In 1803, Emperor Alexander I issued a decree on the establishment of the first fire brigade in Russia. In Moscow, such teams appeared a year later, and in other Russian cities – only by the middle of the nineteenth century. On March 17, 1853, the "Normal report card of the fire department in cities" was approved. According to this document, the staffing of the teams for the first time began to be determined not by the "highest resolution", but depending on the population. The staff of the fire brigades of the cities was approved in the following composition: fire marshal, fire masters, non-commissioned officers, firefighters, pump masters, locksmiths, blacksmiths, chimney sweepers and coachmen (the number of specialists depending on the category of the city).
Persons accepted for service in the fire department were exempt from conscription into the army. They lived in barracks at fire stations. They were allowed to leave the territory of their unit only for three hours a week to have a bath.
Their working day started at 5-6 o'clock in the morning and lasted 15-16 hours without a break. There was no uniform daily routine in the fire departments. But as a rule, everyone adhered to one regulation: after lifting, the entire staff stood for prayer. Then the lower ranks cleaned the horses, fed them, cleaned the premises, swept the yard and the street in front of the fire station, put the baggage equipment in order. After feeding the horses and putting things in order on the territory, the firefighters had breakfast at 7 o'clock in the morning, after which they began their duties and classes. The privates alternately carried out guard duty on the tower, at the gate, in the stable. According to the regulations of that time, firefighters were not allowed to take off their boots even at night, so as not to delay the departure to the fire if necessary.
In the classroom, firefighters, as a rule, studied drill and literature lessons. During the drill, the personnel trained the step, the descent of ropes from the tower, climbed multi-stage ladders. In those days, the main criterion for the readiness of a fire department to perform its direct duties was the speed of departure to the place of fire, so firemasters often conducted training alarms. The management often arranged sudden inspections of fire departments, and if firefighters gathered for a fire not fast enough, the whole unit received a strict reprimand and was punished with a fine.
But despite the terrible living and working conditions, in the professional fire protection of Russia of those years there were glorious fighting traditions: love for their profession, courage, dedication and mutual assistance in the performance of official duty. The best traditions of the fire service were preserved during the years of Soviet power.