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October 13th, 2011

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

 

            Here’s a great Fire Prevention Week story: The City of Philadelphia is installing an historical marker to commemorate the 275th anniversary of the very first ever American volunteer fire company, which beats most Indiana departments by over 150 years.

The city received financial support from the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, an organization that I’d imagine got hard hit by disasters this year. Say what you will about insurance companies, but you can bet they don’t like to see property burn down.

            The man who pushed for the marker is Edward Welch, an historian and 35-year veteran volunteer firefighter in Pennsylvania. Volunteers, when they see something that needs to be addressed, have this habit of … volunteering.

           

In the early 1730’s, before we had a country, several prominent Philadelphia residents wrote a series of newspaper articles, in which they pointed out that fire protection in the growing city consisted mostly of people pointing, screaming, and running. It was like a colonial Godzilla movie. This, they decided, was ineffective, and also not very dignified. The leader of the group had mad organizational skills, so on December 7, 1736 – a day which would later live in infamy – Benjamin Franklin formed a fire company.Collapse )

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