Very little else can be as selfless as being a volunteer for something. Personal glory and recognition are a part of it sure, but this doesn’t deny the fact that you willingly give of yourself to help someone else. Even more so is being a volunteer fire-fighter who dedicates not only time and energy, but also one’s life to the service of a greater good. Please read on to get an understanding of the historic background of volunteer fire-fighting in America.
The history of the first known volunteer fire-fighters in America goes back more than 400 years to the colony of Jamestown, Virginia in approximately 1608. Among other things, there was a specific need for someone to battle fires and there were no salaries paid for such services then. Volunteering to fight fires was seen in a more social light rather than a duty like it is today. It was a fantastic opportunity to “hang out” with other men, gain social standing and have a legit reason to do so.
The duties of a volunteer fireman in the 19th century were to push, pull and move the fire equipment to the scene of a fire. Those who weren’t directly using the main body of equipment would help out in any way they could which may have involved helping people out of burning buildings and preventing anyone from trying to go in them. After some devastating fires in 1608 and 1623 there was a serious need for the community to come together and establish fire reduction and avoidance actions and regulations. This in part meant that a team of volunteers would need to be prepared around the clock in case of fire emergencies. Continue reading