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Firefighter Facts for Kids

by Amy M. Armstrong, studioD

Kids naturally admire firefighters. Their actions save people from burning buildings, rescue trapped victims in car crashes and remove frightened cats from trees. The horns and lights of their enormous trucks are intriguing and all the equipment stored on the truck is fascinating to learn about and watch in action.

They Were Founding Fathers

The first paid and organized firefighting department was founded in Boston in 1678, according to the Boston Fire Historical Society. Benjamin Franklin started the first all-volunteer firefighting service in Philadelphia in 1736, according to UShistory.com. Along with Franklin, several other Founding Fathers served as volunteer firefighters, including Samuel Adams, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

They Wear Heavy Gear

Firefighters' gear weighs a lot. A tally in a "Coeur d'Alene Press" article lists the following: A fireman's coat weighs 15 pounds. His boots and trousers weigh 30 pounds. The mask and air pack that a firefighter wears to ensure he has plenty of oxygen while fighting the fire weighs 30 pounds. In total, that is 75 pounds of gear. That is just the basics of what he needs. Firefighters often carry hoses and axes that add more weight, according to the Santa Clara County Fire Department.

They Respond Quickly

Firefighters keep their fire-retardant clothing and gear near their truck in the fire house so they can quickly get dressed and get on the truck. Fire trucks can reach speeds of 60 to 70 mph when responding to a fire or other emergency.

They Drive Cool Trucks

The "coolness" factor isn't necessarily what firefighters aim for when heading out in their red vehicles responding to an emergency. Still, their trucks are cool. According to the New York City Fire Department, firetrucks come in three basic types: Pumper trucks are about 30 feet long and use hoses to attach to fire hydrants to get water to fight fires. Tanker trucks, which also are about 30 feet long, can carry up to 1,000 gallons of water. Ladder trucks are 40 to 50 feet in length and have a long ladder that can be extended to reach higher stories of tall buildings.

About the Author

Amy M. Armstrong is a former community news journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing features and covering school districts. She has received more than 40 awards for excellence in journalism and photography. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Washington State University. Armstrong grew up on a dairy farm in western Washington and wrote agricultural news while in college.

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images