Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The End of a Grand Tradition?

At the January meeting of the Common Council Fire Committee, First Assistant Fire Chief Craig Haigh announced that the Fire Department was considering discontinuing the Inspection Day parade. This would mark the end of a tradition that began in 1856, celebrating Hudson's volunteer fire department, which was established in 1794.  

J. W. Hoysradt Hose & Chemical Company drum line in the 2009 Inspection Day parade. 

Not that long ago, when there were still six fire companies headquartered in six historic firehouses, Inspection Day offered residents and visitors the opportunity to stroll along Warren Street--from the Washington Hose firehouse at Front Street to the Phoenix and Edmonds firehouses on Park Place--touring each firehouse to view historic photographs and artifacts, as well as the gleaming fire fighting equipment housed there. A favorite object on the tour for many was the ornately carved fireplace surround on the second floor of the firehouse occupied by the C. H. Evans Hook & Ladder Company.

In recent years, with only four fire companies, three which reside in the consolidated fire station on North Sixth Street, Inspection Day has become a very different experience, but the Inspection Day parade has continued virtually unchanged. The fire companies of Hudson and volunteer fire companies from around the county, smartly attired in their dress uniforms, march down Warren Street, accompanied by their gleaming fire engines--both modern and historic--passing in review before local and state elected officials and the people they serve. Awards are given to the fire company that presents itself most impressively. 

C. H. Evans Hook & Ladder and Rogers Hose companies in the 2009 Inspection Day Parade. 

Now it appears that the Inspection Day parade may be a thing of the past. According to Haigh, poor attendance is the reason for contemplating abandoning the tradition. Poor attendance could easily be countered by more publicity and hype for this event, which is unique to Hudson and a tradition of long standing. The Inspection Day parade is an opportunity for the residents of Hudson to connect with and show their appreciation for the volunteer fire fighters who protect our city--its residents and its historic buildings. The alternative suggested by Haigh--a family day for members of the department--may address the issue of fire fighter morale, but it fails to bring the fire fighters and the community together--something that is needed even more now that most of our volunteer fire fighters, with the exception of the members of the Hoysradt company, are headquartered in a part of the city where most people rarely go.       

1 comment:

  1. Ah,say it isn't so!
    Tell me that Hudson Fire Department First Assistant Chief Craig Haigh,
    was just having"a bad idea day"
    Simply written across the front of super Pumper 30 Truck
    at J. W. Hoystradt Hose & Chemical Company No. 8. Firehouse on Warren St is
    "Pride is our Pay"
    Who should we be prouder of?
    This is one of the best days in the City of Hudson
    Who more should we celebrate and recognize for their crucialcommunity service,
    than the men and women that voluntarily risk their own lives
    to protect the public and their property and have done so in Hudson since 1794.
    They have held this parade since 1856
    and as Carole describes , brings Fire Company's from all over the county with their trucks
    in thier dress uniforms and pipe and drum corps
    the pride and excitement for our next generation to see,
    the camaraderie, trust and integrity of the Fire Dept.and EMS service,that is uniquely theirs.
    Perhaps the actual inspection aspect has gone by the wayside for the public, as Carole has said
    but please not the parade.
    We have the FSNYS Museum of Firefighting in Hudson
    We have the Firemen’s Home for Volunteer Firefighters for NYS
    It's a parade to honor their service too
    It means so much to most everyone
    Especially after 9/11
    The former owner of my house, a Hudson Fire Commisioner,
    left photographs taken of this parade since he was a boy in the 1920's.
    Most I donated to Fire Dept
    I do not think he could find this imaginable or combining it with Flag Day.
    No offense to Flag Day parade ,which I think is great,but it's only 15 yrs old and celebrates a whole gambit of things.
    I realise on Asst. Chief Haigh's part, he is thinking budget, time and the massive effort
    but this 155 yr old continuous event has always been worth all the work so far.
    I do not think that it would be a good way to be remembered.Ending it.
    I hope public outcry will change his mind, if he hasn't himself already
    and I hope if the Dept. needs help ,they will ask the community they serve
    so well,for our assistance and publicity.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -.
    The official -Recruitment 2012-
    is April 21-22 for NYS Volenteer Firefighters
    They need recruits 18-35yrs old
    Volenteer fire fighting relies solely on a strong community

    What if there was a fire and nobody came?