HOSE CART RACES
The hose cart race is one of the competitions. In the 1800s, pumper companies delivered water to fight those old-time fires, but not without hose companies arriving on the scene, too. Firemen of both companies raced through narrow streets, their high-wheeled equipment in tow to reach the burning building and prevent the fire from spreading. The hose cart races reenact those scenes from the last century, but now the competition is only against the clock.
There are two separate contests, men's and women's. In each, six people run their hose cart beyond the target to a nozzle platform. One team member connects the hose to the hydrant while two others attach the nozzle, take aim at the target, and pray for a steady hand and the best time to give them a first place.
|Sonora Volunteer Fire Department Hose Cart|
BUCKET BRIGADE COMPETITION
So, where's the water? The convenient hydrants that dot modern sidewalks weren't always there. Firemen had to take water from creeks, cisterns or any other available sources, then get it to the pumper which could be a distance away. For many years men used buckets and passed them hand-over-hand to keep the tank filled. Success of the bucket brigade was measured in speed and endurance.
In today's competitions, teams of five firemen or women make up the bucket brigade. They form a line twenty feet long between a "dip tank" and a "dump tank," then at a signal they try to be the first team to pass fifty gallons of water from the source to the empty tank. Look out for the sloshing frenzy. In the end one team comes up soaked and winning...and bushed.
|Bucket Brigade Competition|
MOTORIZED PUMPER AND HOSEWAGON COMPETITIONS
Now it's 1918. Imagine six firemen sitting at a firehouse. An alarm sounds, they leap to their rigs, turn over their engines, start the sirens and hit the lights, then speed out the firehouse door. At the fire, they connect the hose to the hydrant, run the hose out to its full length and connect to additional hose. The crew aims the nozzle and the line leaps in their hands as water spurts onto the fire.
The muster recreates the urgency and demonstrates these early firefighting skills. At the muster there's no fire to extinguish. Instead, the competing teams jump on their trucks, race to the end of the track and knock down a target with a blast of water to stop the clock and beat their opponents' time. Even without the threat of fire, excitement and tension charge the crowd and everyone gets caught up in the proud moment of victory.
|Mortorized Fire Truck Competition, Fairfield Fire Department|
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