Saturday, June 6, 2009


I'm not a very traditional type of guy. I know, that's a strange thing for a firefighter to admit. Firefighters are traditionally very traditional. They like those time-honoured customs. This can be a good thing, because there must be some reason why those traditions survived all those years of people trying to tear them down. It can also be a bad thing, because the world changes and even firefighters have to change with it. There is a famous quote that kind of hits the nail on the head: "The fire service: 100 years of tradition, unimpeded by progress..." You can find it on over a thousand web sites, but I got it here.

Upsala Fire Department did a very traditional thing yesterday evening. We had an awards banquet, the first one ever. Firefighters received 5, 10, and 20 year service awards. If you are wondering why it's the first time for such an important event, it has something to do with our fire department being only 22 years old. That's right. Twenty-three short years ago, Upsala fought fires with buckets. No organization, no training, just show up and bring your pail. While it wasn't the most effective way to fight the dragon, it was a great bonding experience. Nothing like standing shoulder to shoulder with your neighbours and watching someone's history and traditions go up in smoke. In 1987 we decided to depart from that tradition and get some trucks and training. Here is a good link to view other fire department traditions, if you are so inclined.

I have good reason to be wary of traditions . . . they can be hazardous to your health, as you can see from this cartoon.
Sometimes breaking away from tradition can be a lot of fun. Take the guys in this next video for example. Definitely not a traditional use for fire hose. Click here.

By the way, the awards banquet went well. Lots of food, fun and festivity. We might even make it an annual tradition.

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