Salem’s firefighters have long struggled to save life and property from structural fires and wildfires. This interactive, family-friendly exhibit will explore the history of the Salem Fire Department—from the first bucket brigades to today’s modern fire trucks—along with some of the homes and other structures that have caught fire throughout Salem’s history. Aspiring firefighters can try on the gear that firefighters wear to keep them safe in the worst situations. The Salem Fire-EMS Department dates back to 1854. The exhibit will share the department’s history as well as the advances in fire-fighting equipment technology. Significant fires from Salem’s past, such as Longwood Mansion and Salem High School, will be included.
The exhibit also documents the changes that the Virginia Department of Forestry, with its office in Salem, has undergone over the years. Rangers no longer wait in towers scanning the horizon for smoke in the forests surrounding Salem. Techniques and technology to detect and battle wildfires have become increasingly sophisticated. Smokey Bear, the national mascot for wildfire prevention, is celebrating his 75th birthday this year, and is also featured.
Cover photo via Salem Fire-EMS Department