CHARTS TO HALT FACTORY FIRES IN NEWARK
In keeping with its fire prevention campaign of education, the fire department of Newark, N. J., is hard at work placing in factories and the largest office residence buildings of the city the recently prepared cards on which are given instructions for action to be taken immediately upon the starting of a fire, or its discovery. More than 3,000 factories have been listed, as well as other buildings, which are regarded as the most important to have covered in every possible manner against fire risks. Many of the cards have been distributed, and in every instance they were welcomed and promised a prominent place in the building by the owners or occupants. the disposition on every hand being apparently to aid the fire department and the bureau of combustibles and lire risks in the work. In every instance there was agreement with the authorities that in fire, as in disease, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” There are upward of 600 factories or manufacturing establishments in Newark and within a comparatively short time all will have posted in them at least one of the new cards, which are being distrubuted under the direction of the board of fire commissioners and Chief Engineer Paul J. Moore, and through the medium of the combustibles bureau and the inspectors under command of Captain C. Albert Gasser and the 85 fire companies of the city and their commandants. The 3,000 establishments which were taken in hand first are those which are regarded as the most important from the viewpoint of the firemen. Following the complete covering of those, the remaining factories will be taken up in the order of their size or importance. After this will come an equally systematic covering with the cards of instruction of the office buildings and stores of the city, taken in the order of size and importance of incation, construction and uses. Next will come the frame, brick and stone apartment houses in the residential sections, in the order named, and when all this has been accomplished it is now said to he likely that steps will be taken to have the cards placed gradually in every dwelling in the city, and eventually in each apartment or rooms occupied by separate families. In other words, it is proposed to follow the campaign for the education of the people in fire prevention to the very last point. It is the plan of the fire authorities to have in the end such a condition that there will he not a place within doors anywhere in the city that will he without plainly set forth instructions which, if followed in time of emergency, will result in the saving of property and lives.
In doing all of this it is expected to follow out a plan of procedure such as already inaugurated. I he captain of each fire company prepared a list of the largest and most important places shown on the company books, as found in the regular inspection of the district, and forwarded it to the bureau of combustibles where the cards were prepared by filling in the number on the blank picture of a fire box, which is one of the features of the cards, and by also writing in the space just under the cut the exact location of the box. and the quickest and easiest manner in which it can be reached in time of need, all directions being taken from the location of the factory or other building in which the card is to be displayed. The cards, thus prepared, were then sent to the fire houses as rapidly as possible for distribution by the company members on their tours of inspection. Others of the cards were distributed by the inspectors of the bureau of combustibles, who devote all their time to looking after factory and other buildings. In the earliest distribution care was taken to cover all garages, theaters and other structures which are looked upon by the authorities as extra hazardous at all times, to both property and lives, in the event of a fire breaking out
About 12 x 20 inches in size, the card is neatly pruned in black and white, with the cut of the lire box in red and the words, “Fire Alarm Telegraph Station” on its face. “Keep This Card Before You,” is the injunction at the very top of the card, under which is printed “Nearest Fire Mann Box.” Then conies the box with a number corresponding to the station nearest to the pomt at which the card is to be displayed, and immediately thereunder is the location of the box. Below this is the following in easily discernible black type:
“How to Send in an Alarm of Fire—Open door, pull hook down all the way once, then let go; close the door arid wait for the apparatus to arrive, and then direct the firemen where to go; the mere opening of the door does not send in an alarm. Further Directions—In case ot hre send some one _____mmediately to this box to give the alarm, and also telephone to lire headquarters, 1825 Market. Be sure to tell Central that it is a fire call Do not delay in sending in the alarm. After sending in the alarm and pending the arrival of the firemen, use every means in your power and all facilities to check the progress of the flames. The firemen will do the rest.”
Besides distributing the cards, the fire department will keep a careful record of where each card is left and will subsequently make certain that the cards are being properly displayed, and that factory employes are aware of their existence and importance in case of fire, both in the interest of the property of their employers and of their own lives. Every member of the board of lire commissioners, as well as Chief Moore, Chief Inspector Gasser, of the combustibles bureau, and the lire company captains, is enthusiastic over the card distribution and believes that it is one of the longest and best steps toward the prevention and public education along those lines that has ever been taken in this city. That great need for the educational work is shown by the records of disastrous fires in the last few years in Newark, which would never have amounted to more than a trifling blaze if the instructions now being given had been followed out, instead of persons who discovered the fire making desperate efforts to pul it oat he I ore giving any outside alarm, wall the result that the blaze was even beyond the control of the. firemen when the latter were finally summoned and arrived on the scene, and great loss of property and lives was the consequence in the cases in mind, taken as a whole. In some of these cases the fire had gained such headway before the hi omen were summoned that while the latter were on the way to the scene they were alarmed by the flames at distances of many blocks and second alarms were sent out by them before the apparatus responded to the first alarm had reached the place of action. Investigations in some of the cases also disclosed the fact that factory employes, even those in the offices, were utterly unaware of the location of the nearest fire box or how to reach it, and they had never been charged with the duty of telephoning to fire headquarters as one of the first things to do in time ot need. In the view of the fire department officials of all grades, such conditions as these arc little, if any, short of criminal, as they invariably lead to large property losses when fire comes and often result in the loss of one or more lives and injury to many others, as was the case in the memorable High street fire of November 26, 1 p 10. In regard to happenings of that kind.
Captain Gasser, of the combustibles bureau, said last week:
“We believe that in Ihe cards which are now being sent out, and the manner of their distribution and the subsequent watching of what becomes of them, we have struck just the right thing t” overcome one of the gravest difficulties with which we have had to contend, such as even the owner of a big factory building not knowing the location of the nearest fire box, to sav nothing of employes being in total ignorance thereof. It is just such cases as these, as well as those in which efforts arc made to put out the lire and the alarm given only after the flames have gained the upper hand, that arc responsible for heavy property losses and the loss of lives. People endeavor to put out the fires themselves and then when they find that they cannot fight the flames successfully they summon the public department. If the factory owners of Newark, and the people generally, would only stop and think that the firemen are waiting day and night to respond to calls for their services, and are anxious and willing to lend their aid in times of fire trouble, they would realize that the very best thing to do is to first notify the fire department and then get busy on the flames, pending the arrival ol the professional smoke and flame destroyers. It would be vastly better to answer a hundred alarms and find the fire out when they arrived than to answer one delayed alfitin, and find that the blaze had obtained such headway as to he beyond handling without excessive loss of property, and possible loss of life. If manufacturers want to aid in the work which we are trying to do for lire prevention, they should see at once that some of their employes are carefully instructed in what to do to call out the fire department at the very first sign of fire, and while others are attempting to put out the blaze. 1 he big fires of recent years in Newark arc practically all records of attempts on the part of employes or others to put out a blaze before notifying the public lire department.”