Pat Shingleton: "Stand Pipes, Fire Plugs and Hydrants..."
In the early days of firefighting, getting the wet stuff onto the red stuff was a task. Bucket brigades were recognized as the best method of firefighting and “stand pipes” were positioned and attached to the municipal water systems. Freezing weather became an obstacle to fight the fire and to prevent a frozen line, traditional fire plugs were covered with manure, tanbark or straw. As the "stand pipe" advanced to the "fire plug" and later evolved to the hydrant, above ground nozzles were configured to avoid mud, snow and ice. Due to snow accumulations and the need to identify the location of the hydrant, an antenna, attached to a hydrant provides a sighting for firefighters in case of heavy snowfall. Years ago, we shoveled snow from sidewalks and driveways as it was also our responsibility to clear the snow from the hydrant on our property. Finally, strange weather occurrences for early February include some reddish snow that fell on central France on February 10, 1869. Many thought the snow was colored by blood while a similar event happened on February 13, 1870 with an episode of red rain hitting Isle-sur-Serein, France on October 30, 1926. Red dust from the Sahara Desert was the culprit. On February 10, 1998, lightning ran through a mailbox post into the fingers, down the arm and through the elbow of a mail carrier in Colfax, LA. She received severe burns while her arm was resting on her car. February 9, 1994 is remembered as the worst ice storm since 1951 for the state of Mississippi. Three to six inches of ice over the northern sections of the state and downed 8,000 power poles over 4,700 miles of power lines. More than 750,000 customers were without power for a month with $1.3 billion in damage.
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