Philadelphia’s Antique Alarm System

Issue 1 and Volume 55.

Philadelphia’s Antique Alarm System “The Philadelphia fire department is 20 years behind time. It loses 20 seconds on each alarm of fire. The 1,000 firemen and officers here are needlessly roused out of bed an average of two and three times a night because of out-of-date alarm apparatus. Local insurance companies are losing thousands of dollars every year because of these deficiencies.” Such statements were made by Acting Fire Chief Meskill and Clayton W. Pike, chief of the electrical bureau. Fire employes’ grievances have assumed the form of a monster protest directed principally against the existing “joker” system of giving alarms, which rouses them unnecessarily from sleep a score and more times a week. The “joker” system, according to statements by the men, has been the curse of the service for the last 20 years. It works in this manner: When a fire alarm reaches the central office a general…

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