Recommendations For Cary Fire Department, 1971

In September 1971, the Town of Cary Safety Committee released a report with recommendations for improvements to the fire department. CFD like other town departments–indeed, like the community itself–had experienced growing pains. From 1960 to 1970, the town population explosion 121.4%, with expected 14% growth each year from 1970 to 1980.

The fire department was presently protecting 7,500 residents and property valued at around $30,000. They had a full-time fire chief, Terry Edmundson, hired January 1, 1971. And he had brought new ideas to the department, though, as the report noted, “there were naturally some questions raised for changing of old procedures or techniques.” He established guidelines and rules and regulations that both paid and volunteer members were to adhere to. And failure to meet those standards resulted caused problems, including the dismiss of one fireman.

On the other hand, noted the report, the fire department had been built up through the years by volunteers who “built up loyalty and pride [to] the present [department].” And some of those members were not measuring up to the high standards set down in years past. Thus, said the report, the Chief, the volunteer firemen, and paid firemen had “failed to communicate with each other” and this caused a morale problem.

Thus Mayor Fred Bond requested that the Safety Committee–consisting of Councilman Thomas Griffis, Chairman, and Russell Secrest–to “make an inquiry into all phases of the fire department.” The investigation took about four weeks, and the committee talked with most of the paid and volunteer firemen.

They found, in general, that there was a “conflict in personality” on a “number of incidents” [instances?], a “lack of communication” between the chief and the firefighters, and “the absence of an organizational structure.” Though there was a structure present, it had “failed to prove itself” as effective. And which made sense, as the Chief had only been employed for a short time, his Assistant Chief was “from the ranks of the volunteers,” and the two lieutenants had a “minimum amount of administrative training.”

Thus, upon concluding their investigation, the committee made a list of recommendations. Those are below. They also made recommended some immediate actions to the Town Manager and the Fire Chief. One of those was that Chief Edmundson was to immediately cease using his personal pick-up truck in any capacity with the fire department. He was to park away the truck away from the fire station, and “do everything possible to remove red lights, radios and other [identifying] emblems,” so it couldn’t be identified as “official Cary Fire Department equipment.”

Also, Chief Edmundson was living at the fire department at that time [!] and was instructed to immediately find living quarters away from the fire station.

For the department in general, their recommendations were:

1. After interviewing both volunteer and paid firemen, their opinion was that a fully-paid [career] fire department should be created “when funds are available.”

2. When there’s a promotional opening, all qualified firemen “should be given a written examination” and the promotion based on “their qualifications and examination.”

3. Rules and Regulations should be updated, each member furnished a copy, and one or more meetings held to review the rules with the members.

4. Minimum salaries should be “raised upward as soon as possible” and which will “assist in employing trained personnel.”

5. The addition to the “Central Fire Station” should be completed as soon as possible.

6. A new radio system should be installed immediately.

7. The Fire Chief should hold a staff meeting at least once a month with himself, the Assistant Chief, and his Lieutenants, to keep them “informed on activities, policies, and problems within the department.”

8. Volunteer firemen should not be permitted to be members of other fire departments or police departments.

9. Volunteer firemen who fail to meet the “minimum drills and meetings” for two successive month, without excuse, should be removed from the roster.

10. All drills should be conducted when scheduled, and there “should be serious consideration before cancelling” any.

11. A code of conduct should be established “setting forth [expectations for] personal habits.” It should emphasize “drinking habits, driving habits, and any other personal habits which would reflect on the individual, the fire department, or the uniform.”

There’s an ironic footnote to the last item, as Chief Edmundson would later resign due to allegations of improper personal conduct. He left office in August 1975, after allegations that he made two false alarm telephone calls from his home. He was initially suspended two weeks without pay, and formally resigned on August 7. The town declined to make an investigation. Chief Edmundson was subsequently hired as chief of the airport fire department, and where he served until his death in 1985.

Source: Safety Committee Report, September 23, 1971

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New Numbering for New Hope Fire Department

This week the Wake New Hope Fire Department announced a new numbering of their units on their Facebook page. Here’s their note:

“The eastern Wake County fire departments are standardizing their unit numbers, and as a result, we will be renumbering several of our apparatus. With our original station being numbered 28, all of our new assignments will utilize the 28 prefix going forward.

  • Our primary engine from Station 1, Engine 1, will now be referred to as Engine 281
  • Our primary engine from Station 2, Engine 4, will now be referred to as Engine 282
  • Our reserve/volunteer engine from Station 2, Engine 3, will now be referred to as Engine 284
  • Our heavy rescue from Station 2, Rescue 14, will now be referred to as Rescue 28
  • Our primary brush/wildfire apparatus from Station 2, Brush 7, will now be referred to as Brush 28″

Between New Hope’s change and Eastern Wake’s merger with Knightdale this month, we’ve inched slightly closer to a countywide schema. Here’s the score so far:

  • 0-9 – All departments
  • 10-19 – Raleigh, Cary, Knightdale, Northern Wake, RDU (plus other FDs with Car 10, Car 11, etc.?)
  • 20-29 – Raleigh, Morrisville, New Hope, Northern Wake
  • 30-39 – Apex, Northern Wake
  • 40-49 – Northern Wake
  • 50-59 – Northern Wake
  • 90-99 – Zebulon
  • 110-119 – Wendell
  • 130-139 – Knightdale
  • 150-159 – Rolesville
  • 160-169 – Durham Highway
  • 170-179 – Durham Highway
  • 190-199 – Western Wake
  • 220-229 – Hopkins
  • 280-289 – New Hope
  • 290-299 – Western Wake
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Wake County Fire Commission Virtual Meeting – Thursday, July 16, 2020

The Wake County Fire Commission will hold a virtual version of its regular scheduled meeting on Thursday, July 16, 2020. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m.

The agenda and meeting documents are below. There’s one primary agenda item, approval of funding for a replacement rescue for Rolesville. Information on submitting public comments and access for viewing/listening are posted on the Wake County Public Meetings Calendar


  • Meeting Called to Order: Chairman Keith McGee
    • Invocation
    • Pledge of allegiance
    • Roll of Members Present
  • Items of Business
    • Approval of Agenda
    • Approval of April 28, 2020 Fire Commission Meetinig Minutes
    • Approval of May 21, 2020 Fire Commission Meeting Minutes
    • Allocation of Funding for Rolesville Rescue Replacement
  • Public Comments:
    • Comments emailed in from the public, as directed on the public advertisement on the County Meeting Calendar prior to noon on July 16, 2020, will be emailed to the Fire Commission prior to the meeting. Depending on the number of comments received, the comments may be read by Deputy Director Alford at this time.
  • Regular Agenda
  • Information Agenda
    • Fire Tax Financial Report
    • Standing Committee Updates
      • Administrative
      • Apparatus
      • Budget
      • Communications
      • Equipment
      • Facility
      • Training
      • Volunteer Recruitment & Retention Committee
    • Chair Report
    • Fire Services Report
  • Other Business
  • Adjournment – Next Meeting – September 17, 2020

View meeting documents.

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Eastern Wake Fire-Rescue Merges with Town of Knightdale

This posting will be updated as more information is provided about the operations of the newly expanded Knightdale Fire Department.

July 8
Here’s the post-merger list of units and their locations:

Engines / Squads

  • E131 – Clifton Street (Sta 1) – 2007 Pierce Contender pumper-tanker, 1250/1000 – Ex-EWFD
  • E132 – Steeple Square (Sta 2) – 2017 Spartan/Customer rescue pumper, 1250/750
  • E133 – Hester Street (Sta 3) – 2018 Rosenbauer Commander rescue pumper, 1500/1000 – Ex-EWFD
  • E134 – Robertson Street (Public Works) – 2007 Pierce Contender pumper, 1250/750, reserve – Unstaffed auxiliary unit, can be in service with 15 minute delay. 
  • E801 – Reserve Engine/Squad – 2008 Pierce Saber rescue pumper, 1500/750
  • Parade – 1975 Mack CF pumper, 900/500, ex-Raleigh, former reserve, future parade piece


  • R13 (Clifton) – 2008 Spartan Metro Star/Hackney walk-around rescu – Ex-EWFD


  • Tanker 1 (Hester) – 2005 Pierce Contender pumper-tanker, 1250/1000 – Ex-EWFD
  • Tanker 3 (Clifton) – 2005 International/KME tanker, 500/1800 – Ex-EWFD

Brush Trucks

  • Brush 1 (Hester) – 2019 Ford F-350/CET, 70?/300 – Ex-EWFD
  • Brush 3 (Clifton) – 2005 Ford F-550/Knapheide/EAI brush truck, 300 gallons – Ex-EWFD

Battalion Chief

  • Battalion 1 – Pending, will be at Station 2 (Steeple Square)

June 29
Effective July 1, 2020, Eastern Wake Fire-Rescue Inc. merged with the town of Knightdale and it’s fire department. Here’s some information about the two departments, their compositions, and their histories. 


  • Radio Announcement 
  • Department Snapshots
  • Maps
  • Photos
  • Visual History
  • Hester Street Station, Annotated
  • Historical Perspectives

Radio Announcement 

Department Snapshots

Eastern Wake Fire-Rescue

Organized 1954 as Knightdale Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. Renamed 2003 as Eastern-Wake Fire Rescue, Inc. Two stations, three engine, one rescue, one tanker, two brush trucks, technical rescue trailer, two boat trailers, first responder SUV

Continue reading ‘Eastern Wake Fire-Rescue Merges with Town of Knightdale’ »

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Two Alarms on Winding Waters Way

Two alarms were struck on Saturday evening, July 6, 2020, at 3134 Winding Waters Way in very north Raleigh. Dispatched at 6:28 p.m. Engine 25 arriving at a three-story, wood-frame, townhouse unit with 1,908 square-feet. Built 2003, say tax records. Reported as gas grill on back deck that had caught the structure on fire.

Engine 25 found fire showing from attic, from the front of the structure. Interior attack was started. Second alarm was requested for manpower, as attic conditions worsened. Ladder 5 was positioned for aerial ops, but the fire was contained by the interior crews.

Three lines [correct?] used: two inside and one exterior to the rear. Second alarm dispatched 6:21 p.m. Controlled 6:50 p.m. Cause determined as accidental. First photo at 7:04 p.m. Units included E25, E22, E15, E4, L5, L1, R1, B1, B4, C20, C402, A2, second alarm: E18, E28, E19, L9, plus EMS 39, EMS 42, EMS 38, D4.

See photos by Legeros at

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Cancelled Due to War Conditions – NCSFA Conference History

Three times before this year the North Carolina State Firefighters’ Association has cancelled their annual convention. Twice due to “war conditions” in 1943 and 1945, and again in 1946, due to restrictions on the availability of meeting places. The government had a very short list of approved groups for convention gatherings.

The Association printed and distributed annual reports in the booklet styles of the conference proceeding. They’re slim volumes but still interesting reading. New digitized versions have been added to

Notably compelling are the Statistician reports from Albert Brinson from New Bern, who served for twenty-year years in that role. And if Brinson’s name looks familiar, that’s because he’s also the uncle of NCSFA Deputy Director and former Fire Chief Ed Brinson. (Hey Ed!)

Here’s a longer blog post about the cancellations, as well as tournament cancellations during World War I. Plus the one time the convention was bumped a month due to a polio outbreak. That was in 1944 in Charlotte. There’s also a digital version of the 1944 proceedings in the above library.

Read blog post:

Here’s the short version of all NCSFA conference and tournament cancellations to date:

2020 – Conference cancelled (pandemic)
1946 – Conference cancelled (war)
1945 – Conference cancelled (war)
1944 – Conference postponed one month (polio)
1943 – Conference cancelled (war)
1919 – Tournament cancelled (war)
1918 – Tournament cancelled (war)
1917 – Tournament cancelled (war)
1893 – Tournament cancelled (funding)


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Raleigh’s Mobile Life Safety System Lab

See more photos at


Let’s take a look inside the Raleigh Fire Department’s new Mobile Life Safety Systems Simulator Lab. It was developed by the Office of the Fire Marshal (OFM) as a portable teaching tool for firefighters, fire inspectors, and business owners to learn about the inner workings of fire alarm, fire sprinkler, and standpipe systems.

Providing a wider learning experience than is normally available outside those industries–through in-depth, hands-on learning–the training tool will help reduce the city’s most common code violation in commercial structures: insufficient maintenance of fire protection systems. The simulator helps students learn how the systems operate and to how to perform basic troubleshooting as well as routine maintenance operations. 

The simulator is equipped with two types of fire alarm systems, four different types of sprinkler systems, a fire pump, and a typical standpipe system. These are the most common types of fire protection systems found in most commercial structures and larger residential multi-family dwellings across the city, the state, and the nation.

Except for fire pump, these simulated systems are fully functional and students can practice the same scenarios encountered in an emergency, but without the danger and stress of an actual event. They can open and close valves, operate control panels, and observe the systems working together.


Inside the handsomely wrapped trailer are fully-functional fire-alarm control panels, a horn/strobe notification device, and a manual pull station. There are also smoke and heat detectors to mimic what happens when the system detects a fire, either through actuation or system malfunction. Carefully crafted training scenarios are based on situations encountered in the field and allow students to perform actions at the fire alarm control panel to successfully mitigate a system activation.

The sprinkler systems in this trailer consist of one wet commercial sprinkler riser, one wet 13R residential riser, one pre-action riser, and one dry sprinkler riser. The most common system seen in the field is the wet-pipe sprinkler riser, but there are other types of sprinkler systems and this training prepare firefighters for scenarios involving those systems.

Dry-pipe systems are used in places where cold temperatures can cause water within the piping to freeze. In these systems, the pipes are filled with pressurized air instead of water until a fire is detected. In addition to an accelerator, the simulator contains a newer style of dry-pipe sprinkler riser with an external reset feature. These features allow students to actually trip the valve, watch water move through the system, then reset the valve.

Although pre-action sprinkler systems are rare–they’re used mostly in computer rooms to reduce the chance of an accidental water discharge–there are dozens of them in use across the city. Thus firefighters must also learn to recognize and operate them. Like the others systems, the pre-action sprinkler in the simulator allows to students to manipulate the controls and study the effects without the danger and costs of controlling a live system.


The simulator was placed in service in January 2020. It is presently housed at Station 12 on Poole Road, with plans to move it to the training center at a later date. It’s towed using one of the pick-up trucks assigned to OFM. The division plans to obtain a dedicated towing vehicle for the simulator and other OFM trailers.

Although based at the Raleigh Fire Department and with its initial mission to better train the city’s firefighters, the simulator is available throughout the region for qualified training events, and has the potential to provide valuable training for individuals from across the state.


The Mobile Life Safety System Simulator Lab was the idea of Asst. Fire Marshal Brandon McGhee, but quickly turned into a combined effort between the Office of the Fire Marshal and Clayton-based J&D Sprinkler Company. The project took about 18 months to develop from start to finish.

McGhee says “We took the idea to J&D sprinkler who turned the idea on paper, into CAD drawings of the simulator lab. Once the design was finalized they reached out to many different vendors that they work with who in turn donated various pieces for the different sprinkler systems. Once they received all the pieces J&D fabricated and assembled the sprinkler portions for us.”

He adds, “While the sprinkler system was being built at J&D, other vendors were also interested in donating materials for the build. We were extremely fortunate in that donations funded most of the trailer, leaving OFM with only the wiring of fire alarms, lights, and other components to complete the project.”

The construction participants were McGhee as Project Leader, designer Jason Graham (J&D Sprinkler), Asst. Fire Marshal Robert Maddry, and Deputy Fire Marshals Kevin Bailey and Lee Lovic, and who also assist with teaching. The primary instructors for the simulator are Deputy Fire Marshals Andy Culbreth, Chris Laxton, Kelvin Whitehead, and Jason Boggs.

The Raleigh Fire Department Office of the Fire Marshal extends their sincere gratitude to all who contributed to making this project possible and they hope to make all their communities safer through its use.

See more photos at

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Early Knightdale Tankers

This posting originated on Facebook and the content was moved to the blog on June 24.

Let’s see if we can make some sense of Knightdale’s early tankers. Here’s what’s found in the old meeting minutes, plus a couple other sources:

Unknown year, International, 1200 gallons
Served 1957 to 1971

1956, Aug 02 – Ask Congressman for assistance in “getting surplus fire trucks”.
1957, Jan 03 – “International tank truck discussed and mounting pump therein.” Military surplus? Seems likely.
1957, Feb 07 – “Work on International truck discussed.”
1957, Mar 21 – Work session on truck.
1957, Apr 25 – “Red turn signals and blinker lights have been installed on International tank truck and it is filled with water and ready to go.”
1971, Jan 7 – Tanker needs repairs. Members vote to purchase replacement chassis and remount tank.
1971, Jan 21 – Replacement tanker chassis has been purchased, ready for tank remount.

1955 Reo/KFD, 1800 gallons
Served 1965 to 1975

1964, Mar 19 – Discussed need for another tank truck. G. E. Robertson to see about finding a “surplus truck.”
1964, Apr 16 – Purchase of new radio for new tanker approved.
1964, Oct 1 – Discussed procured required to purchase a surplus truck for use as a tanker. Purchase approved. [Truck is a 1955 Reo 2 1/2-ton, ten-wheel, M35 military cargo truck.]
1964, Dec 3 – Approved checking into the cost of a “new tank truck.”
1964, Dec 17 – Discussion on “size and makes of trucks needed for a tanker.”
1965, Jan 7 – Discussion on type of tank to mount on the “second tanker purchased recently.”
1965, Feb 4 – “Mounted the tank on the Reo and then returned to the meeting room.”
1965, Feb 18 – Approved to buy six red lights for tanker.
1965, Mar 4 – Approved removing the radio from the International tanker and installing in the Reo tanker, but only after the Reo tanker is “checked out and in service.” Also, several members worked on the Reo Tanker “after the room discussion.”
1965, Apr 1 – Approved to find a siren for “our #2 tanker.” [The Reo was designated Rural Truck 2.] Also approved to convert spark plugs and distributor to “conventional type.”
1965, May 6 – Approved to purchase “rotating red light” for tanker.
1975, Dec 21 – Advertised for sale in News & Observer, but with incorrect 1952 model year. Noted as 1,800 gallons, with winch, spare tires, and parts.
1976, Jan 15 – Bid received for $750 but members decide to postpone sale, to see if other (higher) bids are offered.
1976, Feb 5 – Sold to private owner for $800. Sale approved at member meeting. Continue reading ‘Early Knightdale Tankers’ »

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