Advancement of the Fire Fighter of the Future
Optimistic View of Rapid Strides that Members of Fire Service Are Making in Self-Improvement — Future Chief an Engineer—Fire Schools of Future
THERE is an old saying, “As your fire departments are, so is your civilization also.” History will show that America blazed the way for all the modern world in organizing fire departments to meet the menace of fires. The fact that today America has the best fire-fighting system, and Turkey has the worst, is further proof of the statement.
First Law for Paid Firemen in England
It was the great fire in London, England, in 1666, when the city was almost destroyed, that brought about the passage of the first law in England providing for paid firemen. It was in 1700 that Louis XIV. of France organized the first fire company in Paris. In 1429 King Richard of England required that every householder keep a full barrel of water at hand always, but he did not organize a fire department.
America Organized Department Ten Years Before
But ten years before England and forty-four years before France, the new country of America had organized a fire department in New Amsterdam, now the greatest city in the world. New York City. Shortly after Boston organized a department and equipped it with a fire engine, and before very long she will have a two-platoon system and a high pressure system.
It is only reasonable to expect that America should have the best fire fighters, fire equipment, best working conditions, best pay and every effort should be made to equalize and improve the conditions in fire service, so that a square deal can be had by all firemen in America. I cannot help but feel that such is going to be the case, for the record of the International Association of Fire Engineers and the International Association of Fire Fighters have shown that the American firemen in their open methods are going to record progress.
The two platoon has come to stay and the three platoon is coming, and scientific fire-fighting, fire prevention, fire schools and fire colleges worked out of observation and consideration of thousands and thousands of fires will place the firemen of America in the class where they belong—-“professional men,” skilled and trained.
Chief Will Have to Be an Engineer
The fire chief will have to be an engineer, and state laws will compel cities and towns to maintain and operate trained lire departments. At this time, and as never before is this need felt, for the fire game of today has advanced to where it is a profession; it is changed from the days of social standing to a trade—our splendid isolation has been changed by civilization.
Fire Service Must Take Place as Profession
The day of looking at a fireman as a man who has no ambition or trade is gone. It is impossible to turn back, nor do the younger men of the service desire it. They choose rather that fire service shall take its place proudly in the professions of the world, prepared to meet unfalteringly its responsibilities, and to maintain with dignity its just standards of reasonable existence. This demands a degree of preparedness that will secure us against defeat and lend forcefulness to the tone of our standing.
Must Maintain Trained Paid Department
It will be obligatory for each and every city to maintain a trained paid fire department. This service it may not avoid, and it is simply folly for a town or city to plan its life unprepared, to meet this obligation, through lack of training; it is disloyal and cowardly for a city to plan to hold and maintain a fire department and not train, and fit it physically, mentally and morally to combat the enemy fire.
Therefore, an honest performance of the duties of citizenship demands:
First, that each town or city shall learn enough about fire service and its needs to give it proper protection.
Second, that each fireman shall prepare himself reasonably to meet this individual responsibility as a member of its fire department.
Third, that just pay and working conditions be awarded them as members of its department.
Every man who joins the fire service should come highly resolved to make himself a good fireman. He comes, believing the service offers something he wants. In his heart he wants to fight fire, and takes a pride in it, and this type is the American fireman.
Importance of Schooling in the Future
Every member of a department, large or small, will be instructed and advised how efficient results can be obtained. Ventilation is going to be a very necessary duty; proper direction of fire streams; building construction; liability for fire; use of smaller hose for general use; standard strength for companies; size of pumping not to be over 700 gallons and then to be triple combination; more power for fire departments; training of firemen; fire prevention by fire departments; wireless telephones; money for fire departments; standardization of motor fire apparatus, hose, general equipment, training, signal systems, pay, working conditions, pensions, etc.
The Private Plant a Future Power
The private plant and factory will direct and maintain its own fire department headed by a trained fireman. Cities will combine their total fire equipment for the protection of all, and operate under management the same as though they were one large department. Fire stations will be designed more for the comfort of the men than they now are. Children in school will be required to learn the cause of fire, its hazards and its prevention as a regular study, in fact there will be greater co-operation between the citizen and the fireman.
And the day will be passed when the fireman will be called lazy, for he will be given credit for idle moments just like the attorney, banker, cashier, doctor, engineer, figurant, governor, horticulturist, inspector, justice, kinetographer. landlord, machinist, navigator, observer, pastor, quidnuncer, register, superintendent, treasurer, undertaker, veterinarian, wholesaler, xylographer, yachtsman and zincographer.
Fire Department Will Be Improved by Own Members
It is my firm conviction that the welfare of the fireman and the efficiency of the fire department will be improved best by the united efforts of its own members and not by some radical reform of administration, or pet hobby of an individual, because the man who has never felt the effect of smoke on his stomach or head does not appreciate, not alone know, the American Fire Service. For, after all, there will be fires and they must be fought by the firemen and not by the critic.
The world no longer stops to gaze upon the record of a life which has done nothing, but is deeply interested in the man who has invented a way to save a life.
And so we honor the men who save others. Today they are with us in spirit, so let us all justify the existence of the fire department as an engineering organization by its own members.