Before fire trucks, there were horse-drawn carriages. One of the most effective fire-fighting tools in the middle of the 18th century was the steam pumper- a machine that consisted of a boiler that was able to use steam to force water out of hoses and onto a fire. The fire brigade’s horse-drawn carriages would be loaded up with the machine, the horses would be hitched up, and the vehicle would tear off down the road.
When fire fighters were racing off to fight the flames, they didn’t have time for the horses to spook nor to slow down for all the pedestrians in the road, which is where the Dalmatians came in…
In this episode of Today I Found Out, Simon Whistler explains why dalmatians are the traditional dog breed of choice at fire stations.
Related listening with VPR’s But Why podcast for kids: Why is Fire Orange? Philadelphia firefighter Lisa Desamour answers kid questions.Next, some evolution: Why do dogs bark? Plus, more awesome fire fighters.