"Voluntary firefighting is a leveling activity, same as contra dancing and voting. Success comes through equality."
Independent citizens as firefighters
was a new idea...
Ordinary people were thrust into dramatic events in early America. Firemen became a new type of hero that was watched by the rest of the town. They chose this dangerous service for the wellbeing of the community. Firemen were exempt from some taxes and other obligations. All citizens were expected to contribute to the new nation in some way. Firemen did their duty on Main Street, as symbols of the new American citizen. Artists recorded their heroics and outfitted the firefighters with elegant attire and equipment.