Because of the situation we face today, we are going to start lessons on our first responders! Today’s lesson is dedicated to my cousin Sean, a firefighter! So let’s first learn a little bit about the history of firefighters! The first firefighters in recorded history were found in Ancient Rome, which we learned about in our last lessons. In the year 60 A.D., Emperor Nero formed a group of firefighters called Vigiles, who would combat fires with a system of water buckets and pumps. Fire was something incredibly dangerous in places that had many buildings made of wood. Because this meant that a fire could rip through a city and harm many people. If you check out Everyday Chaos and Calm, you can make some fire inspired slime!
The first firefighters in Britain were seen during the Roman invasion, and much like Nero’s fire Vigiles, these firefighters used buckets of water to put out fires. During the Middle Ages, some churches created their own fire departments to protect their communities. However, in 1666, the Great Fire of London happened. That fire burned 436 acres of the city of London, and set in motion a major change in firefighting. Fire Brigades were formed, and water had to be transported in a faster way. In our world today, firefighters use a system of hydrants and hoses to fight fires. If you click here, you can try an activity with cups that allows you to try to put out the “fire!”
Eventually, Fire Brigades realized that firefighters had to be physically capable of doing the very hard work that a firefighter does. The CPAT test (Candidate Physical Ability Test) is what determines if a person can become a firefighter. There are tests in climbing tall stairs, dragging heavy hoses, hauling equipment, and raising ladders. It is hard work! Firefighters have to be able to climb the ladders, which can be really tall! All while wearing lots of heavy fire equipment. If you think you can try the obstacle test like the firefighters do, you can click here! Or if you would like to try to create a climbing firefighter, you can check out this site!
Fire Brigades have also had a long history of the equipment that they need. One of the most important things that a firefighter has is the transport that moves the firefighters equipment from the firehouse to the site of the fires. Today, we call them fire trucks! But even in history, they had something like firetrucks. In 1774, George Washington donated a horse drawn fire engine to the fire brigade at Alexandria, Virginia. If you would like to make a firetruck out of an egg carton, click here! In 1836, Henry T. Gratacap designed a helmet for firefighters like the ones that firefighters today wear! They look much like the one below that you can cut out and wear!