Of Historical Note: Diving to aid
By Lori Berkey
Westborough – The photo of this rescue apparatus was taken outside the Westborough Fire Station at 42 Milk St. Used by the department’s dive team, the equipment enables the squad to respond to emergencies in local bodies of water.
The firefighting equipment used for present-day emergencies is significantly different from equipment used during the department’s early years. According to the book, “A History of Trolleys in Westboro Cornfield Meet,” by Glenn R. Parker (edited by Jan Curley Towne), the Westborough Fire Department’s equipment previously consisted of a “horse-drawn Chauncy steamer.”
Per this book, at the turn of the century, the fire service was strictly on-call. By 1918, the first full-time firefighter was hired and the engine house was staffed around the clock. At that time, the department’s equipment consisted of “four horse-drawn pieces that were gradually replaced by motorized equipment in 1914, 1918, and 1923…”
Information about the Westborough Fire Department’s history is posted on the department’s website.
Per details there, the department built ambulance bays at the fire station in 1975 to accommodate their new responsibility of ambulance service. A rescue truck was added and became an “indispensable tool.” Power tools, including the “Jaws of Life,” which can tear through metal to free people trapped in automobiles, became available and continue to be essential.
The dive team trains in deep waters and maintains rescue certifications. The department has continued to seek state-of-the art equipment. According to the 2011 Westborough Annual Report, the Board of Selectman voted last year to support the purchase of two thermal imaging cameras.
Of Historical Note is a weekly segment of the Community Advocate that features a hidden or well-known landmark from one of our newspaper’s six communities.
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