As I wrapped my arms around the pole, I took a leap and slid right into the world of a fireman, as preserved in the Denver Firefighters Museum. My adrenaline wasn’t pumping as much as the brave and burley firefighters that are responding to calls, but my energy was on fire! Studying the old fire alarms and bell towers, I was impressed by the progression of firefighting.
Bell towers were placed on the streets of the Denver area and when pulled, it signaled back to the firehouse of the location of the tower, and with the combined hustle of citizens and firefighters uniting, the fires were extinguished. Of course, there were a lot of false alarms because anyone could pull them at any time. (And I know how much trouble a false alarm can cause because well, I pulled one. As a curious toddler, I ran right up to that big red lever and pulled down with all my might. It worked! )
Even more amazing was the evolution of fire trucks from pumpers, to horses, to steam engines to motorized engines.
Ten men pumped the handles on each side until the fire fizzled. This machine pumped 300 gallons of water a minute.
Horses replaced the pumpers and also the amount of people needed to fight a fire. Horses trained to recognize the sound of an alarm, dashed from their stall to the exit doors and waited to harness up! Harnesses were latched onto the ceiling and with a simple push of a lever; the harnesses would fall right onto the backs of the horses.
Steamers also came into the mix and were able to pump up to 500 gallons of water a minute!
But when motorized engines made their debut, the haylofts were out and lockers for the crew were in. Motorized vehicles doubled the amount of water that a steamer could produce; now 1,000 gallons of water.
Beyond seeing the innovations, there are also solemn moments. The museum preserves not only the equipment but also the bravery of the firemen.