A CLEAR WAY FOR APPARATUS.
In a letter, part of which we publish in another column, Chief A. A. Rozetta, of the fire department of Nashville, Tenn., writes to a local paper, in regard to the importance of street cars, automobiles and other vehicles stopping on the approach of fire apparatus on the way in answer to an alarm. The chief, in referring to this matter, says: “If the street cars will stop immediately after the motorman hears the clang of the first apparatus’ gong or siren; if all traffic, especially automobiles, will seek instanter the right curb and stop; if we can persuade our automobile-owning public to assist and co-operate along the above lines, especially in our congested districts, a great good will be achieved! It is highly important for the efficient operation of the fire department that one side of all ‘one-way’ streets containing street railway tracks remain absolutely clear. In other words, don’t park or stop cars or vehicles on the left-hand side of a one-way street when there is a car track on that street.” Many cities have ordinances on their statute books providing that all such vehicles shall stop on hearing the gong of approaching fire apparatus, but even in cities where such traffic regulations exist the observance of them is often very lax, and where no such laws are in force automobile drivers, especially, far from drawing aside and giving the fast-moving apparatus the right of way, will attempt to outspeed them, to the great peril not only of themselves but of the engines answering an alarm of fire. A strictly enforced ordinance compelling all vehicles to drawn up to the right-hand curb, such as Chief Rozetta suggests, at the sound of the alarm, should be included in the traffic regulations of all cities. A collision with a fire engine not only endangers life and destroys valuable city property, but it may have much more serious and far-reaching results, in allowing the fire to get beyond control, by the delay to the apparatus. This journal has frequently called attention to the importance of getting promptly to fires and protecting the firemen by ordinance from obstruction by vehicular traffic. There should be no impediment in the way of reaching the box from which the alarm was received. Where ordinances are not in force they ought to be adopted at once, as the great value of motor apparatus is in its being able to reach fires in the shortest possible time.