CITY AID IN COUNTRY DISTRICTS.
The custom of city fire departments going to the aid of country districts when fires occur is one of those excellent customs which experience shows can be taken an unfair advantage of yet it is in a proper adjustment of the making of such calls for aid and of the payment therefor that the remedy lies rather than in the discontinuance of a custom that has been of great good. The views of Chief Bernard J. Reilly, of Ithaca, N. Y., on this subject were referred to in last week’s issue of this journal and now from Erie, Pa., comes a report that Safety Director Henry Kessler has asked the advice of the City Commissioners as to refusing hereafter to respond to calls on the fire department from outside the city limits. Such calls have been coming frequently, he stated, and often for trivial fires, citing a recent instance of an eight-mile run at the end of which the firemen were informed they were not needed. He points out that while the firemen are away on such calls their services might be needed in the city and he also commented on the fact that the city bears the entire expense of upkeep of the department while the whole countyfeels free to call on it. It may well be that suburban and country districts that should have fire protection equipment of their own depend on the department of the nearest city and would feel compelled to have such equipment if it were not for that nearby city and such reliance upon the kindness of others is to be discouraged when it means a lack of proper effort on one’s own part and to allow that nearby city to shoulder all the expense of such fire service is adding to the injury and all points the need for just and equitable arrangements whereby cities will not needlessly be called upon to extinguish fires in country districts, whereby the cities may be called upon in time of real need and moreover providing for fair recompense for such service.