The history of Rome is plagued with records of great fires that nearly destroyed the city from time to time. In order to fight these fires, Rome organized some of the first fire companies in history. The history of fighting fires dates back all the way to ancient Egypt where hand operated pumps may have been used to fight the fires. However, such attempts could be of limited value due to the possibility of large fires that could sweep through Rome and other cities. In 24 B.C., the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar what is believed to be the first fire department called the Familia Publica. It was composed of approximately 600 slaves who were stationed around the city and ordered to watch for and fight the fires. Because they were slaves, they had no interest in preserving the homes of their masters and little desire to take risks. So fires continued to be problem.
In the year 6 A.D., about 30 percent of rome burned in a very large series of fires. After the devastating loss, the emperor Augustus passed duty for firefighting to the Roman Army and instituted the Corps of Vigiles who were to protect the city of Rome and it’s empire for the next four hundred years. Augustus’s Corps of Vigiles fought fires using bucket brigades and pumps, as…show more content… With the firefighting apparatus able to only produce a small stream of water, a fire that began to gain any headway would soon get to out of control. The arriving firemen would often opt for immediate salvage efforts in the fire building and surrounding exposures. The bed key was a small metal tool that would enable the men to rapidly disassemble the wooden frame of a bed, more than likely the most expensive item owned by a family and remove it to safety. They would also grab other valuables and place them in the salvage bags and carry them to safety. This method of firefighting is now compared to salvage performed in the fire service