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January 20, 2022, 11:02

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1) Fire truck. Photo by N. Shchapov. May 2, 1914. Main Archive of Moscow

In the 19th century, fire fighters went to bed with boots on to get ready faster.

Until 1917, Moscow firefighters were under the jurisdiction of the police authorities. The city fire service was commanded by a fireman – he was subordinate to the chief police chief. And in each district or district in the police house there was a fire brigade under the leadership of a fireman. Many documents on the work of firefighters at that time have been preserved in Glavarkhiv.

Speed ​​was highly valued. So, from the moment the fire was noticed, the team had an average of two and a half minutes to leave. And even during the night rest on duty, the firefighters did not take off their boots – in order to quickly gather for extinguishing.

But they also cared about beauty. For example, horses of only a certain color were often selected for firefighting trips, and the townspeople found out which team was driving down the street.

The work of firefighters was especially dangerous in winter, when the risk of falling from a great height during extinguishing increased due to icy equipment and clothing. Therefore, in frosts, they were equipped according to the weather. The Glavarkhiv has preserved data on the cost of winter wagons with special skids and firewood. First of all, they were worried about the speed of movement of fire fighters. In addition, in winter, Moscow firefighters armed themselves with special barrels for water – with insulated walls and a built-in firebox. Otherwise, in severe frosts, the water could simply freeze, and the fire extinguishing would stop. And if axes, hooks and hooks were used in any weather the same, then the pipes for pumping water were different – for weather at minus 10 and below, special ones were used, with stove heating.

The highest quality fire equipment in the 19th century was considered imported, especially English. And since they tried to buy the most advanced equipment for Moscow firefighters, they had to go to the expense. So, at the World Exhibition in London in 1862, two steam fire pipes were bought with an unprecedented capacity for that time – 60 buckets per minute at a height of 150 feet (one foot – 0.3048 meters). The cost of pipes amounted to 5084 rubles 98 kopecks in silver, which was almost equal to the annual budget allocated for the purchase of inventory.

From the second half of the 19th century, they focused on Russian industry. Since the 1890s, steam pipes began to be produced by the Gustav List factory in Moscow. Around the same time, domestic fire hydrants and the first fire alarms began to be installed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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