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Using Bar Keepers Friend at the Firehouse

May 17, 2023

I learned about Firefighters using Bar Keepers Friend at the Firehouse from a retired Firefighter. We sat next to each other at an event and began a conversation. He told me he was retired and then asked what I did. I told him I was a writer, and he asked what I wrote. I said, among other things, I blog. “For example, I blog for Bar Keepers Friend.” He looked at me excitedly and said, “We used that stuff at the Firehouse. It’s the best thing to clean brass. We used it to clean all the brass, including the pole!

Using Bar Keepers Friend at the Firehouse

He told me how they took the original powder and some water to make a paste and then used a rag to spread it on the pole. One Firefighter would work the bottom up and another the top down. They let it sit for a minute or so, wiped it up, and then finished by bringing it to a brassy shine. He may have been putting me on when he told me how they polished it. He said they’d slide down the pole wearing cotton pants and soft cloth gloves to finish the job. They kept their Firehouse spotless, so they’d clean the pole several times a week.


“How do you clean your fire pole? Have at least two juniors start with Bar Keepers Friend. Then rinse and dry. Now have them go to work on it with Mothers polishing wadding. Works great.” Miller 337

Indianapolis Firefighters Museum

I wanted to learn more about Firehouses, so I visited the Indianapolis Firefighters Museum at 728 Massachusetts Ave. in Indianapolis. “In 1996, Local 416 opened the Indianapolis Firefighters’ Museum to celebrate the history of Fire Service in central Indiana and the fire department’s contribution to the Indianapolis community.” The museum is a restored Fire Station, Firehouse Number 2, which had opened in January 1872, but had fallen into disrepair. (Fun fact: this station opened ten years before Bar Keepers Friend was invented!)


“The museum features a 1921 Stutz ladder truck, a 1919 Stutz pumper, a 1941 IFD Shop built pumper, and a 1949 International Harvester pumper refurbished by former Warren Township Fire Department members. In addition, memorabilia, photos, and equipment have been donated by local firefighters.”


When I visited, I chatted with an employee who showed me three brass fire poles that had been salvaged from other Firehouses and pointed out other brass items. There were brass nozzles, spinners, connectors, and Firehouse bells. There were even brass badges, all of which, according to the retired Firefighter, were cleaned and polished with Bar Keepers Friend.


Firehouses are well known for their cleanliness. There are three reasons I’ve repeatedly seen on quorums from Firefighters when asked why they’re so diligent about keeping the Firehouse and equipment clean. First, fire equipment lasts longer when it’s clean and well maintained, the second reason is pride, and finally, is the Firefighters’ health. I think those are good reasons for cleanliness beyond the Firehouse. We are proud that Firefighters use Bar Keepers Friend. Thank you for all you do!

About the Author

Randy Clark is a speaker, coach, and author. He publishes a weekly blog at Randy Clark Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek, and on weekends (after COVID-19), he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. He’s the proud father of two educators; he has four amazing grandchildren and a wife who dedicates her time to helping others. Randy is the author of the Amazon bestseller The New Manager’s Workbook, a crash course in effective management.






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