“Clear the Way for Firemen”
Under the above title, the New York Evening World refers editorially to the menace to the firemen of reckless, indifferent and careless drivers on the public highways and streets. The words of this New York daily would easily apply to other cities, both large and small:
“The almost Sabbath calm of the Fourth in New York was a great relief to firemen, not only because of the scarcity of fireworks likely to start blazes, but even more because the streets were more nearly clear of traffic than usual. Chief Kenlon has repeatedly addressed various organizations telling them that he fears the trips his men make to fires more than the hazard at the fires, where they arc protected by discipline and experience.
“On the streets the firemen are at the mercy of irresponsible drivers of motor cars, and victims of slackness in police supervision of traffic when fire apparatus is on the way. When the siren or the clanging bell of a fire engine sounds, motorists are supposed either to swing to the curb and stop or go to the first cross street and turn to the side. The police used to enforce these rules, but have grown indifferent. Patrolmen stand and watch the apparatus go by instead of clearing the way.
“Time was when every policeman was a traffic cop when the engines were speeding. Now too much of the traffic regulation is left to the Traffic Squad, and there are not enough traffic police to safeguard the firemen. Two safety movements should guard the men on the motor apparatus that now travels at speeds more dangerous than when horses furnished the power.
“Motorists ought to remember the rules when the warnings sound. And the Police Department ought to discipline patrolmen who fail to enforce the rules.”