Long before there were telephones and radios in use in America, fire departments utilized the telegraph to receive fire alarms from those once familiar red fire alarm boxes that stood on practically every street corner of our Nation’s cities.
When a firefighter fell in the line of duty, the Fire Alarm Office, the forerunner of today's computerized Fire Communications Centers, would "tap out" a special signal, "Five-Five-Five" (5-5-5), over the telegraph fire alarm circuits which went to all station houses.
Done for the purpose of notification, and as a sign of honor and respect, such symbolism has been a long-honored fire service tradition which still continues in some cities today.
Should your agency wish to participate, on Sunday, May 7, 2023, at noon, many stations across the country will sound their sirens in honor of the fallen firefighters. Please notify your community ahead of time if you will join in this tradition.