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

FIRES, FIRE ENGINES, AND FIRE BRIGADES

 Go back to p.5 (for the beginning of this section), and then to p.6      p.7       p.9

 

ON THE FIRE SCENE: PLACEMENT OF THE ENGINE

& ENTRANCE INTO THE BUILDING

 

THE FOREMAN (NEXT IN COMMAND AFTER THE CHIEF)

       He should reside at one of the stations, receive his orders and instructions from, and make his reports to, his superintendent (the Chief), and set an example of alacrity, skill and of regularity of the behavior to the men under him. In the absence of the superintendent or deputy superintendent, he will take command of the whole brigade, and perform all the duties as laid down for the superintendent.

GETTING THE ENGINES TO WORKING QUICKLY

       The foreman should do his best to get the engines quickly to work (if necessary), but SHOULD NOT interfere with the first engine and firemen that had arrived, nor allow their supply of water to be diverted from them, each engine getting to work in the order of which they arrive.

PLACEMENT OF ENGINES

       He will be careful to place the engines in such a manner that the men who work at the levers may not be endangered from the falling of the premises on fire, also that the engines may not be in the way of persons rescuing property; and he will especially endeavor to place the engineers, with their breach pipes, in such a position that the water may directly strike the burning materials, for on this point being properly attended to entirely depends the effect of the engines. (Many engines were destroyed or severely damaged because of being placed too close to the infernal). 

ENTRANCE INTO BURNING STRUCTURES

       To attain this (best location of engine) it will be frequently necessary to enter buildings on fire, and he must take care not to place his men in actual danger, but so that they can easily escape. If he suspects that the building is insecure, he should place one or two competent men on the look out, to give the alarm when they see danger. He should NEVER allow any man unaccompanied by another to enter a building on fire, and should not cause more water to be thrown than is absolutely necessary to extinguish the fire.

REMOVAL OF PEOPLE FROM FIRE PREMISES

       When the inmates are removed to  a place of safety, he should endeavor to exclude air from the premises by closing all doors and windows.

GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS OF THE FOREMAN

       He will be responsible for the conduct of the men under him, and for the good order of the engines. He should make himself acquainted with the talent and character of each of the men under him, and should visit each station in his district every twenty four hours, and report all irregularities to the superintendent, and also forward to him a report of all fires that have occurred in his district, and the names of the men who were present, and enter every complaint of non-fulfillment of duties, etc. He should at all times be capable of giving full instruction to the engineers and men on all points of their duties, etc., and he will be held responsible for each of the engines being provided with the articles in the following list:-

1 Jumping sheet

8 Forty feet lengths of leather hose (for country use, two 100 feet lengths of canvas hose should be added)

2 Scaling ladders

2 Lengths of suction hose

1 Suction strainer

2 Branch pipes (long) 1 Branch pipe (short) 6 Nozzles (various

sizes) 1 Stand pipe (double

outlet)

1 Gooseneck 1 Hand pump (with 10 feet of leather hose and nozzle)

[No doubt, this list would relate to a steamer engine, but many of the items were included on the 1800's Babcock Fire Wagon in Charleston]

[p. 433]

 

 


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