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Visual Report

Civilian Firefighters

By NewsChina Updated Feb.1

Da’an, a town in Guigang county, Guangxi Province, is known for its centuries-old civilian fire-control culture. There are seven civilian fire brigades in Da’an, which were established 180 years ago. This year, the town held the 180th Da’an Firefighting Festival on September 20. The festival, first held in 1836, is included on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Guangxi Province.  
A catastrophic fire swept through the town in 1836. After the fire, local residents from all sectors of society decided to establish volunteer firefighting teams. Locals purchased equipment, including water tanks, water guns, beaters and buckets. In 1915, five civilian fire brigades were formed, using the town’s five ponds as the main water sources. Each year, on the 20th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, the town would hold a mass fire drill, in which all local residents would be mobilized.  
Thanks to the efforts of the fire brigades, fire safety education has been promoted throughout the town, and so in recent decades Da’an has been safe from the flames. 

Residents hold a fire drill during the Da’an Firefighting Festival / Photo by IC

Women of the Da'an women's fire brigade, the only women’s brigade in China.

The facilities of one of the Da'an fire brigades.

This water tank has been preserved for over 180 years.

A civilian fire station in Da'an

Da'an residents practice their fire drills.

Pictures hanging on the walls of the fire station capture the memories of the town’s long history of civilian firefighting.

Residents practice during the Firefighting Festival.