The Fire Section within the Malta Police Corps was set up in 1934. In April 1936, it started making use of the first ever fire engine at its disposal. For many years the responsibility for Fire Services was in the hands of the British services in Malta. In 1883 the Malta Police were given some fire fighting apparatus (hoses, pumps, etc.) for fighting small fires which used to occur throughout the island. In 1902, Members of the Police Corps were trained by Water Works Department personnel in fighting fires, although the responsibility remained with the British services in Malta. In 1922, the Police were responsible for keeping the public order during fires, keeping the people as far as possible from the danger,and helping in laying of hoses, carraige of pumps and ladders.
The first fire engines were water pumps fitted on steam vehicles. There were also fire hydrants in many places and police stations. In fact one still comes over white notices fixed on walls with red letters: F.H.
On 26 November 1934, by a notice in the Government Gazette, a new procedure was published classifying fires into three categories and how to treat these cases. In case of small fires, these were to be extinguished by means of water buckets and fire extinguishers, which were stored in Police stations. In case of major fires, the fire engine is to be called out. The third category was calling the help of the British military services in Malta. Since up to the year 1934 the Malta police had no fire engine of their own, the military was called out in the second and third categories of fire.
At the same time, the Police Corps organised the fire section with a small group of policemen and these firemen used to wear a uniform.
The first police fire engine was only used for small fires and in the Valletta area only. Businesses who were affected by fires, used to pay for the services of the British Military Fire Services.
The Police started to acquire trucks to be re-modelled and used as Water Bowsers, since purchasing a proper fire engine costed money, which the police budget didn't have. They even purchased second hand fire engines from the UK to be used in Malta for fire fighting purposes. Such engines were the Dennis type which were used regularly in our island. Trucks used were the Ford type. Other used fire engines were acquired from the UK, such as Dodge, Bedfords, Dennis and Land Rovers.
Then the Police took the decision to purchase a lot of Bedford Fire Engines from England to be distributed throughout the
outlaying stations, which were at that time, in Floriana, and at Kordin. Kordin was used by the British Forces in Malta,
for the Admirality Constabulary Fire Brigade, since it was very near the Malta dockyards. In fact all the units
stationed in this Station were left to the Malta Police when the British Forces ended their stay in Malta in 1979.
The Kordin Station was handed three Bedford Fire Engines, while the Police Garage at Floriana had the following resources:
A Dennis Fire engine, 2 Ford water bowsers, 1 Land Rover, 1 Mini Countryman van.
The Police tried to keep abreast of events for any eventual disasters, by purchasing vehicles and equipment or even acquiring through the Italy-Malta Financial Protocols, 6 new Fresia Fire engines.
Following the setting up of a Civil Protection Department, another financial protocol was signed with Italy, enabling this new Department to acquire brand new fire engines and equipment for land and sea fire fighting. This financial protocol which costed millions of liri, saw the acquistion of some 30 fire engines of different shapes and sizes, a firefighting tug boat, 2 SAR vessels and 1 fire fighting patrol vessel. All this equipment was manufactured in Italy.
This web-site is aimed to highlight the efforts made by all Maltese firefighters who at one time or another served, or are still serving and giving such a sterling service to those in need of their services.
The Malta Police Fire Brigade as it was in the early 1970s. The Brigade had only a Dennis Fire Engine, and 3 Ford Water Bowsers at its disposal. We have another historical photo of an early fire engine, in fact a water bowser which was used by the M.P.F.B. This vehicle was featured on the cover of the police magazine "Il-Pulizija" (September-October 1986).
The Fire Brigade in action.....:
Fire devastates warehouse store at Valletta.
During the Vulcan aircraft crash at Zabbar.
Note the Dennis Fire Engine (M.P. 44) which was the most modern appliance
available to the Fire Brigade in those days and which was extensively used in
almost all fire and rescue operations.
One fine day, you may find yourself face to face with an emergency in which you are either the victim or a witness. What are you to do in such circumstances? Remain a passive spectator or try to be of help to any victims who may urgently need your assistance, even by making a little phone call to the EMERGENCY SERVICES? Do you know the Emergency Numbers?
AMBULANCE - 112 / 196
FIRE SERVICE - 112 / 199
It is very important that you know how to react in such cases. So if you click on the NEWS button you will find some very interesting information which will help you gain some knowledge on what to do to help others. Who knows, maybe one day you will need such advice!
Send any questions or problems regarding
this service to the administrator.
last modified: March 2010