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Is It Realistic to Anticipate Comprehensive Restoration After Fire Damage in Falmouth?

1/13/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO technician at work. Fire damage is no laughing matter. Call the professionals at SERVPRO with their IICRC trained technicians, and latest equipment and technology.

Successful Outcomes Result Because of SERVPRO's Wrap-Around Approach in Falmouth -- Managing Fire Damage Restoration from Hazard and Harm Assessment Through Rebuilding

Cities, towns, and villages like Falmouth today rely upon well-equipped and staffed fire departments in case of a household or commercial fire. Advancements in technology and methodology mean your property has more than a fighting chance of surviving a fire, particularly when the first responders are followed by crews schooled in fire damage best practices developed by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). Communities like Falmouth with histories going back several centuries hear stories of tragedies where nonexistent or inadequate fire prevention and management did not protect buildings, timber, grasslands, and human life.

What Happened When Communities Did Not Have an Organized Fire-Fighting Response?

The consequences in towns and hamlets on Cape Cod and the Islands just after colonization were grim when fires occurred. Settlements were scattered, making it difficult to scale up a robust rescue response. No pressurized water supplies were available. The typical weapon used to fight a fire was a bucket and any source of water that could be found, including:

  • Ponds
  • Wells
  • Streams
  • Rain barrels

How Was the Community Involved in Early Firefighting Efforts?

If you were lucky, neighbors or other townspeople pitched in and formed a bucket brigade. Individuals lined up from the nearest water source to the edge of the fire, passing buckets or other containers made of wood, leather, gourds, or metal along to quell the blaze. Although roofs of nearby buildings and crude ladders could elevate the brigade members for better aim, nothing like the extendable ladders, cranes, or cherry pickers used today was in the firefighting inventory. If fire jumped from building to building, even those makeshift supports swiftly disappeared.

Did Falmouth Fare Well or Poorly Before the Establishment of a Dedicated Fire Department?

Falmouth marked its first colonists in 1660 and was incorporated in 1686. During the early part of the town's history, many daily realities exposed the settlers to substantial fire risks:

  • Open hearth fireplaces
  • Beehive ovens 
  • Open outdoor fires
    •  Clearing brush
    •  Rendering oils
    •  Roasting large pieces of meat
    •  Evaporating seawater for salt
  • Chimney flues fires 
  • Inadequate disposal of live coals
  • Negligent use of candles, lamps, and lanterns
  • Smoking meats 
  • Burning of tobacco
  • Lightning strikes
  • Spontaneous combustion in haymows or granaries 

High winds and the lack of a reliable firefighting force meant a small fire could rapidly get out of hand, spreading to other buildings, including those owned by others in town.

Are There Records of Significant Fires in Falmouth?

The Barnstable County Courthouse burned to the ground on October 22, 1827, destroying land records and the structure. In the 1830s, guests sleeping after a wedding awoke to fire and panicked horses below. The house and guests survived; the animals did not. Many other anecdotes tell of fires bringing property damage and often the loss of animals in the 19th century. Eventually, the obvious risks impelled the building of water towers and holding ponds by landowners of means. 

When Did the First Truly Municipal Firefighting Efforts Arise in Falmouth?

Cooperative efforts with horse-drawn water tanks with hoses and crews laid the foundation, and Falmouth's first fire department arose in 1897. The town allocated $700 for a basic firefighter unit. In 1899, the fledgling department rented sheds in different locations in town. Competition among the villagers within and near Falmouth encouraged recruitment.

How Did the Growth of Insurance Affect Falmouth's Fire Department?

The year 1919 marked an assessment by the New England Insurance Exchange of both the town's fire and water departments. Upgrades in equipment and management were recommended. The first Falmouth Fire Chief, Ray Wells, took on the challenge to modernize the department.

What Were Major Changes in the Falmouth Fire Department During the Mid-20th Century?

New firehouses replaced the rented sheds. Inventories of mechanical equipment permitted better oversight and routine upgrades. Firefighters were made more accountable. Response times of fire department units decreased as technicians installed call boxes equipped with telegraph devices enabling reliable and town-wide fire alarms.

Did Improvements to the Falmouth Fire Department Include Institution of Rescue Personnel?

Modern fire departments nearly always act as first responders for medical and other emergencies and fire extinguishing. During Chief Wells' 35 year tenure, he added a fire rescue squad. Initially, the interventions available were minimal, consisting of a firefighter piloting a station wagon with first aid equipment to emergencies. The nearest hospital was 30 minutes away; thus, patient outcomes improved with the Falmouth Hospital building in 1963. Fire department personnel began completing EMT training in 1967, another benefit for victims in the community.

How Do Fire Damage Restoration Experts Partner with the Falmouth Fire Department?

After the fire department's first responders stabilize your Falmouth home, fire damage restoration commences, returning structural components and contents to preloss condition. Our IICRC-trained managers complete a safety assessment and then direct our certified technicians to begin emergency services to restore your home:

  • Firefighting water removal, containment, and lawful disposal
  • Evaluation of fire residues and matching with effective removal products and methodologies
  • Control of air quality throughout the fire restoration project, using negative pressure air scrubbing equipment if indicated
  • Cleanup and disinfection implementation
  • Deodorization

What Sets SERVPRO Apart from Other Fire Damage Restoration Companies in Falmouth?

Besides the advanced training our crews obtain, SERVPRO also earned and maintains a general contractor's license. Our construction division's skills and experience permits streamlined demolition, repairs, and build backs in response to fire damage without the homeowner needing to hire another contractor. We save our customers time and money by offering a wrap-around approach to fire damage restoration. 

The multiple specialties and certifications offered by the team at SERVPRO of Upper Cape Cod and The Islands make a recovery from fire loss as stress-free as possible. Call us day or night at (508) 888-5985 after the fire department releases your property, so we get a jump on making it "Like it never even happened."

Contractor Licenses:

General: CS-108357

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