Recounts Early Days Of Fire Departments
Hampton Union, Thursday, November 13, 1958
Fire Chief Perley George gave Hampton Kiwanians and their guests an interesting account of the operation of the local Fire Department at the weekly dinner of the service club, held Monday evening in the Goody Cole room.
At the outset, he told of how fire protection in the earliest days was afforded by insurance companies which marked the homes of their clients with certain insignia to indicate that they were entitled to be protected by the fire departments owned and operated by the companies.
Chief George exhibited replicas of various types of insignia sold by insurance companies to home owners. "In those days," said the speaker, "if a fire company arrived at a burning house not properly marked for protection, the members would sit in the street with their equipment and drink beer while the house burned down."
Chief George contrasted early days with the protection afforded in Hampton [in 1958], which boasts of 11 regular and 41 call firemen; 105 alarm boxes and 120 hydrants; an alarm system containing 128 miles of wire, installed and maintained by the department and a fleet of modern pumpers and other motorized equipment. **[See 2002 update at end of article.)
He told of the special equipment designed to cope with fire on the outskirts of town and of the mutual fire assistance pact which Hampton has with all other towns and cities in the area. The Question and answer period evoked an interesting and profitable discussion of proper relationship between citizens and the department in matters relating to fire protection and prevention.
President Al Finan presided and the speaker was presented by Walt Vanderpool for program chairman Jack Dunfey, who could not attend. Ralph Harris acted as song leader with Glenroy Wolfsen at the piano. The speaker for next Monday evening, November 17 will be Thayer Wade, elementary school principal in Hampton.
**[Update: Hampton Fire Department's fire protection equipment & personnel in September 2002 is as follows:
47 uniformed personnel, 7 call firefighters, 287 alarm boxes, 266 hydrants, 4 pumpers, 1 ladder truck,3 ambulances, 5 staff cars, 1 fire alarm maintenance truck, 2 boats and unknown miles of wire. (Information courtesy of Fire Chief Hank Lipe.)]