Coming Improvement of the Fire Service
It may be true that “a prophet is not without honor save in his own country,” but when that prophet is extremely optimistic one cannot help being carried away with his enthusiasm. The American fire-fighting forces, besides leading the world, as is acknowledged, in efficiency, both in the matter of equipment and personnel, are, according to Chief Shire of the Rock Island Arsenal, also pioneers in the formation of a fire department, and antedated England by ten years and France by forty in this important particular. Such being the case, it is only natural that the American fire service should increase in efficiency as the years go on in order to maintain the lead it now has in all matters firemanic. Chief Shire looks for a more general adoption of the principle of the paid fire department by small as well as large municipalities in the future; and for the fighting of fire and the prevention of fire to be reduced more and more to the basis of scientific endeavor. The members of the departments will then come into their own and be recognized as ‘‘professional men, skilled and trained.” Chief Shire by his position is perhaps peculiarly adapted to look into the future, as he occupies the unique position of both chief of a plant and commander of a government fire department. That one with so far-seeing a vision can speak with such optimism as to the future is indeed encouraging. Yet, after all, this is only natural, and there is every reason why the American fire service should lead the world in efficiency. The thought of the best minds of the departments are concentrated upon this very problem—the increase in fire fighting skill of the men through intensive training by means of drill schools, drills, study in leisure hours and so on. The departments of the country have the advantage of the finest of apparatus and equipment in the world. It is simply a matter of acquiring the most scientific methods of Fire Fighting and Fire Prevention, and then the possession of the proper skill, physique and courage to carry them out. This, no doubt, the modern tendency toward perfection among the fire-fighting forces of the country will accomplish.