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On Thursday 16th July 2015 a speaker from the Kent Firefighting Museum spoke to the group about the history of Firefighting.

The July meeting featured a talk about the history of firefighting and the Kent Firefighting Museum at Woodlands garden centre, Ash. The Romans used fire-breaks to stop fires spreading and about 250BC Ctesibius invented a portable water lift pump. The first English fire related law (1068) required the population to extinguish their fires by 8pm. 1605 saw the first wooden water main and one of the consequences of the Great Fire of 1666 was the formation of private insurance companies that would send a crew to fight your fire. An insurance fire mark on the building was indicative of the insurance cover. A portable hand pump was employed and casual labour summoned with the cry “all hands to the pump” . The men were paid in beer tokens. The first volunteer brigade was formed in Hythe, Kent in 1802, and a uniformed Metropolitan Fire Brigade was formed in 1833. Fire helmets were made of leather in Circa.1800 and in 1870 a brass helmet was introduced, only to be replaced when electricity became common in buildings as brass is a conductor of electricity. Fire hoses were originally made of leather. Current fire fighting involves completing a risk assessment before tackling a fire.

Report written by Polly Chandler.

Last Revised: 20-Jul-2015

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