The year 1882 was a landmark year for the City of Jackson’s Fire Department. On March 7, the citizens met at the courthouse to discuss the need for an organized fire company and improved fire fighting equipment. It was this meeting that led to a special meeting of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen to begin immediate means of an improved fire protection for the city. This led to the purchase of new equipment, more water cisterns being built in strategic areas around the city, an alarm system, and the organization of the Fire Department. On March 15, 1882, the Jackson Volunteer Fire Department was created by an ordinance; and in early 1893, the city established a paid Fire Department.
July 1, 1885, was a milestone in the history of fire prevention for the City of Jackson with the completion of the long-awaited water works. Fire hydrants were placed on most street corners within the fire limits of the city providing 80 pounds of pressure, which eliminated the need to hand-pump water at fire sites. In this same year, the City Council bought four hose carts and 500 feet of hose, and new hose reel houses were built and placed throughout the city. Volunteers who lived near the hose houses could quickly respond with their hose reel and hook it to the hydrant closest to the fires. On November 6th, the City’s Fire and Water Works Committee sold the hand water engine and purchased more fire hoses and reels, which marked the end of pumping water by hand in the City of Jackson.
In 1912, the City of Jackson bought an American LaFrance Pumping Machine for nine thousand dollars. The city purchased the first motorized firefighting apparatus for Jackson that was also the first in the State of Tennessee. In 1923, when the City of Jackson observed its centennial year, the Fire Department consisted of the 1912 pumping engine, a 1918 White pumping engine and a Ford Model T automobile chemical/ladder wagon. The Fire Department built this apparatus in 1921 by extending the frame of the Model T and attaching a horse-drawn wagon.
With Jackson becoming a city and the increase of population and city land size, the demand increased for better fire protection. As the city expanded northward, the need and completion of another Fire Station with equipment opened March 2, 1925. The increase of train traffic and the growth of the city eastward also caused an increased problem of trains blocking stations and equipment that brought about the opening of Fire Station #3 on May 18, 1949.
The 1970s created the increased need for more efficient communications and dispatching of emergency equipment. The Communications Division appointed the first full-time dispatchers who implemented an improved system of dispatching. The fire department was brought from the horse drawn equipment to the most modern versatile firefighting apparatus.
The Jackson Fire Department has grown far beyond its historical role established over 100 years ago. Today, in addition to fire suppression and emergency medical response, firefighters are trained in water rescue, hazardous materials response, and confined space and rope rescue. The Rescue Squad was formed in 1989 and is trained in the use of special rescue equipment with special focus in rescuing trapped motorists after accidents.
The pictures above were taken from Jackson Fire Department: A History of Success. This pictorial history of the Jackson Fire Department is available for purchase (see below).
With continual training and the use of modern equipment, the goal of they department is to provide the finest possible service 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. The Jackson Fire Department strives to improve in Fire Suppression, Technological Rescue, Vehicle Extraction, and Hazardous Materials. The department offers service personnel complete and progressive training required to perform the job they are entrusted to—the protection of the lives and property of the citizens they serve. The staff monitors the activities of the state organizations to stay abreast of mandated changes in training and certification requirements.