Chiefs Decide to Rescind Label Action
After Considerable Discussion the Members of International Association of Fire Engineers Decide on This Move—Excerpts from Official Proceedings of the Jubilee Convention
THE following are excerpts from the proceedings of the second day’s sessions of the Golden Jubilee convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers.
Following the reports of the treasurer, Chief Peter B. Carter of Camden. N. J., and of the secretary, Chief James J. Mulcahey, of Yonkers, N. Y., were read and ordered on file and votes of thanks were tendered each officer.
CHIEF SAM A. BOYD, of Knoxville, Tenn.—I will ask, with the co-operation of the gentlemen here, that the gentleman read the caption of these papers. They will all go in the proceedings, and we can read them at home. We will not waste our time. We have a lot of work to do, and I believe it would facilitate matters if he would read the caption and explain about what is in it, and go on and proceed with the reading of the papers that we are liable to discuss later. If that is agreeable to the association, Mr. President, I make that as a motion.
(The motion was seconded from the floor.)
THE President—It is moved and seconded that these papers or these reports be read only by the caption. All in favor of that say “aye.” Opposed, “no.” The ayes have it, and it is ordered.
A Delegate—I didn’t quite get the gist of the preliminary part. Some action was rescinded at some meeting. Was that part of the secretary’s report?
THE Secretary—That is the recommendation of the board of directors of this body assembled today that the action taken relative to uniform labels, at our meeting at Atlanta, be rescinded.
CHIEF Boyd—That is a matter that can be taken up at any time that any of you gentlemen want to have it discussed. It is for this body to decide what they shall do.
CHIEF DONOVAN, of Greenville, Miss.—I think there is some misunderstanding about that resolution last year at Atlanta. My understanding is that the intention was not that the association should go on record to put its stamp on any apparatus, if I understand it correctly. I think that what the association wants to do is to have the manufacturers bring them here to exhibit them letting us test them and if found all right let them go to the cities by which they have been purchased. If the machines do not pass the test they should be returned to the factory. That is my understanding. I may be mistaken. I would like to hear from someone older than I am on that.
THE President—I believe, for the benefit of the convention, that this action of the board of directors should be read and then a motion made as to how to dispose of it, so that you will thoroughly understand the recommendation by the board of directors at the preliminary meeting. All that we can do about that is to get the minutes of the Atlanta convention relative to the recommendation of the committee which has been appointed. This recommendation of the board of directors has been read, and it is that we rescind the action taken at the Atlanta convention appointing that Labels Committee.
CHIEF Boyd—As a member of the board of directors that voted for that motion, I think the subject of this action that we took was to create a label, as it were. We were supposed to label everything that we approved. I don’t know how you gentlemen are situated, but for twenty-two years I have recommended to my board that which I thought was best for my city, regardless of anybody’s label or anybody’s idea in regard to it. I don’t think that this association can go so far as to place a label on everthing pertaining to fire service. I might have an idea that a certain piece of hose was better for my department than some other piece, and that hose might not have a label on it. I might think that a certain pumper was better for me, and, as I take it, the majority of chiefs are going to get that which they want. I say the majority, not all. Unfortunately, many chiefs do not receive that which they recommend, or that which they think is best for their cities; but I do not think that it is going to help any to put a label on. I am not going to let a label interfere with me, and I am not going to allow it to guide me in any purchases that I make. I may not know as much as someone else. If I do not, I am going to ride around to some of those that I think are experienced men, and that have used certain articles of things of that kind and get their opinion, and then mine will be based upon their experience. We felt that it was such a big thing that the association could not handle it—that is, to place a label on everything. Every man can look into the merits of every piece of apparatus, and have everything pertaining to his department, and he is going to come to a conclusion as to whether it is best for him to have it, regardless of whether it has a label on it, or not. I thinks that was passed last year, we all thought this resolution probably was a good thing, and that it was reaching forward in a progressive way, and we voted for it. I don’t know. The chances are that I voted for it, but I don’t think that this association is in a position to place labels on things that pertain to the various departments. I think it is purely a matter that the individual chief is going to be guided by, and if he thinks it is what he ought to have, the average commissioner will put the responsibility on him and say, “If that is what you want, that is what I will buy, and I will hold you responsible for the result.” The resolution ought to be rescinded.
CHIEF ARMSTRONG, of Kingston, Ontario, Canada—Might I ask for information of those who were not at Atlanta last year, and some of us who were, that the motion and action taken on the matter referred to at that time, be read to the convention.
THE SECRETARY, (Reading)—“By Chief W. Haney, of Jacksonville, Florida, the following resolution to which he made reference at the previous date: ‘Resolved, that this association hereby adopt a “uniform label for all apparatus, appliances, and fire protection devices, and fire department supplies, which have been or may hereafter be approved by this association
in convention assembled, and that a committee to be known as the Committee on Standards and Uniform Labels be added to the standing committees of the association; and further that the secretary shall, when authorized so to do by the committee, furnish to the manufacturers of approved apparatus or material an authority under the seal of the association to use the label on their goods. The said committee shall have power to adopt the design of such label, and to fix the price at which the label shall be sold by the secretary, and to require that such tests as they may determine shall be conducted each year under the direction of the committee on exhibits before recommending that the endorsation of the association be given such apparatus, appliances, devices, or materials.’ Seconded by Chief R. A. Foster.”
THE Secretary—The resolution by the board of directors is as follows:
“In accordance with the constitution of your board of directors convened and in session in the Municipal Building at the city of San Francisco, California, May 22, 1922, all of the officers and directors being present, it was unanimously resolved that the said board of directors recommend to the association at their fiftieth annual convention that the resolution relative to uniform labels adopted at the 49th annual convention of the same at the city of Atlanta. Georgia, October 11-14, 1921, be rescinded.”
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Chiefs Decide to Rescind Label Action
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CHIEF NICKERSON, of Wildwood, N. J.—As I understand it, we are not rescinding the action of the last convention; we are only accepting the recommendation of the hoard of directors. Is that so? I just ask that question.
CHIEF RINGER, of Minneapolis. Minn—I don’t know whether we all thoroughly understand this matter, or not, but I want to explain my vote, as a member of the board of directors. It seems to me that in attempting what seemed to be usurping the functions of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, by this organization, that we were taking ourselves entirely too seriously. I don’t believe that we are either qualified or equipped to pass upon pieces of apparatus and fire appliances, for the reason that we are not technical men. We are only practical men. And the National Board of Underwriters maintains an expensive laboratory for just that very purpose, and hire the best engineers that money can hire, and I do not feel that we are qualified. There may be a few who feel that they are, but for one, I feel that we are not qualified. I am not qualified to pass judgment and label apparatus. For that reason I though that we were attempting to usurp the functions of a board that is prepared to handle that situation; and they are prepared in a way to enforce it; we have no way of enforcing it. It would simply be a recommendation on our part, and I do not believe that this organization ought to go into the label business.
CHIEF McNARREY—I believe that all the older members who went to Milwaukee, to the Milwaukee Convention, will remember what we did on labeling hose. Only two men sat down and the rest of us stood, and we ordered that we would accept nothing that the Underwriters label “hose.” I believe that I was the first one to buy 5,000 feet of that hose, and I sent 63 sections of that hose back. I think at the next meeting we rescinded the proceedings of the previous meeting, as we are doing to the resolution adopted by the convention last year. I do not believe that we are here to he critics. Every city cannot buy the same apparatus that the larger cities buy. The commissioners do not feel like giving you what you want, because they have not money enough. I will state that I am against an such action on the floor by any other convention from now on. Let every man pick what he wants, and it is up to him if he does not get the best. I therefore would put this motion, that this body of men here take a rising vote whether they are for or against our committee or board of directors. I move you that we have a rising vote that we be against it now.
CHIEF BYWATER, of Salt Lake City—It is within the province of this organization, to rescind any resolution that was passed at any previous convention, upon a rising vote of the members of this organization present. And I therefore move you that it be resolved by the International Association of Fire Chiefs in convention in the city of San Francisco, on August 15, 1922, that the action on the resolution at the city of Atlanta be hereby rescinded.
A DELEGATEI second the motion.
THE PRESIDENT—Gentlemen, you have heard the motion by Chief Bywater. All in favor say “Aye.” Contrary, “No.” The ayes have it, an it is so ordered.
(To be continued)