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(STILLWATER, OK) — The Stillwater Fire Department dedicated two new fire engines on Friday, Oct. 13 with a wetdown ceremony, an old fire-fighting tradition celebrated by departments across the country and revived by SFD in 2013.
“Today is a day that fills us with extreme excitement and pride as we gather together to celebrate a long-awaited addition to our firefighting family, these two engines,” Fire Chief Terry Essary said. “They are symbols of our steadfast commitment to providing the highest level of fire protection for our community.”
The ceremony has two parts: the “wetting down” and the “push back.” Firefighters spray the equipment being put into service with water from a fire hose, usually from the hose line of the rig being replaced to signify the change-over. Then they dry it by hand and push it back into the station with the help of representatives from the community and other fire departments.
These practices harken back to the late 1800s, when fire departments used horse drawn equipment and the horses and wagons had to be washed down before the pumpers were manually pushed back into the station.
“This wet down ceremony is not just about welcoming a piece of machinery, it’s about celebrating the dedication and unwavering commitment of the men and women who stand behind and alongside this equipment,” Essary said.
One of the new Pierce engines will be housed at Station 3 and the other will be housed at Station 4. Essary said the public might notice the bodies of the new engines have more red on them, selected from 245 possible shades of red. But he assured the people assembled that it’s, “Stillwater red, not crimson.” The hue is a nod to Stillwater’s original red fire wagons and the City’s first motorized fire engines.
He thanked the SFD committee that designed and selected the engines.
“They went through every square inch of this design and built it with purpose,” Essary said. “And, that purpose is to save lives and protect property.”
Mayor Will Joyce thanked Stillwater’s firefighters for their dedication to the community and the work the committee put into developing the specifications for the new engines. He also thanked those at the county, state and federal levels who support emergency services.
“It’s calming to know that when an emergency occurs, our firefighters here in Stillwater have the necessary life-saving equipment for our community,” Mayor Joyce said. “Their unwavering dedication to help save lives is heroic to say the least.”
Pictured Left to Right: Councilor Tim Hardin, Rep. John Talley, Rep. Trish Ranson, Chief Terry Essary, Councilor Kevin Clark, Mayor Will Joyce, Councilor Christie Hawkins, Asst. Chief Brandon Halcomb
Stillwater Firefighter wetting down one of the new engines as part of the traditional ceremony.
Stillwater Firefighters dry off one of the new engines as part of the traditional ceremony.