When the Gong Rings
A Fire History of Charleston, Illinois
6.   FIRE BRIGADES OF THE 1800's BRIGADE MANUAL    

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FIRES, FIRE ENGINES, AND FIRE BRIGADES

 Go back to p.5 (for the beginning of this section), and then to p.7        p.8        p.9

 

THE VOLUNTEER, 1874-1941

PROTECTS OUR COUNTRY

 

 

      "'ONE volunteer is •worth ten pressed men;' so says  the  old  proverb  though  from  experience, where the qualifications are equal, paid will be found a better word than pressed (forced). . .the motives which induce volunteer firemen to subject themselves to the discipline and work required of them in the discharge of their duties, whether at drills or at fires, by night or by day, let the weather be what it will, must of themselves impart a higher tone, and inspire a degree of laudable emulation and perseverance amongst them; and the zeal thus generated, the enthusiasm thus excited, cannot fail to render a volunteer fire brigade far more efficient and smart than any mere mercenary brigade can ever hope to be. . .The sacrifice of time and money which has been made by those who have entered the ranks of our phalanx of citizen soldiers has given a solidity. . .to the institution, which cannot fail to make it a most efficient weapon of defense for the country." [p. 453]

 

WHO MAKES A GOOD VOLUNTEER FIREMAN?

       "... the post of a volunteer fireman should be sought only by those who fully understand the importance of the duties they undertake to perform, have the courage and strength of body necessary to enable them to encounter the work, and judgment and perseverance strictly to obey the orders of their superintendent either at drill or at fires; for it will frequently happen that the salvation of life and property may at any moment depend on the coolness of an individual volunteer, and the exactness and readiness with which he obeys his orders." [p. 458]

 

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS OF A VOLUNTEER FIREMAN

       ". . . a medium sized man of vigorous mind, active habits, a moderate liver, cool in danger, of an enterprising, bold disposition, good and even temper, and in the habit of practicing rowing or athletic exercises, will make a high class efficient volunteer fireman. Remember, few things look more ridiculous than a volunteer fireman either so short and small that his helmet seems to be the greatest portion that can be seen, or so long and lanky that he might stand on the 'lee side of a rope yarn, such as these cannot prove to be otherwise than eminently unqualified for the work and duties of a volunteer fireman." [p. 458]

 

PROPER USE OF FIRE ENGINES

       ". . . volunteer fire brigades should constantly keep in mind and most carefully avoid, is that of turning their engines into hack coaches, to run about with their crowd, or to please the whims and fancies of those who know no better, and think it something 'loud' to make believe that they really are fireman, but take precious good care to avoid being of any practical utility in the hour of need." [p. 458]

BEHAVIOR OF VOLUNTEER FIREMAN AT THE FIRE SCENE

       ". . .avoid the foolish and un-businesslike system of bawling and shouting to each other at fires, as this adds in no small degree to the confusion then existing and rarely fails to cause some misunderstanding from orders being mistaken or unnoticed because confounded with the noise of the crowd. The "whistle affords a ready means of signaling, and one not easily mistaken; for by being made so as to give a peculiar tone or note, and so many sounds being made to represent each order, orders may be easily issued without the confusion invariably accompanying the other system (shouting and bawling), or in any way detracting from the business-like feeling which ought to exist both in the members and the lookers on; in fact, a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure would hardly fail to be felt by all parties at seeing the duties properly and efficiently carried out in a quiet and unexcited manner." [p. 458-459]

 

DRILL AND PRACTICE

       "Perseverance in drills under experienced instructors will soon bring a brigade into such an

 


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