"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

"Heroes with grimy faces" - Sir Winston Churchill

December 10, 2008

"MEOW 999"


Photo: Euston Fire Station web site
Firefighters in central London go to the aid of "Pancake" the cat, stranded atop a chimney, according to the web site of the Euston Fire Station. www.eustonfirestation.com/

ON THE THAMES

Photo: London Fire Brigade
The fire brigade's Massey Shaw passes the House of Commons towards Lambeth river station in the 1950s.

RESTING AT FIRE

The painting Resting at Fire - oil on canvas by Reginald Mills, 1940 - depicits firemen during the Blitz, according to the London Fire Brigade web site

December 05, 2008

POLITICS

In 1891, the London County Council challenged Eyre Massey Shaw, chief fire officer, for control of the brigade. The council won, and Shaw retired after three decades. The cartoon by Tom Merry in St Stephen's Presentation Review satirised the conflict, according to the London Fire Brigade web site.

December 04, 2008

TELEGRAPH


Photos: LFB web site
Fire stations in 1889 and watch room telegraph

In the 19th Century, Eyre Massey Shaw - the first chief officer of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade - linked London's fire stations by telegraph.

In his 1867 book ``Fighting the Flames,'' author R. M. Ballantyne explained messages were relayed through a central office in an effort to improve response times and maintain adequate fire cover in each of the brigade's districts.

``When a fire occurs in any part of London ... the fire station nearest to it at once sends out its engines and men, and telegraphs to the head or centre station at Watling Street,'' Ballantyne wrote. (Actual alarms of fire were turned in by neighborhood runners paid a shilling per shout from the station purse.)

``From Watling Street the news is telegraphed to the foremen's stations, whence it is transmitted to the stations of their respective districts, so that in a few minutes after the breaking out of a fire the fact is known to the firemen all over London,'' according to Ballantyne's book.

December 03, 2008

FIREFIGHTER SAFETY

A study by the Fire Brigades Union says 2007 was the deadliest year in more than two decades for the U.K. fire service, with eight firefighters dying on duty. The study cited failure in risk assessment as a leading cause of fatalities. FBU leader Matt Wrack said: ``We have better fire engines, we have better equipment, including personal protective equipment. We have a better understanding of many of the risks we face. In theory at least we have better operational procedures. We should therefore have seen a decline in serious and fatal accidents."