The Blair Fire Department was formed in March of 1870, the original 13 members met with the City Council and requested that the city provide 13 fire buckets for use in case of a fire in Blair. The first building to house equipment was built in 1873. The January of 1886, Hose Cart No. 1 was formed to upgrade the fire department with a reel of hose on a cart that was pulled to the fire by members of the fire department. A second hose company was established and the members would race to a fire.
A cistern system was established to provide a source of water to fight fires. Hose carts were used until the first fire trucks were purchased in 1927. A 1927 GMC Pumper and a 1926 GMC Hose Truck were purchased. These two fire trucks are still owned by the Blair Fire Department and have been restored for parades. In 1964 the Fire Department was asked to form a Rescue Squad to provide emergency response for accidents and medical emergencies.
Today the Blair Fire & Rescue Department consists of 55 members operating out of two fire stations to provide protection for the City of Blair and the surrounding rural area. The department responds to over 700 fire & rescue calls a year. The Department holds its business meeting on the first Thursday of each month. The second Thursday is for rescue drill and the other Thursdays are for fire drills. During the past year, the Fire Department responded to 784 calls.
It takes a lot of dedication and work to be a part of the fire department and rescue squad. We conduct fire drills for the senior citizens’ homes, schools and any business that desires one. We present fire prevention classes for all of the Blair Schools as well as day care facilities in Blair.
Each June we hold an annual Street Dance to provide an opportunity for any of the Blair Citizens to come and meet with and celebrate the Gateway to West Parade with the members of the fire & rescue department. Santa visits the fire hall every year to take input from all who visit s to what presents are required during the Christmas season. The department provides free in home smoke detectors to anyone in need and will install them as well.
The department has a long, proud history of service to the citizens of Blair, Nebraska. Morning, noon and night; spring, summer, fall and winter; rain or shine, snow, sleet and ice; holidays, school programs, birthdays, funerals, church services, and weddings – all can and are interrupted by the sound of the pager notifying the members of the department of an emergency that requires they leave their families, their celebrations, jobs and warm beds to go help their fellow man with a problem.
Just the Facts
Benjamin Franklin founded this country's first volunteer fire department in 1736 in Philadelphia, Pennsilvania. He also became its first volunteer fire chief.
Volunteer Fire Fighters comprise 69% of all the fire fighters across the United States. Of the newarly 31,000 fire departments in the United States, over 21,000 are comprised of all colunteers saving the localities an estimated $37 billion per year. Over the past 25 years, volunteer membership has dropped nearly 8% while the volume of calls continues to increase.
According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, the cost to train, and equip a new firefighter costs approximately $27,000, much of which has to be raised through local fundraising activities.