Firefighters are some of the most fearless and brave people, choosing to work in a job that can get them killed on any given day, rather than an ordinary, safe desk job. People who choose to be firefighters are definitely not ordinary. They are extraordinary and here are 8 facts that I bet you didn’t know about firefighters and the history of firefighting.

  • Did you know that about 100 firefighters per year are arrested for STARTING FIRES. That’s right, there are serial arsonists who decide to become firefighters. Guess they would be the last people you would expect to start a fire. These people tend to do it more for the money or the thrill, rather than it being a psychological disorder.

  • Benjamin Franklin is responsible for the first fire company in Philadelphia. These firefighters were sometimes known as Benjamin Franklin’s Bucket Brigade. They would meet monthly to discuss different techniques to fight fires.

  • A firefighter needs 100 hours of training before legally being allowed to enter the interior of a burning building.

  • How long do you think firefighters have to get dressed? Less than two minutes! This includes all of their gear, which can weigh from eighty to one hundred twenty pounds.

  • From 1603 until 1867, Japanese firefighters fought fires in a “different” kind of way. They wet themselves with hoses so they would be less flammable (causing their uniforms to weigh up to 75 pounds). They used hooks on poles to try to pull the buildings down and smother the fire. They believed preventing the fire from spreading was more important than saving the burning structure itself. Only five percent of all recorded fires which happened in Japan for centuries resulted in death, seemingly proving their methods.

  • Did you know the reason for dalmatians being used as the dog of choice for firefighters? It was due to dalmatians getting along well with horses (back in the day, firefighters used horse-drawn carriages), being adept at protecting the carriage and equipment while the firefighters were performing their duties, and being able to run alongside their carriages for lengthy periods of time. Nowadays, the dalmatian has shifted its role to more of a companion (obviously due to technological upgrades over the years).

  • Molly Williams was the first recorded woman to serve as a firefighter in an official capacity in New York City in 1815. She was also one of the first African Americans to serve as an official firefighter as well. Unfortunately, she was a slave to Benjamin Aymar, who was associated with Oceanus Engine Company #11. During the blizzard of 1818, there were very few male firefighters available due to influenza. Molly stepped up and practically was doing all the work herself, trudging through the snow with the fire pump to emergencies. Nowadays, most firefighters are still men (women account for just 4% of all firefighters).

  • You would think that the most likely thing to kill a firefighter is fire, right? Wrong. The number one killer of firefighters is heart attacks. Over 45% of firefighters who die while on duty die from heart related issues. Firefighters are 12 times more likely to have a heart attack when putting out a fire than when they are performing duties not related to emergencies.

Did you know any of these firefighter facts? Which of these were you most surprised to learn? Sound off in the comments section down below and let us know your thoughts, or even add something to the list that we didn’t know.


Barak Bacharach, SkySaver Content Manager