A Quick Review: History & Sciences of Fire Prevention


It never hurts to brush up on the facts and that’s what we’re doing here today! So, whether you already knew that Benjamin Franklin started the first volunteer fire company in Philadelphia or that Dalmatians became the standard firehouse dog because they could easily run with horse-drawn carts already or not, here is a quick recap of both fascinating looks into the history of fire prevention.

The Nation’s First Volunteer Company

Imagine if fire departments were run as private clubs and the only way you could be helped in the event of a house fire was if you were a member. Well that’s exactly how they used to function but, thanks to Benjamin Franklin, that nonsense is a thing of the past and Philadelphia is the setting for the origin story of the volunteer fire company in the United States.

Dalmatians: The American Firehouse Dog

If you’ve ever wondered why Dalmatians seem to be the preferred breed for the fireman’s best friend, you’re not alone. As it turns out, there is a historical explanation behind this adorable phenomenon and it has to do with this particular breeds unique friendship with horses. Though horse-drawn fire carts were eventually replaced with motorized engines, the dogs remain to this day.


Chances are, no matter where you are right now, there is a smoke detector or a fire extinguisher nearby. That’s because, together with your local fire department, they are 2 of your 3 greatest fire safety resources. How do we know that? It’s science! Well, actually, it’s statistics but the science is in how they work. Here’s an quick recap of both.

The Science of Smoke Detectors

Do you have an ionization and photoelectric smoke detector at home? If you’re not sure – or if this just read like we switched to Greek for a moment – you might be interested to learn about these two types of smoke detectors and how they both detect smoke and sound an alarm to alert you of the possible danger.

Fire Extinguishers 

Although efforts to invent an effective fire fighting implement go back as far as 1723, something like the modern fire extinguisher that we know of wasn’t invented until 1818. Even then, enhancements made to the original design would derailed it for some years, leading to items like the fire grenade – literally a glass ball filled carbon tetrachloride that was hurled at fires. Finally in 1924, the carbon dioxide extinguisher that we use and trust today came into existence.

Want to learn even more about fire prevention? Check out our Resources page for plenty of useful information to present at your next educational event!


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