In the Detroit Fire Department, when an emergency call comes in the firefighter on watch rings a bell. It sounds a lot like a school bell. It serves as an alert to firefighters who may be scattered throughout the house that their services are needed.
Detroit Fire, like many other departments, have stations that are home to more than one fire company. Typically it’s a combination of an engine and a ladder truck.
Rather than have everyone drop what they are doing only to find out their company is not needed, we have a system of rings that communicate who is due on the run. One ring and shouts of “Engine Goes!” echo throughout the firehouse. Two rings and you hear “ Truck Goes!”.
Having two companies at one firehouse often makes for some friendly rivalry. When only one company is due you may hear the bell ring followed by shouts of “Firefighters Go”, implying that members of the other company aren’t “real firefighters“. It is usually followed by someone shouting “It’s a good house now!”
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