CLEANLINESS AS A FIRE PREVENTATIVE.
The importance of cleanliness and the observance of necessary precautions in fire prevention in large manufacturing establishments is again brought to our readers’ attention in an interesting paper in this issue by George S. Brown, on the Carding Departments of Cotton Mills. That large establishments with groups of heavy machinery and great numbers of employees, especially when working on inflammable material, as in the present instance, are particularly susceptible to fires, which arc apt on short notice to grow into great conflagrations, and which often originate from the carelessness or ignorance of the employees, is well known. In fact, from the very nature of these establishments, with men and women of all nationalities, and in some cases not blessed with a superabundance of intelligence, brought together, and with so many of them who have never even heard of fire prevention, it is a marvel that there are so few fires reported. This fact emphasizes the necessity of careful training by these large conconcerns of their employees in the matter of conservation of resources—for fire prevention is indeed the highest form of conservation. That this is true one needs only to glance through the Historical Section of this issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING and read of the enormous losses the world has suffered through fire from the earliest time, to realize. As Mr. Brown tersely remarks, the two things most dreaded by the cotton carder are fire and water, meaning, of course, in the latter instance, the large amount of water necessary to extinguish a blaze in the cotton mill, which has been allowed to get beyond control. And well he may, for this water is very nearly as destructive to some material as is the fire itself. The exercise of coolness and common sense, the writer shows, on the part of the person discovering the fire, coupled with painstaking care and the having on hand of the proper fire extinguishing appliances, will avoid the necessity for the employment of the large amount of water necessary to extinguish a large fire, by checking the blaze while it is in its early stages. Care should also be exercised to see that the fire is thoroughly extinguished, so that no small particles of the inflammable cotton may be smouldering in an out of the way place on the machines to burst into flame when no one is near, probably at night. The tendency of cotton to smoulder for a long time before the flame is fanned to a blaze, makes it a particularly dangerous material to handle as regards fire, and the necessity is urged of neatness and cleanliness on the part of the employees, so that no small particle of the combustible stuff be left in the cards, or other machinery, to become a nucleus for a blaze at some future time. The author emphasizes the necessity of knowing how to handle the fires with intelligence and to the best advantage when they do occur. For instance, in the case of the small fire, not pouring water on the cotton, but sprinkling it, so as to thoroughly wet all portions at once. In other words, the thing needed is to “know how,” use intelligence, with promptness and coolness, which, after all, applies to the treatment of most incipient fires, no matter where they are. To accomplish this end it will be necessary to drill and instruct the employees frequently and with painstaking care, but whatever time is spent in this work will be well repaid by its results.