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Mokena Professional Firefighters Local 4270 (mobile)
 
Fire Service History
Jan 17, 2009

History Of The Dalmatian 
 
The Dalmatian is believed to have its origin in a coastal province of the Austrian Empire called Dalmatia, known today as Croatia, around 1300 A.D.  It was from this area that the breed received its name.  The Dalmatian’s spotted legacy is recorded in ancient Italian and Egyptian art.  It was in the ancient Egyptian art that the spotted dog was depicted accompanying chariots.
 
Dalmatians were imported into England in the 18th century, where they became very well liked and known.  Through the years the Dalmatian has served many duties.  They have been used as draft, shepherd, and hunting dogs by farmers and in wartime as sentinel and attack dogs.  However, the most popular use was as a coach dog.  The aristocratic lords of England naturally adopted their distinctive and dignified appearance.  Many coaches had one or more Dalmatians in attendance.  The dogs would ride next to the coachman or trot under the front or rear axle or between the horses.  Their natural stamina, speed and agility made them ideal companion to the horses and coach.  Their protective instincts were a great asset to the coach's occupants, especially while traveling in the less desirable areas of the country.
 
During the period of horse drawn fire apparatus the Dalmatian’s duties and loyalty insured them a place in the fire service history.  The Dalmatian served multiple rolls in the fire service.  At the station they would root out the rats, protect the men, horses and equipment from vandals, vagrants and thieves, and be a loyal companion to men and horse.  On fire calls they would run with the horse teams to ward off people and dogs from their path.  Once on the scene the Dalmatians role was that of guard dog and would keep the horses calm and ward off any unwanted dogs and insure that nothing was stolen from the apparatus.
 

Today the Dalmatian is considered the firefighters’ companion and the traditional mascot of the fire service.  Dalmatians can be found in firehouses around the world, continuing to serve as a guard dog and companion to the firefighters and equipment that adopted them centuries before.  Their aristocratic good looks, low maintenance, high energy, unrelenting loyalty and bravery suite them well for the fire service.  Dalmatians can still be seen riding fire apparatus as they respond to fire calls.

 


Jan 17, 2009

Saint Florian Patron Saint of Fire Fighters

 

All firefighters are aware that Saint Florian is the patron Saint of firefighters. Many have purchased and are very proud to wear the Saint Florian medallion around their neck. These medallions are usually gold and many are shaped in the form of a Maltese cross with the image of Florian stamped in the center of it. If you ask who Florian was or why he is our Patron Saint, most firefighters don't know. They assume it is because he made some heroic fire rescue or maybe he was a priest who was involved in the fire service. These answers are the typical response but neither is accurate.
 
Florian was a Captain in the Roman army. He was a brave soldier and a tenacious fighter. Rome recognized the danger of fire and was the first to employ a fire department. This first fire department was made up of slaves. They had no real desire to risk their lives battling the flames of their captors. Rome desperately needed fire protection. They called on Captain Florian to organize and train an elite group of soldiers whose sole duty was to fight fires. Captain Florian indeed organized such a group. They were highly trained and very successful at protecting Rome from fires. A brigade of firefighters followed the army and provided fire protection at their encampments. These firefighters were highly respected and easily recognized. They wore the traditional Roman soldier uniform except the skirt was green. The most famous picture of Saint Florian depicts him with a young boy pouring water from a pitcher onto a fire. This picture if seen in color reveals this green skirt.
 
Rome was very impressed by this young Captain and all that he had accomplished. They decided to reward him by making him a general. Generals were often given large tracks of conquered land to govern. The only rules were that they had to enforce the laws of Rome and collect the taxes. Florian's area included almost all of Poland.
 
Rome began to hear some rumors about the way Florian was governing his land. It was reported that he was not enforcing Rome's law forbidding Christianity. Rome did not believe this, but they did sent investigators to check. They reported back that it was true. Rome sent a group of soldiers to confront Florian. They warned and threatened him that he must enforce the laws of Rome and abolish Christianity. Florian not only refused he confessed that he had embraced the faith and become a Christian himself. Rome was furious. They tortured him and demanded he renounce his faith. Florian steadfastly refused. Rome ordered his execution.
Florian was to be burned at the stake. Soldiers marched him out and secured him to the post. Villagers gathered around to witness the execution. Florian begged his executioners to build the fire higher. He implored them to light the fire so his soul would rise up to heaven on the smoke from the blaze. The soldiers had never seen this kind of reaction from a person about to be burned alive. They were frightened. What if his soul did rise up, right in from of all the villagers? They could not afford a martyr. The fire was not lit. Florian was taken away by the soldiers who decided to drown him. He was placed in a boat and rowed out into the river. A millstone was tied around his neck and he was pushed over board and drowned.
After his death, people who were trapped by fire reported that they invoked Florians name and his spirit delivered them from the flames. These occurrences were reported and documented many times. Florian was confirmed a saint for his commitment to his faith and the documentation of his spirit delivering trapped persons from the flames.
 
It is only fitting, that firefighters, committed to their duty, and instilled with the spirit to dedicate themselves to the protection of life and property, should choose such a man as their patron saint.


"Honoring Our Past Makes Us Appreciate Our Future"

Jan 17, 2009

History of the Maltese Cross

 

The Maltese cross is known around the world as a symbol of the fire service. It is often seen painted on fire trucks, on the clothing of firefighters, depicted on firefighters badges, and is quite often the chosen design of firefighter tattoos. So where did the Maltese cross come from, and how did it get to be known as a symbol of the fire service?
 
The Badge of a Fire Fighter is the Maltese Cross. The Maltese Cross is a symbol of protection and a badge of honor. Its story is hundreds of years old.
When a courageous band of crusaders known as Knights of St. John fought the Saracens for possessi on of the holy land, they encountered a new weapon unknown to European warriors. It was a simple, but horrible device of war. It wrought excruciating pain and agonizing death upon the brave fighters for the cross. The Saracens weapon was fire.
 
As the crusaders advanced on the walls of the city, they were struck by glass bombs containing naphtha. When they became saturated with the highly flammable liquid, the Saracens hurled a flaming torch into their midst. Hundreds of the knights were burned alive; others risked their lives to save their brothers-in-arms from dying painful, fiery deaths.
 
Thus, these men became our first Fire Fighters and the first of a long list of courageous Fire Fighters. Their heroic efforts were recognized by fellow crusaders who awarded each hero a badge of honor-a cross similar to the one fire fighters wear today. Since the Knights of St. John lived for close to four centuries on a little island in the Mediterranean Sea named Malta, the cross came to be known as the Maltese Cross.
The Maltese Cross is your symbol of protection. It means that the Fire Fighter who wears this cross is willing to lay down his life for you just as the crusaders sacrificed their lives for their fellow man so many years ago. The Maltese Cross is a Fire Fighter's badge of honor, signifying that he works in courage...a ladder rung away from death.
 

 


 




Page Last Updated: Jan 17, 2009 (07:24:15)
 
 
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