of any departemt that has axes for about the rank of Captain. The fireman has normally used just the fire dept scramble. This scramble is a composset of the helmet, ladder, pike pole, ax and a round object hanging from a pole with a fork. This item is a lamp, carried by a fireman in front of the handdrawn fire engine to light the way to the fire. Some scrambles will have the speacking trumpet and possibly a nozzel. This scramble is use extensively in the centers of badges and door emblems today. The majority of scrambles will use either the ladder in an upright possition or the trumpet in the upright possition. The maltise cross of the fire depatment comes from the Knights of Malta who were monks and Knights who not only fought battles for Christ but also made a practice of fighting fires. They used the Cross as their sign, and it evolved into the design that we know today.

By the way has anyone ever wondered by the New York Fire Department trucks are marked with FDNY and not NYFD? Well let us tell you what we have found out. In the Days before the Civil War, the fire departmet was completely Volunteer. After the civil war the City Fathers disbanded the Volunteers and created one of, if not the First paid fire department in the Nation. The Volunteer depatment had been known as the New York City Volunteer Fire Department. The new paid department became known as the Fire Departmetn of New York. Thus the use still today of the abbreviation FDNY.


We have all seen Snorkel fire trucks in operation either in person or on TV. But how many of you know the origin of the apparatus or the name? The Snorkel as a Fire apparatus has it's origins in Chicago in 1958. The Fire Commissioner Robert J. Quinn had been looking for something to replace the department's three antiquated water towers, which manufacturers were no longer making. Commissioner Quinn had watched in fascination, tree trimmers and electric-sign repairmen using trucks with two hydraulically operated elevating arms that lifted them in baskets high in the air. The workers quickly moved up and down, in and out, swung from side to side, and rotated 360 degrees.

Quinn described his ideas with Edward J. Prendergast, the department's chief automotive engineer. "Suppose we mounted a nozzle in the basket and attached several lengths of hoseline to it. We could pump into it just as we do our water towers. These platforms will provide the maneuverability and versatility we lack in water towers that remain stationary. We'd be able to sweep the entire fire floors and at better angles, too. What's more, these same characteristics would make them ideal for rescuing people from upper floors. The Pitman Manufaturing Company, Granview, Missouri, builder of aerial platforms, was contacted and agreed to cooperate in an experiment to test one for fire fighting.

The platforms had been invented in 1951 by Ted Thornton Trump of Oliver, British Columbia. Trump named his invention the Giraffe and built it primarily for orchards, where workers called it a cherry picker. About three years later, Firemen of New Westminster, British Columbia, lifted a hoseline in a Giraffe and used it to fight a store fire. But practical development of elevating platforms for fire fighting went no further until they sparked Quinn's innovative curiosity.

In September, 1958, Pitman delivered a 50 foot elevating platform mounted on a General Motors Corporation chassis, and the platforms was outfitted. In the Chicago Fire Department Shops. Tests showed that engines pumping into base mounted water inlets could produce a stream of 1,200 gallons per minute, through a 2" diameter nozzle, at a maximum pressure of 100 psi. The platform got its first test of fire at 1:00 am on the 18th of October, 1958. When it was called to a 4 alarm lumberyard fire on Chicago's south side. Fireman John Windle, operating the nozzle from the basket, helped to bring the blaze under control in a fraction of the time normally expected for a fire of equal magnitude. First Deputy Fire Marshal James A Bailey said "I can't believe how quickly and accurately it worked. It really plastered this fire in a hurry." Chief Fire Marshal Raymond J. Daley said "In 33 yrs of fire fighting I never saw anything as effective and maneuverable."

When reporters asked what this weird contraption was called, Windle said "It's Commissioner Quinn's Snorkel." The reporters remarked that this was an unlikely name for a fire apparatus. One even remarked that a snorkel is used underwater (referring to the tube that skin divers use to breath with when the head is underwater, or the device that a submarine uses to get fresh air and still remain underwater.) Windle remarked "That's exactly where I've been for the past hour. Up there in the basket and under water from other streams." From then on, the elevating platform was known as Quinn's Snorkel, and the commissioner soon became known as Snorkel Bob, for his pioneering development of one of the most versatile pieces of fire equipment ever devised.

Please *****DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE***** It may take a life, and ruin your's
Drinking and driving, a dangerous combination! If you must have libation over this Holiday, or anytime for that matter, use your head before you start drinking; have a designated driver, or take a taxi! Be alive next year!! The sad part about intoxicated drivers is they usually are not the ones to is some inoccent person or family that does!

I went to a party Mom I remembered what you said. You told me not to drink, Mom, so I drank soda instead. I really felt proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would. I didn't drink and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should. I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you are always right. Now the party is finally ending, Mom, as everyone is driving out of sight.

As I got into my car, Mom, I knew I'd get home in one piece. Because of the way you raised me, Mom, so responsible and sweet. I started to drive away, Mom, but as I pulled out onto the road, the other car didn't see me, Mom, and hit me like a load. As I lay there on the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say, the other guy is drunk, Mom, and now I'm the one who will pay. I'm lying here dying, Mom. I wish you'ld get here soon.

How could this happen to me, Mom? My life just burst like a ballon. There is blood all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine. I hear a Medic say, Mom, I'll die in a short time. I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn't drink. It was the others, Mom. The others didn't think. He was probably at the same party as I, Mom. The only difference, Mom, he drank, and I will die.

Why do people drink and drive, Mom? It can ruin your whole life. I'm feeling sharp pains now, Mom, pains just like a knife. The guy who hit me is walking, Mom, and I don't think it's fair! I'm laying here dying, Mom, and all he can do is stare.

Tell my brother not to cry, Mom. Tell Daddy to be brave. And when I go to heaven, Mom, put "Daddy's Girl" on my grave. Someone should have told him, Mom, not to drink and drive. If only he'd listened to what his Mom told him...Mom, I would still be alive.

My breath is getting shorter, Mom! I'm becoming very scared! Please don't cry for me, Mom. When I needed you, Mom, you were always there! I have just one question, Mom, before I say good bye... I didn't drink and drive, Mom, why am I the one to die?

Author Unknown

It isn't wrong to go to a party, have a good time, but one should remember, that the automobile they are driving is 3000lbs + of lethal weapon...we take guns away from criminals, it is the same thing!

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