08/13/08 189 W - + 10 - 8 History Bits


Night watch was discontinued in the Raleigh Fire Department on September 5, 1944 at 6:00 p.m., as ordered by Chief Butts. That is, "overnight" night watch was discontinued. The new schedule for keeping watch was 7:55 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. each day, with one person on the engine room floor at all times between 7:55 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. During that same year, one person was assigned boiler duty per day during winter months. At Station 5, for example, the boiler was operated from October 30, 1944 to March 17, 1945. Also during these years, personnel were detailed to entertainment events to perform fire watch. Such as State College to work a basketball game on February 18, 1947. Or for assorted events at Memorial Auditorium. Some of the service calls answered during the decade included replacing light bulbs. In 1949, for example, Truck 6 was sent to State College as well as at a church or two. The logs from that year also note that Engine 6 had a windshield installed on October 26, 1949. The work was done at the shop at Station 2, at Memorial Auditorium. They operated a 1926 American LaFrance Type 75 pumper.



RDU had ‘radio watch’ when we first started 24-hour shifts during the early 80s. One person was required to be up and monitoring the radios from 2300 to 0700. It was divided up amongst the 4-5 personnel on duty. Prior to that, we worked 12-hour shifts and were expected to stay up all night. Which was pretty ‘fun’, considering that-

-Channels 5, 11, and 28 all went off the air at 0100, 0100, and 0200 respectively. Channel 4 went off at 2300.
-The last commercial flight arrived somewhere around 2330 and all of the airline personnel were gone by 0100.
-There were only a handful of 24 hour radio stations on back then, including WPTF, WQDR, WRAL, and WRDU. Of course, we could pull in AM stations from Richmond, Charlotte, and Atlanta.

I don’t know if they still keep the logs at RDU like we kept back then.
DJ (Web Site) - 08/13/08 - 19:21

No logs anymore….I can say this, I think I like the “watch” concept. I’ve worked for both; a department that didn’t have a dedicated watch and one that does. The good thing, on those sleepy Sundays when someone comes by for directions, there’s no debate about who has to handle it. The bad…being that guy when everyone else is tucked in the rack!!!
Silver (Email) - 08/15/08 - 19:11



  
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