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

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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


Placentia (Calif.) Fire and Life Safety members push in a new engine on July 1, 2020. (Photo/Placentia (Calif.) Fire Department)
Members of the Pasco (Fla.) Fire Rescue participated in a push-in ceremony for Ladder 19 on July 9, 2020. (Photo/Pasco (Fla.) Fire Rescue)
Carrboro (N.C.) Fire-Rescue members laugh as they push in a new tanker truck on May 26, 2022. (Photo/Carrboro (N.C.) Fire-Rescue)
Robins Air Force Base Fire Department members help push one of the two new water trucks into the bay at Fire Station 2 at RAFB, Georgia, on June 5, 2020. (Photo/USAF via DVIDS)
Crews with the Iona McGregor Fire District push in an apparatus on March 20, 2019. (Photo/Iona McGregor Fire District)
The North Andover (Mass.) Fire Department chief, deputy chief, town manager, select board, active members and retirees participated in a push-in ceremony on July 17, 2020. (Photo/North Andover (Mass.) Fire Department)
The Oak Ridge Fire Department conducted an official push-in ceremony for Tanker-51 on Jan. 14, 2018. (Oak Ridge (N.C.) Fire Department)
Members of the community participate in Truck 21's push-in ceremony at Roswell (Ga.) Fire Department. (Photo/Courtesy of Stanley Leary)

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