Firefighters are some of the most heroic men and women on the planet. No matter what precinct they’re apart of, which state they’re in, or which country they call home, all firefighters are brave, hard working individuals who put their lives on the line each and every day in order to save, protect, or just help complete strangers. While we appreciate these heroes when they’re doing their job, we hardly ever truly thank them when they’re off duty or just walking down the street. In today’s blog, Fire Assessment Center Prep, the best firefighter test prep center in the United States, would like to go over International Firefighters’ Day, an annual holiday where the world celebrates former, active, and line of duty death (LODD) firefighters.
History of Firefighters
Since humans first discovered fire, they also needed someone or a group of people to help keep it in check. Most records point to ancient Egypt having the very first established fire brigade. It wasn’t until the ancient Romans that we have a clear and concise record of firefighters. Emperor Augustus formed the very first documented firefighter brigade in the third century. Later, around 60 AD, emperor Nero formed the Vigiles, a group of soldiers who patrolled the streets as police officers and firefighters. However, in this early age, buckets of water and lines of people were really the only ways these proto-firefighters could battle fires.
Fire brigades had a tumultuous time taking off after the collapse of the Roman Empire, and it wasn’t until the 17th century that western civilization saw another dedicated firefighting group. After the Great Fire of London in 1666, insurance companies in England began hiring firefighters to protect their clients’ homes and buildings. Here in the United States, the founding fathers had a large role in starting some of the first fire brigades and fire companies. George Washington was a volunteer firefighter and donated a new fire engine to the Alexandria, Virginia firefighters. Benjamin Franklin established the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia in 1736. However, the United States didn’t have a government run fire department until the Civil War.
The first full-time paid firefighters were those at the Cincinnati Fire Department in 1853, who were also the very first firefighters in the world to use steam powered fire engines. These fire engines replaced horse-drawn wagons and hand-pumped hoses. The internal combustion engine then made its appearance with fire companies around the country in 1905, effectively putting an end to steam engines years later.
Firefighters and the methods they use to combat fires have all evolved throughout the years. However, only about 30% of firefighters in the United States are full-time paid employees. Most firefighters are volunteers who aren’t even paid for their incredibly heroic deeds. Firefighters are usually the first responders for just about any emergency when 911 is called. This can put them in highly dangerous situations, with some unfortunately never making it back home. Men and women around the world put their lives on the line every single day in order to protect people they may have never even met before, and on Firefighter Appreciation Day, we thank each and every firefighter for their brave sacrifice.
When is International Firefighters’ Day?
International Firefighters’ Day is on May 4. Why is it on May 4 you ask? The fourth of May is associated with the feast of St. Florian, the patron saint of firefighters. St. Florian was the first documented commander of a fire fighting brigade in ancient Rome. After refusing to persecute Christians, whose religion was banned in the Roman Empire at the time, St. Florian was sentenced to death himself. Protecting everyone no matter who they were or what they believed in is the reason we celebrate the fourth of May as International Firefighters’ Day.
As current and former firefighters, we here at Fire Assessment Center Prep salute and thank each and every current, former, and LODD firefighter around the world. We know the courage it takes just to put on the uniform day in and day out. Thank you for your service and everything you do for everyone in your community. We hope that everyone takes a little time out of their day on May 4 to thank and appreciate firefighters around the world.
If you’re a current firefighter in the United States and you’re seeking a promotion in your firefighting career, or you’re just trying to get hired on as a full-time firefighter, Chief Freddie, Chief Johns, and everyone else here at Fire Assessment Center Prep are ready to help you take the next step. Get promotional prep for all kinds of fire assessments here at Fire Assessment Center Prep. As one of the best fire assessment centers in the country, you’ll get dedicated fire test prep both online and in-person. Learn more about us, see what kind of fire assessment prep courses we offer, or contact Fire Assessment Center Prep for more information about any of our services.