When the Gong Rings
A Fire History of Charleston, Illinois
7.   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.6       p.8       p.9

 

A FIREMAN'S PERSONALITY AND BEHAVIORS ON THE FIRE SCENE

 

  . . . advantages of a smart well drilled company of volunteers would, in a very short time, be so strikingly apparent as to lead to the establishment of a well organized system of volunteer fire brigades throughout the country, by whose intrepid aid the destructive influences of our increasing fires would be greatly circumscribed." [p. 459]

 COOLNESS AND RASHNESS

       The volunteer fireman should ". . .carefully cultivate coolness and steadiness in his work; so that he may never be guilty of that most unpardonable fault—rashness—from which so many disasters have and will arise; but coolness and steadiness must not degenerate into a lounging, dawdling way, and supersede smartness and promptness of action. . .a rash, headlong, thoughtless way of going to work is most reprehensible, inasmuch as the consequences are seldom confined to the offender, and their results can rarely be foretold, for this reason, if he has no regard for himself, he ought at least to have a little for others. . .To such as might fancy a rash style of going to work looks bold and businesslike, they may be assured that the contrary is the case; and the author (Mr. Young) has frequently noticed on such occasions as he has met with it, that ridicule and contempt are its just and proper reward." [p. 459]

 SHOWING OFF

       "Some persons cannot resist the temptation to 'show off and make themselves conspicuous by all sorts of absurdities and antics, running up and down ladders, capering about on balconies or roofs, in and out of doors and windows, when no earthly necessity for such proceedings, or, as they have well called, 'gymnastics exercises,' exists. All such ridiculous proceedings as these are to be carefully avoided by all firemen who desire to appreciate their position and have it appreciated, and besides this, would like to keep clear of the consequences frequently resulting from them, one of which will yet be fresh on the minds of our readers (the grim-reaper beckoning)." [p. 459]

THE CHIEF (SUPERINTENDENT)

       ". . .Should be possessed of coolness, activity, and presence of mind . . .should endeavor to be present at all fires, and being the chief should, on the first alarm, immediately proceed to the fire and reconnoitre the surrounding buildings, etc., which will enable him on the arrival of the engines to direct their power advantageously. . .should reside at the most important (busiest) station. . .upon his arrival at the fire he will take command of the whole force, and be responsible for the general conduct of the foremen, engineers, and firemen under his charge, and should make himself acquainted with the conduct of every man under his orders. . .will take care that the printed regulations and all other orders that are given out from time to time are promptly and strictly obeyed . . .will give clear and precise instructions to the men under him, and report every instance of neglect of a serious character to his superiors, and punish by fines, etc. . . .should always be prepared to furnish particulars respecting the sate of engines, men, etc. . . .and he will see the necessity of visiting at uncertain hours, the various engine stations every day or night. . .will work out the salvage from the ruins, and should cause a report to be transmitted as soon as possible to such offices according to a printed form as follows:—

IN CONCLUSION, FOR THE CHIEF

       "In case of emergency, he should be authorized to call in such additional force as the urgency of the occasion may render needful." [p. 432]


 

 

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