The first organized volunteer firefighting service has a rich history dating back to early Eighteenth century in Boston. In 1711 the Mutual Fire Societies was formed to combat the ever growing presence of destructive fires in the fast growing English Colonies. The early group of volunteers was described by Benjamin Franklin, a prominent volunteer firefighter, as “a club or society of active men belonging to each fire engine, whose business is to attend all fires with it whenever they happen.” The premise was simple, when fire emerged from a member of the Mutual Fire Society’s dwelling, other members of the club mobilized into organized units to battle the blaze. Each society had approximately twenty members and is credited with being the first volunteer brigade of firefighters. As residents sought further protection from fire, statesman such as Franklin took notice. Franklin’s progressive thought aimed to provide whole communities the advantage of protecting all the property of the community. Formed in Philadelphia, each group of volunteers banded together in small groups of 30. The demographics of group volunteers represented the diversity that the city was experiencing in the early 1700s, consisting of professionals, merchants, and trades people. The volunteer departments paid for their own equipment and placed it in advantageous places close to a source of water and other firefighting infrastructure. All groups were aligned with protecting their collective interests in the community and staffing was adequate.
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