Our class visit to the Winter Park Fire Department was vary interesting. The cheif of the department gave us an extensive background on the history of the department and how it influenced the nation. The WP Fire Department was founded on April 15th 1900 by prominent figures in the local society at the time. Men like Chase and Morse along with other citizens planned out the city and established many much need institutions. From 1900 - 1950 all of the firefighter were volunteers; it wasn't till 1950 that firemen began recieving wages as employees of the city. The first fire department in the US was started by Benjamin Franklin in Alexandria Virginia during the lare 1800's; Friendly Fire Department was the begining of an essential institution that till this day plays a vital role in our society.
In past years many tragic accidents occured that required for regulations to be put in place in order to protect the general public. For example: All revolving doors require that there be two regular doors on either side in order to ensure a smooth and adequate evacuation in buildings that have been set ablaze by ruthless fires. One other law is the prohibition of indoor pyro-techniques due to one incident in which an entire club was engulfed by flames consuming the people inside.
These days firefighters no longer have the sole task of containing and neutralizing fires. The provide emergency medical services, respond to terrorism issues, and manage major catastrophes like bridge collapses and floods. The Winter Park Fire Deparment therfore renamed itself Winter Park Fire and Rescue. They pretty much respond to any emergency that does not require police intervention; they are also known as first responders.
When the fire deparment began to administer emergency medical services, modes of transportation were limited. Realizing that it was essential for them to provide immediate medical attention to victims on the way to the hospital, they started off by transporting victims in hursts. This was the only vehicle at the time with enough room to perform vital lifesaving services. Can you imagine; as a victim you feel dead before you even get to the hospital?
As time passed the Amblance was created. This allowed for firefighters to become specialized in medical practices that saves lives. They basically do anything that can be done in a trauma center except of course complex surguries and treatments. Althought the ambulance was a great technological break through it was still lacking a system to protect fire rescuers from harm while attending to patients. Many firefighters died through out the years due to a lack of seat belts; the idea of a seat belt in the back of an ambulance didn't seem logical. After all they need to move around the patient in order to attend to them. The Winter Park Fire Rescue realized that this alone was jeapodizing the lives of many heroes and action needed to be taken to stop it. They along with a local ambulance producer worked together to produce the first ambulance with a seat belt capable of protecting EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) while also allowing them to perform their job. This new ambulance is now used all around the country and has becoming more and more popular.
I found it fascinating that our local fire department helped change lives around the entire nation. I look forward to working with the fire department and going through thier historical photos and documents to understand and appreciate their history.