06/26/2009: "The First 100 Yrs"
"The First 100 Years of the Friday Harbor Fire Department" is the subject of Hose Carts and Fire Hvdrants, a book edited by retired Fire Chief Rick Galer.' With news articles, council minutes, essays from chiefs and a few advertisements, the book shows how fighting fires has changed in 100 years.
In the early 1900's, a bell code on a few telephones called men to fight a fire. 200 men rushed to stand in line, passing buckets of water up to 10 brave men who threw the water on the fire. A Hose Cart was later added to permit connection to wooden water lines.
Today, fire fighters enter a burning structure for interior attacks, wearing special bunker gear and breathing apparatus. In the early years, volunteers could throw 2-112 gallons of water from a wooden bucket. In 2009, aerial pumper trucks spray 1000 gallons of water per minute. As Galer says in the conclusion, "wooden buckets take a lot of manpower, little money, and not much training. Pumper trucks take little manpower, lots of money and a lot of training." But we still put the wet stuff on the red stuff.
In Hose Carts and Fire Hydrants, you will learn about equipment sought, purchased and modified, about many sad and a few amusing fire experiences, about buildings lost and buildings saved. You will find out who has been fighting fires and protecting the town. You will also learn of the stresses involved in providing protection.
If you like Friday Harbor, you will like Hose Carts and Fire Hydrants, a fascinating and fun local history. The book is available for purchase at the town fire station.