Traditional Push-in Ceremony Officially Puts New Fire Engine into Service

What’s a Fire Service ‘Push-in Ceremony’? Watch this video and check out these photos of this long-time tradition.

By Stephen Dries, Firefighter Paramedic, sdries@stcharlesil.gov

The Fire Department is very excited to put a new fire engine into service at Station 3. The fire engine is the first of three to be purchased over the next three years. It took a committee of 8 fire officers and firefighters over two years to spec and design the fire engine that was built by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisconsin. It took 10 months for Pierce to build our new fire engine that has many of the same safety features as a new car including front and side airbags in the cab, ABS brakes, traction control, roll stability control, independent front suspension and an air ride rear suspension. Our fire engine seats four firefighters, carries 3325 feet of hose, has a 750 gallon water tank, pumps 1500 gallons of water per minute, has 40 gallons of foam and carries three different size ladders. The fire engine also has GPS tracking that enhances responses to emergencies.

The services that the Fire Department provides have changed significantly over the last 20 years. The fire engine has become a multi-purpose emergency vehicle capable of mitigating a variety of emergencies besides fires. The fire engines are now staffed with paramedics and their needed medical equipment, rescue tools including the Jaws of Life, water rescue gear, power saws, large fans to exhaust smoke and toxic gases. A computer is mounted in the cab for use by the fire officer to improve communications, and has a variety of resources available to assist the fire officer. In addition, the fire engine now has dedicated hoses and adapters for fires in high-rises and large commercial buildings.

The committee worked to strategically locate the equipment on the fire engine so the firefighters can work efficiently. Some of the improvements were to locate the paramedic equipment in compartments in the cab with easy access from the exterior & interior of the fire engine. This improved the fire hose storage in the front bumper. The compartments have roll-up doors, pull-out tool boards and shelves to improve the accessibility of tools and equipment. The pre-connected hoses and the pump panel are now in compartments to protect them from the elements.

Each fire engine has a service life of 20 years and the Fire Department allocates money every year into an apparatus replacement fund for the service life of each fire engine in order to pay for its replacement in full at the time of purchase. The bodies of our fire engines are made from aluminum and stainless steel, keeping our fire engines looking their best for 20 years. A clean & shiny fire engine is a symbol of pride and professionalism.

About the Traditional Fire Service “Push-In Ceremony”

The Push-In Ceremony is a tradition that dates back to the late 1800s when fire departments used hand-drawn pumpers and horse-drawn equipment. Upon returning to the station after a fire call, the horses could not easily back the equipment into the station. So they were disconnected from the fire equipment and firefighters would push the equipment back in to the bays themselves.