By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Stillwater Fire Department welcomed a new rescue truck to its fleet by reviving an old tradition — the wet-down ceremony.
Firemen sprayed the new vehicle down with water, hand pushed it back into station No. 1 and then dried it off with rags.
The ceremony was done to officially welcome the new rescue truck to service.
Capt. Todd Jones said the ceremony originates from the east coast fire departments of the mid 1800s.
When the departments received a new pumper, firemen would unhitch the horses and transfer the water in the old pumper to the new one.
Firemen would then have to push the pumper back into the station. The modern wet-down ceremony is meant to echo this, Jones said.
This is the first vehicle in the department’s fleet to receive the wet-down ceremony. Fire administrators have decided to revive the tradition for all new vehicles.
“We like to stay traditional, it’s what we’re known for,” Jones said, noting that many of the department’s firefighters have old-fashioned leather helmets.
The new rescue vehicle was purchased and customized for $323,000. The 420-horsepower truck is used mainly for rescuing people from car wrecks. Jones said it is equipped with a 3,000-watt telescopic light tower, LED lights, hydraulic generator and convenient cutter/spreader tools stashed in the front bumper for quick access.
The truck is also equipped with improved protection from rollovers, acoustic floor mats for a quieter ride and a communication system so firemen can hear dispatchers.