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Women in KFD

The Knollwood Volunteer Fire Department has been shaped by its equipment, and its equipment has redefined the department. A less visible attribute that has played a role in shaping Knollwood and the entire volunteer fire service are the women of the department and other auxiliary support groups. Often in a back-seat role, the women of the department were vital to its function.

Before the introduction of air and electric shore lines at fire stations to maintain the air brake system pressure, the engine braking system needed to build up a certain pressure to release the engines brakes. During the early days of the department, two neighborhood wives of department members were responsible for starting the fire engine to build the engine air pressure. If the two women did not start the engine, the responding firefighter would have to wait several minutes for the necessary air pressure to build up.

After receiving a call from the dispatcher, the women of Knollwood would initiate the phone tree when emergency calls went out, thus experiencing the pressures of being a volunteer and enduring the irregular hours of emergency calls without the duty or recognition of being a firefighter.

In an effort to formally recognize the women of the department for their sacrifices in being married to a volunteer firefighter, the department traditionally sponsored a Christmas dinner each year for the wives of the department. Though only a small token of appreciation, it acknowledged the sacrifices they made and their continued support and vital role within this tight-knit volunteer department.

Times have changed, of course, and now KFD has a number of trained women firefighters, working alongside the men. All volunteers are welcome!

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