If you found yourself in Liverpool in the late 18th century it wouldn’t have been entirely unexpected to witness a fire, threatening stocks of tobacco, sugar and cotton that arrived daily and were stored in hurriedly built warehouses, sheds and storage yards.
Still, you might be surprised to observe two separate troops responding to the emergency simultaneously. Naturally, one would be the fire brigade itself. More notably, though, the other group rushing on to the scene would be a salvage corps, dedicated to mitigating the effects of the fire and of fire-fighting activities, primarily to salvage both premises and goods.
Over time, the fire brigade came to prioritize efforts to prevent unnecessary loss and damage, eliminating the need for a separate salvage corps. Today, loss control and salvage are essential functions of a modern fire service.