“What’s a fire plug?” asked the 4-year veteran.

Fridays are for the four year veterans. 

You know them.  They've been around long enough to know it all. 

They especially love to demonstrate their vast experience by puffing out their chest at a rookie, who probably doesn't know yet how full of stink this tough guy is.  You gotta show these newbies who da boss.  Like we need another boss, right?

Down boy.

These crusty old jakes deserve to be brought back into reality. 

I like to use some good ol' fashioned fire service history.  You know.  The traditions that define who we are and upon which the foundation of the fire service is built. 



Today, let's chat fire alpina fire plugplugs.

In the 1600’s, water was only available after firefighters dug down through the ground to drill a hole into the nearest water main. As the water poured out into the hole, a well of water formed. Water was scooped out and moved by bucket brigades. When they were done, a wooden (usually redwood) plug was driven into the hole.

Since it was easier to knock out one of these ”plugs” to get water the next time it was needed, firefighters tried to remember where the “plugs” were located and often marked them. Then a firefighter would get his water supply with the swing of an ax, filling the old depression in the ground once again.

Water mains of old were actually made of wood. In this picture, Capt. Bob Adrian, right, and firefighter/paramedic Chris Morrison of the Alpena City Fire Department in Michigan examine a section of wooden pipe that once served as the city’s water system. The log is bored through the center, sheeted in metal and coated with a creosote or tar sealant. Sweet grab, guys!

The four-year veteran just became a four-year student.  Don't be a veteran.  Be a student for your entire career.


Stay stoked!




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John Mitchell

Firefighter/Paramedic and a Lieutenant in suburban Chicago

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