Atlanta and the Chiefs
The time is approaching for the forty-ninth annual convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers, which occurs on October 11 to 14. and fire chiefs throughout the country are naturally turning their eyes toward Atlanta. The city or town governments who have not yet acted in appropriating funds to defray the expenses of the chief at this convention should do so at once.
It is hardly necessary here to point out the many reasons why the head of the fire department should attend this gathering. He needs, and his department needs, the stimulation that meeting with other chiefs will give him in carrying forward the work of the coming year. The new ideas which he will receive by contact with these other men who are facing and overcoming problems similar to his own will be of inestimable value to him. his men, and to the city for which he labors and which he and his men guard from the danger of conflagration.
But important as it is for the chief to attend the Atlanta convention and for his city to send him we feel very strongly that the municipal governments should go a step further. There is a class of men who are, next to its head, the most important element in the composition of. the fire department and who are logically the successors of the chief. These are the assistant or deputy chiefs and it is almost as important that these men should keep up-to-the-minute in matters of Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention as it is for the head of the department himself. Therefore we believe that it will be good policy for the municipal governments to see to it that not only the chief but also his deputies become members of the I. A. F. E., and that they attend the convention at Atlanta. By so doing municipalities will receive double value in the added knowledge acquired by these officers. And the result will be increased efficiency all along the line in the personnel of the departments down to the latest recruit. Send the chiefs!
The lesson of the fire at Aylmer in the Province of Quebec, Canada, described in this week’s issue, is almost too plain to need pointing out. If the town had spent a few hundred dollars in an efficient fire apparatus the conflagration would not have occurred. As it was the small number of men in the department, equipped only with hose, were helpless to stay the onrush of the flames and by the time the outside help arrived from Hull and Ottawa, prompt as it was, the fire was beyond control and the town was almost wiped out. Thus a little foresight would have saved many thousands of dollars and much suffering.
There have been devised many unique methods of fire fighting, but it remained for the French to adopt cider as a fire extinguisher. At a blaze which had already burned eight residences in the village of Moustoir-Remungol and which threatened the town with destruction, the water supply suddenly gave out. The firemen thereupon requisitioned a large amount of cider in tanks and hogsheads nearby, which they pumped upon the fire and quickly extinguished it. The despatch is silent as to whether the cider was of the hard or soft variety.
Those in attendance at the New England convention who took advantage of the opportunity given them to visit the Bridgeport municipal sewage treatment plant and pumping station witnessed the operation of what is said to he the largest and most complete plant of its kind in the United States. The substructure itself was sunk as a caisson, with 90 feet outside diameter. The whole remarkable piece of engineering skill is designed with a harmony of construction and detail that is as remarkable as is its completeness. The Riensch-Wurl screens in operation alone were worth the trip, not to speak of the other engineering feats involved in the plant’s construction.