Corbett’s and Goldfeder’s Trivia Questions and Answers–2002

Week of 12/30/02

Q: Fire apparatus have used warning lights for many years. Many might remember the enclosed Twinsonic lightbar. How did the idea of a lightbar with multiple reflectors come about? Who developed the idea?

A: Many might remember the twin beacon rays on a crossbar with a chrome siren. Earl Gossweiler, a senior engineer with Federal, noticed synchronous reflections from the chrome speaker as the beacons spun around. This is where he came up with the idea for the Twinsonic–a reflective-style enclosed lightbar.

Week of 12/23/02

Q: Federal Signal Corporation is the manufacturer of the mechanical Q siren. Where did Federal first get the idea for it?

A: Federal Signal (then Federal Enterprises) manufactured home appliances including vacuum cleaners. The noise of the vacuum cleaner gave an inventor at Federal the idea of a mechanical warning siren.

Week of 12/16/02

Q: The Chicago Fire Department has many traditions. One is that a fire apparatus display a green warning light, usually on the officer’s side of the apparatus. Why does it do that, and how did the tradition start?

A: A former CFD Commissioner was a boating enthusiast. He felt it made sense so on-scene commanders could determine the direction from which the apparatus was responding.

Week of 12/9/02

Q: Everyone has heard of the infamous “Chicago Fire” that killed 300 people. However, a more tragic fire also occurred on the same evening, killing 1200 people. Where was that fire?

A: Peshtigo, WI.

Week of 12/2/02

Q: Prior to 1870, street corner fire alarm pull boxes were kept locked. Why were they kept locked and how did a person gain access to “pull the box?”

A: They were kept locked due to false alarms. Nearby shopkeepers or beat cops carried the keys.

Week of 11/25/02

Q: How many people were killed in the Hindenburg disaster on May 6, 1937 at Lakehurst, NJ.

A: 36 lives were lost.

Week of 11/18/02

Q: Around the turn of the 20th century, this man’s research on fire streams made him one of the “fathers of fire service hydraulics.” What is his name?

A: John R. Freeman

Week of 11/11/02

Q: In terms of automatic sprinkler heads, E.S.F.R. stands for what?

A: Early Suppression Fast Response

Week of 11/4/02

Q: “Type 4” building construction is also known as?

A: Heavy timber or mill construction

Week of 10/28/02

Q: Why is the Maltese Cross the symbol of the fire service?

A: The Maltese Cross represents the ideals of saving lives and extinguishing fires. The emblem was borrowed from the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. The knights were an organization that existed in the 11th and 12th centuries that helped the poor and the sick. The Knights of St. John later assisted the Knights of the Crusades in a relief effort to the Island of Malta, the island for which the Maltese Cross was named. The Maltese Cross came to represent the principles of charity, loyalty, chivalry, generosity to friend or foe, protection of the weak and dexterity in service.

Week of 10/21/02

Q: Why are Dalmatians considered firehouse dogs?

A: In the early days of the fire service, fire trucks were horse drawn. In those days nearly every firehouse had a resident Dalmatian. The job of the Dalmatian was to direct the horses, keep the horses company and guard the firehouse. Today we do not keep horses in the fire station, but many firehouses still have a Dalmatian. The resident Dalmatian is still responsible for guarding the firehouse and the fire trucks.

Week of 10/14/02

Q: When was the first fire department organized in the United States?

A: A large fire in Boston in 1679 led to the organization of the first paid fire department in America. The city imported a fire engine from England and employed a chief and twelve firefighters. The first volunteer Fire Company was formed in Philadelphia, PA in 1736. Benjamin Franklin served as America’s First volunteer Fire Chief.

Week of 10/7/02

Q: How long have sprinkler systems been in use?

A: Fire sprinkler systems have been putting out fires since 1860. Although there have been some design improvements, the basic technology has remained the same for over 130 years. Most recently, fire sprinklers have started to appear in single family homes.

Week of 9/30/02

Q: Where do Fire Poles come from?

A: Captain David Kenyon of the Chicago Fire Department invented fire poles in 1878. Fire poles have fallen out of favor in recent years due to injuries. Many fire stations built today are single story structures that do not utilize fire poles.

Week of 9/23/02

Q: Why do we commemorate Fire Prevention Week?

A: Fire Prevention Week has its roots in the Great Chicago Fire. The fire occurred on October 9.1871. It killed 300 people and left 100,000 homeless.

Week of 9/2/02

Q: Where did the landmark Hoboken, New Jersey passenger ship fire of June 30, 1900 start, resulting in at least 326 deaths?

A: In bales of cotton along Pier 3 of the North German Lloyd Line.

Week of 8/26/02

Q: What forcible entry tool that had a fork and claw could be considered the predecessor of the Halligan tool?

A: The Hayward Lock Breaker and Door Opener.

Week of 8/19/02

Q: What “code” song did the band play to alert circus workers that a fire had started at the Hartford Circus Fire of 1944?

A: The Stars and Stripes Forever

Week of 8/12/02

Q: NFPA 25 is known as what standard?

A: “Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.”

Week of 8/5/02

Q: New York City (Manhattan) creted its paid fire department in what year? What its original name?

A: 1865. The Metropolitan Fire Department

Week of 7/29/02

Q: By what other French name is a scaling ladder known?

A: Pompier ladder.

Week of 7/22/02

Q: When annually testing a section of hard suction (sleeve) hose, under what “negative” pressure conditions should it be subjected?

A: A vacuum of 22 inches of mercury for ten minutes.

Week of 7/15/02

Q: What is the common name for Type III construction?

A: Ordinary construction.

Week of 7/8/02

Q: Where and when was the first insurance company-based paid “fire patrol” created?

A: New York in 1839. It continues to this day.

Week of 6/10/02

Q: What was FDNY’s Super Pumper flow capacity while operating at 350 psig (in parallel)?

A: 8,800 gpm

Week of 6/3/02

Q: The Brazilian Joelma high-rise fire of February, 1974 killed how many office workers?

A: 179

Week of 5/27

Q: Which has an “operating lever+–the Baker of the Hart cellar pipe?

A: Baker cellar pipe

Week of 5/20

Q: The first leather fire helmet with long rear brim and frontispiece for identification was developed by what NYC volulnteer firefighter?

A: Henry T. Gratacap

Week of 4/1/02

Q: What was the name of the building in which the Traingle Shirtwaist Fire occurred in 1911?

A: The Asch Building

Week of 3/25/02

Q: Who was the inventor of the first American steam fire engine?

A: Paul Hodge (no relation to Peter Hodge of FDIC).

Week of 3/18/02

Q: Where did the fire begin at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston in 1942?

A: The basement (Melody Lounge)

Week of 3/11/02

Q: What was Fire Engineeering Editor Wooley’s first name and middle initial (spelling counts!)?


Week of 3/4/02

Q: In the hit TV show of the ’70s “Emergency!” what were the names of the paramedics?

A: Johnny Gage and Roy De Soto

Week of 2/25/02

Q: Approximately how many buildings were destroyed in the great San Francisco earthquake and fire in 1906?

A: 28,000

Week of 2/18/02

Q: Who was the halligan named after?

A: FDNY member Hugh Halligan, who invented the tool.

Week of 2/11/02

Q: What was the original name of Fire Engineering, which was first published in 1877?

A: National Fireman’s Journal

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