On May 7 the public is being invited to witness a wetdown. If you don't know what that means you're not alone.

The invitation to this oddly-named event has come from the Rhinebeck Fire Department but doesn't include much more information including what the heck a wetdown is. According to the Rhinebeck mayor's office, the wetdown is expected to be a huge celebration with lots of fanfare and something residents should "bring the kids for sure."

After seeing several announcements about this event, I was still honestly confused as to what a wetdown was. The fire department simply says "Mark your calendars and join us for our open house event and wetdown celebration," as if they expect everyone to know what that means. I started to wonder if I was just really ignorant and had never heard of something that everyone else apparently knows all about.

After heading to the Internet I was relieved to find out that I wasn't the only one who was clueless as to what a wetdown was. Thanks to some searching, I discovered that a wetdown is actually a pretty sacred ceremony amongst firefighters and something that seems pretty cool to witness in person. Intrigued, I wanted to learn more.


It turns out that a wetdown ceremony is usually performed when a new firetruck or emergency vehicle is added to the fleet. Firefighters will hose down the new piece of equipment for good luck as a sort of baptism. While this is usually done to dedicate a new vehicle, it can also be done to a fleet after it returns from an especially tough fire, cleaning it and getting it ready for the next call.

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Apparently, Rhinebeck has recently purchased a Horton Type 1 ambulance, and according to the mayor's office, the wetdown ceremony will be the first chance for many residents to check it out in person. Not only will this vehicle be christened, but the department's Rosenbauer Commander Rescue vehicle purchased last year will also be a part of the ceremony.

Rhinebeck Fire Department/Canva
Rhinebeck Fire Department/Canva

The wetdown celebration will also include food trucks, raffles, demonstrations, kids' activities, and more. Those who are interested can join in on the fun on May 7 starting at 11am at the Rhinebeck Fire Department on East Market Street.

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