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Entries / Fire Safety

Fire Safety

Categories / City Services/Fire Safety

FIRE SAFETY. In the city's early days, all citizens were responsible for St. Petersburg fire safety. Soldiers of the Petersburg Garrison regularly took part in fire-extinguishing exercises. In 1718, the police became responsible for the supervision of fire safety. In 1722, a fire company composed of workers was established in the Main Admiralty. In 1737, development of fire safety regulations was delegated to the Commission for St. Petersburg Construction; a special fire cart service was established by the police. An informational report on fires was given to the Senate. In 1740, each Guards Regiment was ordered to have fire-fighting equipment and "extinguishing pipes" (pumps) connected to water basins. In 1747, all government establishments were provided with fire engineering equipment. Full-time fire-brigades were stationed at the Main Admiralty and the Imperial Palace. In 1763, a decree introduced the post of fire chief (Brand Major) as part of the city police staff, who was put in charge of the city's fire safety. The St. Petersburg City Fire Company (staffed in 1803), headed by a fire chief, was established in 1802. It included 11 fire departments (matching the number of police departments), each under the command of a fire chief (each had 48 firemen and 10-14 carters). The fire departments were organised in officers' apartment houses, which were used as stores to keep tools and equipment. Fire signals were given from fire watchtowers. Soldiers were recruited for fire companies, but remained part of the city's police structure. In 1832, the Fire Charter was adopted. From the late 1850s, the telegraph was used for notification of fires. After the May Fires of 1862, fire departments were equipped with steam pumps. From 1873, firefighter teams were formed on a voluntary basis. A fire fighting equipment plant was launched in St. Petersburg in 1878. By 1880, the city's fire company numbered over 1,000 people. In 1892, the First Congress of Russian Firemen was organised in St. Petersburg, establishing the Russian Fire Society. The First All-Russian Fire Exhibition was timed to coincide with the Congress. The first Voluntary Fire-Brigades were created in St. Petersburg in the 1880s. In 1892, the magazine Pozharny (Fireman) was first published followed in 1894 by the magazine Pozharnoe delo (Fire Fighting). The first fire-fighting vehicle was assembled in 1904 at the Frese and Co. Plant. Fire-warden courses were set up in 1906. In 1913, the first fire fighting tutorial was issued. After October 1917, supervision of fire safety was delegated to the Fire Department of Council of National Economy (1918). In 1920, the Fire Company passed under the control of the Municipal Government of Public Services of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs. In 1923, there were 26 fire stations in St. Petersburg. In 1924, a fire-fighting school was opened (from 1946, the Leningrad Fire-Fighting School of the USSR's Ministry of Internal Affairs; from 2002, the State Institute of Fire-Prevention Service of the Russian Ministry of Emergencies). The Fire Department (UPO) was formed in 1934. When the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 broke out, 11 rifle battalions were formed of men from fire companies. During the Siege of 1941-45, firemen organised set up watch on the roofs of building, extinguishing some 12,000 fires, and took part in defence construction and other defence programs. The Political Department of the Fire Safety Administration of the People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs issued the newspaper Na Strazhe Leningrada. In 1946, a mobile fire workshop was established on the basis of Fire Safety Administration; in 1955, the first Experimental and Training Fire Station opened. The Federation of Fire's Applied Sport division was established in Leningrad in 1964; the First USSR Championship for Fire Sports was held in 1965; and an international contest was organised in 1968. The First Congress of the All-Russian Voluntary Fire Association (VDPO) was held in 1964 in Leningrad. A large-scale installation of fire-alarm systems was carried out in Leningrad by the late 1980s. By 2000, the fire safety system numbered over 50 subdivisions, and overall command came into in the hands of the Administration of the State Fire-Fighting Department of the Main Department of Internal Affairs (85 Moika River Embankment). The Konchaev Fire Safety Facilities Exhibition and the Fire Fighting Club (130 Moskovsky Avenue) operate in St. Petersburg.

Reference: Рудницкий В. С. Пожарное дело в С.-Петербурге: Ист. очерк. СПб., 1903; Голубев С. Г., Зильберштейн Ф. Б., Савельев П. С. Пожарное дело в СССР. М., 1968. С. 16-64; Щаблов Н. Н., Ершов К. М., Васильев В. Г. Брандмайоры Санкт-Петербурга: Сб. ист. очерков. СПб., 1994.

Y. N. Kruzhnov.

Konchaev Boris Ivanovich

Moika River Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 85
Moskovsky Ave/Saint Petersburg, city, house 130

Рудницкий В. С. Пожарное дело в С.-Петербурге: Ист. очерк. СПб., 1903
Савельев П. С., Голубев С. Г., Зильберштейн Ф. Б. Пожарное дело в СССР. М., 1968
Щаблов Н.Н., Ершов К.М., Васильев В.Г. Брандмайоры Санкт-Петербурга: Сб. ист. очерков. СПб., 1994

The subject Index
Russian Fire Society
Konchaev Firefighting Equipment Collection


City transport (general article)

CITY TRANSPORT, transport means for intra-city freight and passenger transportation, as well as transport, providing public services. City transport is divided into passenger, freight and special urban transport

May Fires of 1862

MAY FIRES OF 1862, a set of catastrophic fires caused by unexpected warm and dry weather. Started on 15 and 16 May (on 16 May, several houses burnt in the Ligovka District), and lasted until the end of the month