Springfield, Mo. -- (9/7/17) Springfield's newest fire apparatus, Rescue Company 1, will officially be put into service September 8th following a traditional ceremony dating back to the late 1800's.
A longstanding tradition in the fire service, the “wet-down”, is a ceremonial process in which firefighters officially place into service a new fire apparatus by anointing it with water sprayed from the retiring unit. This ritual dates back to the late 1800’s when horse drawn pumpers were used throughout the nations fire service. After being called to duty and extinguishing the flames, firefighters would return to the station tired and with a dirty fire engine. The community that lived in the neighborhood around the station would come out and help wash the engine and the horses. They would then help push the engine back into the station. It was about more than just cleaning the equipment, it was about community pride and ownership of their fire station.
Today, many fire departments celebrate this tradition, although slightly modified. After being wet down and dried, community leaders and members symbolically “push” the apparatus back into the station, with the help of the apparatus slowly rolling backwards into the station under power.
Rescue 1 will be put into service with a similar "wet-down" ceremony on Friday, September 8th at 2pm at Fire Station 1 located at 720 E. Grand. Members of the media, surrounding neighborhoods and interested members of the community are welcome to attend.