The fire department is a service that ensures the fire protection of citizens. It maintains the security measures of civil and military buildings, puts down and prevents urban and forest fires, etc. While almost any country has such a department, this article focuses on the American
Meaning and History
Numerous government-sponsored fire departments across the United States function at various levels, including nation, state, county, or local communities, often with distinct specializations and private entities. These units may comprise enlistees or seasoned specialists, yet they all share a uniform insignia, often taking the form of a cross.
A prevailing misconception holds that the Fire Department logo symbolizes the Maltese cross—a unique eight-pointed configuration composed of four V-shaped elements interconnected at their acute corners. This distinctive insignia was adopted from the Knights Hospitallers, who embellished their equipment with it to differentiate comrades from foes on the battleground.
In combat, as warriors wore helmets with full face coverage, identifying allies became challenging. The knights, by necessity, extinguished fires during battles as their principal enemies, the Saracens, wielded fire as a weapon. This honorable endeavor earned them the moniker “firefighters,” and the Maltese cross evolved into an emblem of security. Historical accounts point to its initial adoption as the symbol of the New York Fire Department during the mid-1860s.
An alternative narrative posits that the institution’s logo depicts the Florian cross, a distinct mark characterized by a circular center encircled by four petal-like structures. This eight-angled cross originated in the 300s under the initiative of Roman officer Florian, who established fire brigades under the army’s management.
What is Fire Department?
The Fire Department is an organization that protects cities and surrounding forests from fires and arson. They also maintain security measures for buildings, educate people on how to behave in case of fires, etc. The United States founded its first fire department in the 1860s.
1860s – today
The NYC Fire Department symbol looks rather like the Florian cross. It includes four petal-like elements; each of them contains rounded edges and corners. The top structure depicts the capitalized name ‘fire’, while the lowest one features the capitalized ‘DEPT’. The right section displays a ladder, crossed by a bugle. The left form shows a hydrant.
These petal formations are adjacent to a circle containing a collection of fireman’s tools, including a horn, ladder, signal horn and axe. They cross each other and a helmet is placed over all of them.
The organization’s nameplate is executed in a simple serif-free typeface that includes straight and bold lines. Additionally, all letterforms are capitalized.
Black, red, beige and white are the traditional hues of the US Fire Department. Red is the dominant color, used for all backdrops, a helmet, and the axe blade. Black stands for the outlines, while white is used to depict the background. Finally, beige is used for a hydrant, axe handle, and horn.