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ISBN: SWDDFF
Devon Firefighter
Devon Firefighter
  • Description
The twentieth century saw fundamental change in Devon, transformed from agricultural shire to diverse modern county. These changes have been reflected in the way Devonians have sought to protect themselves from fire. In earlier times, many country towns were devastated by fires that tore through their thatch and cob and razed whole streets to the ground. Organised fire protection started after the Fire of London with the requirement that each parish should maintain equipment and appliances for the quenching of fires. Usually, this amounted to no more than a few leather buckets and a 'preventer' a long-handled hook for the pulling down of thatch. In the nineteenth century, some towns acquired insurance company fire brigades, equipped with manual engines, hose and horses, with trained firefighters. The Royal Humane Society also provided escape ladders and watchmen. The 1894 Local Government Act established Parish and Town councils who became responsible for fire protection; by the end of WWI most Devon towns had a brigade of some sort. It was the Second World War, bringing fire and destruction on a scale hitherto unknown, which led to a radical reform of the fire service. The Luftwaffe raids on Plymouth and Exeter brought about great acts of valour and endurance by hard-pressed firefighters. The need for reform in the face of almost overwhelming destructive forces gave rise, in 1943, to the National Fire Service, followed by the formation of city and county brigades in 1948, from which time Devon County Fire Brigade operated alongside the Plymouth and Exeter city brigades. The 1973 reorganisation of local government saw the amalgamation of these three brigades to form the Devon Fire Brigade, subsequently the Devon Fire and Rescue Service. Today, Devon has one of the most progressive and best-equipped fire and rescue services in Britain, successfully meeting risks and challenges undreamed of by the parish pump-men of old. (ISBN 1855227606, hardback, 210x297mm, 176 pages).
 
 
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