Imagine a world where houses are fire proof, highways are ten lanes across, and firemen are called to begin fires not to put an end to them. In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, all of these are a reality in everyday life. Each house in the novel is fireproof, bringing about drastic changes in the roles of firefighters. Firefighters now begin fires, rather than extinguish them as they do today. On a number of occasions throughout the novel, the mechanical hound appears. This is a robotic dog at the firehouse which takes the place of the common firehouse Dalmatian that today's society is familiar with. In the world in this novel, if people were reported to have books in their possession, the books as well as the home in which they were being hidden would be destroyed by the firefighters. The views of society towards literature are the opposite of today's society. Changes in technology, attitudes of people in society, partnered with many other events in the story contribute greatly to the science fiction theme in Fahrenheit 451.
In the novel the role of firefighters has changed drastically. Firefighters are called to burn books, as well as the houses that the books are being stored in, instead of extinguishing fires. "And so when houses were finally fire-proofed completely, all over the world, there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes." Captain Beatty explaining to Guy Montag why the roles of firemen have changed. (58). On the wall of the firehouse is posted a set of rules of how firemen are now supposed to go about their jobs. "Answer the alarm, start fire, burn everything, return to firehouse, stand alert for other alarms." (35). "Kerosene." "They pumped the cold fluid from the numbered 451 tanks strapped to their shoulders, they coated each book, they pumped rooms full of it." (38). After responding to an alarm, the men are drenching the house of an old woman with kerosene because the house held books inside it.