Fire Ireland
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Dublin Fire Brigade 150th Year Page

150 Years of Courage

2 commemorative medals presented to retired and present members of the Dublin Fire Brigade, Left hand side is the 100th Anniversary of the DFB Ambulance Service and Right is the 150th Anniversary Medal of the Dublin Fire Brigade

How Dublin Fire Brigade has made our city one of the safest in the world

Dublin Fire Brigade emergency crews have made the city one of the safest places on earth to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Deputy Chief Fire Officer Richard Hedderman said Dublin ranks alongside Winnipeg in Canada, with the fastest response times for getting paramedic care to victims. The city's fire and ambulance service is being improved to counter a whole range of risks and dangers as it celebrates its 150th anniversary this weekend.

Mr Hedderman (54) said there are 125 emergency personnel on duty in the city at any time. Heart attack or stroke victims can get help in as little as three to five minutes. More than 800 firefighters are employed and they also fulfil ambulance duties. There are 30 advanced paramedics who can intubate airways, insert IV lines, and give certain drugs at the scene of an incident.

Ambulances dispatched to road crashes are usually accompanied by a fire engine which will have an advanced paramedic on board. The overall result has been many more lives are being saved than in the past, he said. The fire service is also working to prevent loss of life by training sports clubs and other organisation in the use of AED defibrillators, which enable victims to be resuscitated. Mr Hedderman said brigade members can can feel justifiably proud of 150 years service to the people of the city. In recent years there have been many innovations in training to enable crews to tackle a wider range of situations.

These include:

Swift Water Rescues, which enable specially trained personnel to save the lives of people who fall or jump into rivers;

High Line Rescues -- these involve trained crews with the capability of going to the assistance of people such as crane operators taken ill in their cabs more than 100ft above the ground. Crews are trained to remove a victim and lower them to the ground to get medical help;

Tunnel rescues -- with the opening of the Port Tunnel, more than 200 staff have undergone training in Switzerland for fighting blazes in road tunnels. "Our workforce is very flexible and very proud of their role. We also have major emergency frameworks involving other agencies which allow us to meet major challenges," Mr Hedderman said.

He spent several years in the frontline of fighting fires and medical emergencies before rising into senior leadership roles. "Through all the years, the most upsetting part of our job has been responding to accidents involving the death of a child. It is always very difficult. But also, the successful rescue of a child or being able to save someone and see them being able to walk around later is a great source of satisfaction," he said.

Dublin Lord Mayor Andrew Montague presented 150th anniversary commemoration medals to 700 fire brigade staff last night. The Lord Mayor told the Herald: "We need to remember the bravery and commitment of the people in Dublin's fire service over the past 150 years. "It's a very tough and demanding job when they put their lives at risk and I would like to thank them for that on behalf of all the people of Dublin."

Alan O'Keeffe /

City fire brigade honour proud history of saving lives

A glorious record of 150 years of saving lives and property will be celebrated by Dublin Fire Brigade this weekend. A century and a half of courage and caring in the city will be marked by a parade, band performances, and events involving veterans and serving members of the brigade.

Some 200 firefighters from other countries will arrive in Ireland to pay tribute. A 1921 Leyland fire truck, which was used in Michael Collins' funeral procession, was restored to pristine condition and a replica 1898 horse-drawn ambulance has been built from scratch to mark the anniversary. The anniversary parade will take place on Saturday, beginning at 6pm at Parnell Square. The parade, with a large number of international bands and marchers, will make its way through the city centre to Dublin Castle where members and retired personnel will salute President Michael D Higgins and Lord Mayor Andrew Montague at 6.45pm.

A brigade guard of honour will be provided and their pipes and drums band will perform a Tattoo in the courtyard of the castle at the event. On Sunday, 12 international fire brigade bands will join Dublin Fire Brigade's pipers and drummers for a band medley performance at Croke Park stadium during the Leinster Football Championships Quarter Finals. The visiting bands will include musicians from Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Palm Beach and other US communities as well as delegations from The Netherlands, Northern Ireland, and around the country.

The anniversary will be acknowledged nationally when An Post issue four commemorative stamps at the end of June. The current fire service began with 24 men in 1862 with a fire station off Wine Tavern Street. The service was enhanced in 1898 with the beginning of a professional horse-drawn emergency ambulance service. Dublin Fire Brigade now protects the lives and property of 1.5 million people with 1,000 staff.

Each year they respond to some 90,000 emergency calls concerning fires, accidents, medical emergencies and rescue missions.
                                                                   / Alan O'Keeffe Evening Herald                  

Tragedies that tested our heroes

The deaths of 48 young people in the Stardust nightclub is seared in the memory of every Dubliner. For Dublin Fire Brigade and ambulance crews arriving at the scene of the massive disco blaze on St Valentine's Night, it represented a horror beyond belief. More than 800 young people had attended the disco in the Stardust in the early hours of February 14, 1981. The fire broke out at about 1.45am and engulfed the hall so quickly that when the DFB arrived minutes later, it was beyond control.

They had to battle an inferno and poisonous fumes to rescue the dead, the dying and the injured. The events that unfolded that night reverberate still, with the families of the dead campaigning for justice over the decades. The massive loss of life had a devastating effect on the communities of Artane, Coolock and Raheny. The tragedy prompted a major overhaul of the emergency services and led to Tribunal recommendations on fire protection and legislation, among others. The aim was to prevent another tragedy on the scale of the Artane fire ever happening again.

MASS murder came to Dublin on May 17, 1974, stretching the Fire Brigade and emergency services to the limit. The Northern Troubles were under way and Dublin had experienced deaths from bombings on December 1, 1972, when two bus workers were killed in Sackville Place by a car bomb.Dozens were injured at Liberty Hall after another device went off.

The following month a car bomb in Sackville Place, killing another bus worker. Nothing, however, could have prepared firefighter and ambulance personnel for the carnage when three no-warning car bombs exploded in the city on a busy Friday afternoon -- 26 people, including an unborn baby, lost their lives when the bombs exploded at Talbot Street, Parnell Street and South Leinster Street on May 17, 1974. Firemen racing to the scenes found that many of the bodies were blasted beyond recognition.

Every available vehicle, including buses and civilian cars, were used to ferry the injured to Dublin hospitals where medical staff were overwhelmed by the numbers wounded. 

Evening Herald /      

The Bands

Philadelphia Police & Fire Pipes & Drums

Brevard County Police & Fire Pipes & Drums, Florida USA

Greater Baltimore & Palm Beach County Pipes & Drums

The Parade

Dublin v Louth Half Time Croke Park

Dublin Fire Brigade Pipes & Drums along with Pipes & Drums from the United States on the pitch at half time at the Dublin v Louth game on Sunday 3rd June


DFB 150 Years medal ceremony to Swords, Skerries & Balbriggan Stations

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