Buffalo, N. Y., Tries New Firebox Colors

Buffalo, N. Y., Tries New Firebox Colors

Harold Becker, Buffalo, N. Y., Fire Commissioner, recently announced a program aimed at regaining the city’s Class 2 fire insurance rating by the National Board of Fire Underwriters.

Tests were being made with white and yellow paints to determine which was more effective in making Buffalo’s 1400 fire alarm boxes more conspicuous. In its November, 1952, report, the national board assessed the city nine demerit points for not having its fireboxes sufficiently conspicuous.

The board’s report dropped Buffalo to a Class 3 rating.

The box at Main and Mohawk Sts., in Buffalo’s downtown section, was painted white and a box nearby at Main between Chippewa and Tupper Sts., was painted yellow. Commissioner Becker said the traditional red color of the boxes would be changed and the paint sprinkled with reflector beads.

Commissioner Becker said the preferred method of making boxes more conspicuous would be to place lights over them but he estimated this would cost an initial outlay of at least $100,000 and result in high maintenance costs under the department’s present economy budget.

Plans call for correction of national board findings until 169 demerit points are removed. Only 110 are required for re-inspection.

The city’s chief fire officer said he plans to petition for re-inspection by the National Board in July and that it might be done in October.

Other improvements include reconstruction and modernization of the Fireboat W. S. Grattan. The national board assessed 18 points for it. The Grattan was stripped of some of its hose and equipment at its Michigan and Ohio Sts. slip and towed by a tug to the Sturgeon Bay Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wis., for rehabilitation and conversion to diesel operation.

Commissioner Becker said the department’s new amphibian fire-fighting craft and a Coast Guard cutter will handle harbor fires during the Grattan’s absence.

The national board docked the department 29 points on its training program. Commissioner Becker said construction of a long-planned fire college and drill tower will start late this Summer.

Other steps planned and the number of demerit points they will remove are:

  1. A new volatile-liquid code, now awaiting Common Council action. (78).
  2. Redistribution of fire alarm boxes. (13).
  3. Inclusion of more fire equipment such as gas masks, door openers, bailing hooks and other small equipment on trucks. (20).

Commissioner Becker said he also hopes to remove demerit points through improvements in the high-pressure water system.

The chief added that he soon hopes to have all fire hydrants wrapped with a band of reflecting adhesive tape, such as that used on auto bumpers to make them luminous at night. He explained that although firemen know the approximate location of hydrants they are not sure of exact locations.

Sometimes, he said, they pass a hydrant and lose time laying additional hose.

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