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Apparatus push-in ceremonies: A long-held tradition that unites communities

The ceremony dates back to the days of horse-drawn equipment when members had to push the equipment into the bay


Photo/Ross Township Fire Department

Share your push-in ceremony photos or video with us at

Like the armed forces, part of the appeal of the fire service is its deep connection and reverence for tradition, from the iconic sound of the bagpipe to the now-ceremonial apparatus push-in.

Beginning in the 1800s, after crews returned from a call on horse-drawn equipment, the animals were unable to back into the station, requiring members to detach the horses and push the equipment into the bay. Over time, with the invention and adoption of motorized apparatus, the need to manually move the equipment was gone.

However, the legacy of the push-in was secured.

Now, in honor of those early crews, many fire departments hold a push-in ceremony when taking delivery of a new apparatus, often inviting community members to celebrate the exciting moment their tax dollars helped make possible.

Check out this roundup of push-in ceremonies and send us a photo or video of your department’s event to

Roswell (Ga.) Fire Department

Deerfield Beach (Fla.) Fire Rescue

Orlando (Fla.) Fire Department

Charlottesville (Va.) Fire Department

Asheville (N.C.) Fire Department

Walton County (Fla.) Fire Rescue

Carson City (Nev.) Fire Department

Albemarle (Va.) Fire Rescue

Dorchester County (S.C.) Fire Rescue

South County (Wash.) Fire

Wyoming (Mich.) Fire Department


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Rachel Engel is an award-winning journalist and the senior editor of and In addition to her regular editing duties, Engel seeks to tell the heroic, human stories of first responders and the importance of their work. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and began her career as a freelance writer, focusing on government and military issues. Engel joined Lexipol in 2015 and has since reported on issues related to public safety. Engel lives in Wichita, Kansas. She can be reached via email.