As early as in the late Middle Ages and during the beginning of modern times, there was a fire station at the Imperial Palace Vienna, and the first fire protection codes also date back to that time. Emperor Leopold I reformed the fire extinguishing code in 1688. The code makes special mention of chimneys (fire inspection). Fatal fire disasters and the subsequent improvement of fire protection caused the Emperor to acquire two firehoses for the Imperial Palace. They were also available to the city of Vienna

The development of fire protection at Vienna Imperial Palace 

On January 27th, 1753, a court fire code was issued for the Imperial Palace Vienna and the surrounding buildings. An excerpt of it reads:

1. The Hauptwache (main fire brigade) at the palace square must be notified immediately of any and all fires in the castle, riding school, library, ballroom, or opera house.

The captain on duty must notify the chamber office, but must, at the same time, send out two trambours, who (as soon as they reach Michaelerplatz Square) beat the drum. One must walk to Hof (city armoury) via Kohlmarkt. The other to St. Peter’s Church.

2. Accesses must be occupied by the military guard; the fire inspectors must take over control immediately. The auxiliary forces and craftsmen must gather at the Castle Square (Burgplatz).

3. Infantry and cavalry must not force anyone with beatings to help take out the fire, but instead approach people in a friendly manner. Idle gawkers, however, shall be banished.

4. In case of fire in the Palace, the main gate towards the suburbs must remain locked day and night; no one but military, Swiss Guard (who have orders to gather immediately in any cases of fire hazards at the palace), and several other persons must be granted access.

5. Special dispositions are also made for fires in certain locations around the palace (such as towards Schaufflergasse Street).

Around 1820, the Imperial Palace Vienna had its own fire brigade, which was independent from the city of Vienna. It was set up in the large court stables outside the Outer Palace Gate (Äußeres Burgtor), in the so-called Feuerleutstöckel, and there was a round-the-clock firehose service. Four postillions were responsible for the firehose car and its horses and cart. The horses for the fire hose cart and the passenger coach had to be placed in a particular spot in the stables so that they would be available immediately in case of need.

In a note dated 1837, the Vienna Municipal Authority notified the Hofmarschall that the court hose may stay in the inner city, though it would be useful for firefighting in the suburbs as well. It was proposed that the court hose should always move out with an additional carriage with extinguishing water, which could also be used for operations in the inner parts of the city.

In 1866, the court hose was transferred from the carriage and coach house to the imperial castle at Augarten Park. It seems that it was no longer state of the art for use at the Imperial Palace.

In 1883, a fire extinguishing code was published for the garrison Vienna and Concurrenz, which laid down the rules on where the provided on-call firemen had to go for their tasks. Point VI treated a case of fire in the Imperial Palace

During the 1970s, the first fire detection systems were installed in the wings of the palace. Fire guards specially hired by Burghauptmannschaft patrol the imperial palace day and night. After the fire in and reconstruction of the Redouten hall wing, the Vienna Imperial Palace received its own site, extinguishing, and reconnaissance operation.

The number of fire detection systems has now gone up to 23. From six detector groups to large systems with several hundred detector groups (including optical smoke detectors, heat detectors, VESTA detectors to linear detectors and, of course, pushbutton alarms). They still keep the historic look in mind.

The six gas extinguishing systems are certainly a highlight; they serve as defensive fire protection in the different archives and in the internal memory and server rooms. A sprinkler system was installed in the newly built congress centre. The entire Palace premises have 27 surface hydrants and more than 400 wall hydrants. The number of different fire extinguishers amounts to more than 1000. Fire zones and fire doors were installed in the historical buildings, as well as smoke ventilation systems in the stairwells.

The fireproofing updates and the continuous improvement of the fire protection measures on the premises of the imperial palace allow for intervention as early as during the emergence stage of fires.