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The History of "First Water" in Firefighting

First Water

first water

The term "First Water" actually goes back to the 1800's. Back then Fire Departments actually competed with one another. There were very few regulations governing fire department operations. When two departments were in the same area the city or town would often pay the first fire department on scene, while the second received nothing. In other areas it was a matter of pride. The first department to put water on the fire would claim "First Water" and in a way, get credit for fighting that fire. Some departments even hired young kids who would race to a fire on foot and throw a single bucket of water on the flames. This usually did very little or nothing to fight the fire, but it would earn that department the right to claim "First Water".

The phrase is still used in some areas today. When a department is called out to a fire they will often refer to three events: Dispatch time, On scene time, and time of First Water, the moment when the first fire stream actually begins fighting the fire.

The History of "First Water"

The History of "First Water" in Firefighting

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