yeah james is right, dalmations were chose because of how protective they are and their loyalty. Also dalmations were easy to train, so back in a time when each department was trying to be better than the other on scene at an incident these dogs were used to protect the equipment from being sabotaged
The history behind the dalmation was, back in the old days when the horse drawn engines, dogs use to come out and attack the horses pulling the engine. The dalmation was the "protector" of the Horse drawn engines and ran along them and protected the horses from other dogs attacking.
I always heard that the dalmation wasn't afraid of the horses and would run between them or just in front of them to alert other "traffic" that a fire carraige was coming through. Guess that might not be right huh?
Here is my take on it...... The dalmation has been associated with horse drawn carriages since before the fire service used them. There are still competitions in which they compete in this task. The dalmation may have been used originally by fire departments to keep away other dogs on runs, but the were also used to keep competing fire companies away. This goes back to when the only fire companies that got paid were the first to put water on the fire and they would literally fight to get to be that company. The dogs are very territorial and work well for this job.