I recently had the opportunity to visit the Chicago Fire Department’s Fire Academy for a class. When I walked in the door I was met by a trip into the past.
As you can see from the first picture, there are some significant pieces of fire service history sitting in the lobby like this old steam pump.
Most importantly, they have a very
detailed account of historical events that shaped the Chicago Fire Department over the past 200 hundred-plus years. These accounts list famous fires like the Iriquois Theater Fire, The Great Chicago Fire and Our Lady of the Angels, just to name a few.
Detailed accounts of these fires made me really appreciate the struggles and improvements that have shaped and molded what the fire service is today. We are the benefactors of great firefighters from the past and we should take time to remember this.
As I made a right from the lobby, there is a short hallway that honors the fallen Chicago firefighters over the past 200 plus years. They have a badge for each one in a glass case and it is sobering to say the least. There is a great number of badges on that wall for those that made the ultimate sacrafice. When you see how many have given their lives for their fellow man, it truly is a humbling experience.
There are also some boots and helmets on small pedastals below the badged wall. These were molded from the equipment of some fallen Brothers that are displayed in memorium of their sacrafices. To see this and to touch them sent chills up my spine. It could be any of us.
The important point of this is that between all of the debating, the infighting, the politics, the training or lack there of and everything else, we need to remember our mission as a fire service. We need to remember the responsibility we have to protect our citizens while at the same time taking care of our own.
The fire service has always been known as an extended family and it always will be. Take some time to learn about your departments “family tree” and honor it. Serve our profession with pride and be honorable at all times. Do your best and make all of us proud.
Be careful and take care.