| A Tribute to the Past
| About Us
| CPSC Recalls
| Call History
| Contact Us
| Fire Glossary
| Join the Fire Dept.
| Looking For a Hobby?
| Online Store
| The Fallen
|WHAT IS A FIRE MARK|
What is a "Fire mark"?
Over a hundred years ago, this was a round (or other shape) iron, copper or lead emblem that was usually placed, on the wall, near the front door of a structure. It denoted the insurance company who had a policy on that property. It was usually made of enough metal to be able to withstand a fire.
The earliest fire marks may have been created soon after the Great Fire of London in 1666. After this fire, London created an insurance system and "fire companies". Once you paid your insurance and affixed the fire mark to your structure, you would have the services of one of the city charted companies. Fire marks (insurance company marks) were used in the U.S. from about 1750 to around 1900.
In the early days of the U. S., there were no municipal fire departments. Fire brigades were sometimes either owned, or paid, by insurance companies (or assurance companies) or supported by the community. Some stories tell that in some communities the fire brigade only responded to protect the property of those who had the insurance who owned this fire brigade. In other cities the fire brigades might have been independent companies. The story you hear, tells of the money going to the fire brigade who was successful in staking a claim on the property, which was on fire. One method of claiming a structure was to place a ladder on it. The first company to do so was allowed to fight the fire and was therefore paid by the insurance company. As you can imagine, there were problems with this system. Fire companies would have people whose main job it was to (A) ladder the building and (B) prevent the other company from doing so. There are many, apocryphal, stories of different fire brigades being involved in fist fights, in the front yard, while the structure burned.
But the thought that a burning home, with no fire mark, was left to burn, was probably not true. In fact, in the U.S., there is no evidence to support this belief. Volunteer fire departments were supported by community donations and many other sources of revenue. The insurance company's fire mark was possibly more of an indication of a "reward" for saving a particular structure, if anything other than advertising. For this reason one might hear of fire companies fighting over who would be allowed to fight a fire. Not all insurance companies paid a reward, but some may have. Much like today, some insurance companies simply donated money to the local volunteer fire departments. Only about one in ten insurance companies ever issued fire marks, so their value, or purpose, remains unclear. It is possible that a fire mark would have a different purpose or meaning depending upon the insurance company, the community, or the insured.
Print this page
May 14, 2013 : Albert Nejmeh, Firefighter - Tacoma, WA
May 08, 2013 : Brian Woehlke, Firefighter - Westland, MI
May 06, 2013 : Stanley Martin Jr., Assistant Fire Chief - Eutaw, AL
May 05, 2013 : Daniel Davidson, Firefighter - Cloudcroft, NM
May 02, 2013 : Gene Kirchner, Firefighter - Towson, MD
April 29, 2013 : Dale Queen, Firefighter - Hartselle, AL
April 27, 2013 : Rodney Miller, Fire Chief - Loganville, PA
April 17, 2013 : Cody Dragoo , Firefighter - West, TX
April 17, 2013 : Morris Bridges, Firefighter - West, TX
April 17, 2013 : Joseph Pustejousky, Firefighter - West, TX
|SPRING FIRE SAFETY|
As spring approaches thoughts turn to cleaning up from the long winter, making repairs around the home and enjoying the outdoors. Keeping a few safety thoughts in mind will help you make your spring experience much more enjoyable.
Inside the Home:
- Check and clean your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
- Check your fire extinguishers
- Check for overloaded or damaged extension cords
- Prepare for storm related outages (make sure your flashlights and portable radios have batteries and that other supplies, such as bottled water, are stocked and available)
- Practice exit drills with your family so everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency
- Properly store household chemicals and never mix cleaning agents
Outside and Around the Yard:
- Make sure your address numbers are up and visible from the street
- Clean up yard debris. Cut back dead limbs and grasses
- Maintain a clear 'fire zone' of 10' around structures. Clean up leaves and debris and consider using stone or non-combustible mulches
- Check outdoor electrical outlets and other electrical appliances
- Get your grill cleaned and serviced. Check all propane tanks and lines for leaks and damage
- Keep 100' of garden hose with an attached nozzle connected and ready for use
In the Garage or Shed:
- Clean up and properly store paints, pool and yard chemicals
- Check fuels containers for leaks and make sure they are properly stored
- Have all power equipment cleaned, serviced and readied for use
The Whitney-Hostetter FD would also like to remind everyone to check with Unity Township @ www.unitytownship.org on specific ordianances such as open burning and address markings for homes and businesses!!!