Ancient Times

You Can Ring My Bell

As civilization plunged into the Dark Ages, there were no groups of organized firefighters, as for long periods of time, there was no central ruler in charge. Therefore there were almost no advances in firefighting and in fact some of the knowledge and methods the Romans used were lost to the people of this time. However, during the Middle Ages, some new ideas did emerge. William the Conqueror (1027-1087) ordered that bells be sounded to warn of fire, an act that tied the bell to firefighting forever.
Above is a portrait of William the Conqueror. During the Middle Ages, he ordered that a "lookout" be stationed in the church steeple to look for smoke and fire at night. When the lookout saw fire, he was to ring the church bell to alert the townspeople of the danger.