The Salisbury Fire Department has a long history (though there are some missing chapters) that is marked by faithfulness to duty and outstanding progress. Salisbury's first fire company was formed December 8, 1817.
The first organized firefighting company was in 1855 with the formation of Salisbury Vigilante Fire Company. The formal organization of the Salisbury Fire Department took place 22 years later in 1877.
The first steam pumper was purchased for $5,500.00 in 1908 and 4 years later, our first motorized vehicle was bought. This was a hose wagon. In 1912, a public fire alarm box system was installed with 20 fire alarm boxes installed on street corners. In 1921, the horse drawn pumpers were placed in reserve. The first ladder truck was purchased in 1941. This was an American LaFrance open cab 85' ladder truck. The truck was replaced with another American LaFrance 85' ladder in 1965. Also this year, a new headquarters fire station was built to accommodate the bigger pieces of equipment. The old quarters were so tight, one truck couldn't turn left out of the station. They would have to turn right and go around the block.
In 1973, manning levels were increased to allow a third shift to be added and personnel worked 4 days, 4 nights, and had 4 days off. Firefighters handled dispatching duties up until 1977 when dispatchers were hired to dispatch the city and county fire departments.
On 1978, the Salisbury Fire Department entered into the first responder program by converting a step van into an ambulance. Transport was still handled by a county agency, but the unit was certified in the event the county unit could not respond. A new 110' Pirsch ladder truck was bought in 1986 and a major purchase of apparatus was made from E-One in 1988. Three custom pumpers with enclosed cabs were bought to replace an aging commercial pumper fleet. Also purchased that year was a 3,000 gallon tanker from Grumman. 1987 saw a change in the way that fires and other emergencies were reported. The county put in service the 911 system and moved the dispatchers to a new communications center. The last of the fire alarm boxes were removed from service.
The 90's saw more technology changes take place. The department changed over to the 800 MHz radio system and computers were installed in the city's three fire stations. In the early 90's, a Hazardous Materials Team was developed in partners with the county's emergency management division to respond to hazardous materials incidents within the county. After many years in the planning, the department was evaluated by ISO in 1995 and received a Class 2 rating. The previous rating was a 3. As the 90's come to a close, we received a squad truck as a generous donation from a local industry. This addition became part of the ladder company and carries additional equipment. Another generous donation came in the form of a defibrillator unit. Personnel were certified in EMT-D with additional units budgeted to place one on each front line engine.
The long awaited fourth station opened it's doors on January 1, 2007. A 2000 E-One 95' Platform is housed at station 4, along with a reserve ladder, foam trailer, reserve engine, and a haz-mat trailer.We look forward to the new millennium with all the change and technology that awaits.