Aims of British Institution of Fire Chiefs
The Institution of Fire Engineers, a British association, has recently issued the proceedings of its second annual conference, which took place at Edinburgh, Scotland, on July 9 and 10, 1925, and the aims of the body are set forth as “an institution the objects of which are to promote, encourage and improve the science of fire extinction, fire protection and fire engineering.”
In an address on what the institution hopes to accomplish and its work, Chief A. Pordage, firemaster of Edinburgh, the first secretary and newly elected president of the institution, said in part:
“The first council consisted of a small band of chief officers and firemasters of the leading fire brigades of the country, who were actuated in their endeavours solely out of the jealous regard they hold for their profession.
“The raison d’etre of the institution has been manifested by the necessity for more scientific methods in fire fighting and fire protection of the community.
“The National scale of pay and conditions in the fire service are now such as to attract men of good education and standing, and by opening the Service to this class of men the municipalities are not imposing any additional economic burden on their respective communities.
“It is daily becoming more apparent that the responsibilities of the Executive Officer and personnel of a Fire Brigade in the discharge of their functions in maintaining the efficiency of the highly technical equipment and in fire fighting, are such that they cannot and should not be shared by any other departmental authority. The requirements, the training and discipline are so complex and different from any other municipal organization that it is necessary in the interests of the community that the Fire Brigade should be controlled by its own organization.
“The Institution already includes Chief Officers and Firemasters of the principal Brigades in Great Britain and Ireland, India, South Africa, Australia, Shanghai, Penang and Singapore; the principals of the leading Fire Engine Manufacturers and Fire Assessors. There are also Hydraulic Engineers and Consulting Analytical Chemists prominent in fire research work.
“There are several important factors governing the fire service which may properly receive the serious consideration of the Institution, some of which were included in the recommendations to Parliament by the Royal Commission’s report, 1924, an outstanding item being that of cooperation between several independent brigades in circumscribed areas each possessing certain units of material localized by the assessable value of its territory and which, though adequate for coping with 95 per cent of fires, are wholly inadequate to cope with the remaining 5 per cent of what may be really serious fires bordering on conflagration.
“By a recognized system of cooperation, groups of Brigades would be available to respond to the contingency of the moment, and prevent what usually becomes an inevitable disaster before assistance from outside the area is summoned. It requires no stretch of imagination to compile an effective organization between local authorities possessing efficient units for combined operations in an emergency.
“Another matter which requires elucidation is whether our methods of fire extinction are keeping pace with the advance made by building construction and sciences employed in manufactures and storage of commodities. I think it will be generally agreed that progress in commerce should not be retarded by lack of protection and preventive measures, but that both sides should advance together.
“With the increase in the height and dimensions of our stores, factories and mills, in which immense capital is invested, the fire protection methods and equipment must not be found wanting, not necessarily in numbers of units but in effective powers of dealing with the increasing problems and responsibilities created by the progress of the age.
“There is also a large field for research in the direction of the mechanical side of the service: there is food for thought on the part of the engineer as to whether he is producing the essentially necessary type of fire-fighting equipment. We must jealously guard the effective engineering requirements to see that the Fire Service does not become a by-product of the motor industry.
“I fear that instead of the effective fire pump being the prime factor of the motor combination, it is frequently the secondary consideration and adapted to the standard motor engine. It must, of course, bo admitted that the maximum engine horsepower is absorbed by the pump as against power absorbed on the road, consequently the engine power must be adapted to provide tne requisite pump efficiency.”