COPY OF LETTER FROM DOMINION FIRE COMMISSIONER, J. GROVE SMITH

COPY OF LETTER FROM DOMINION FIRE COMMISSIONER, J. GROVE SMITH

23rd March, 1920.

James Armstrong, Esq.,

Secretary, Dominion Association of Fire Chiefs.

Kingston, Ont.

Dear Chief Armstrong:—

In accordance with your wishes, I beg to submit herewith a memorandum relative to the matters discussed at our recent conference in Ottawa. You will remember that I suggested the advisability of obtaining the views of the Provincial Fire Marshals before we came to a final decision and I subsequently invited Mr. E. P. Heaton, Fire Marshal of Ontario, to visit me and outlined to him the various schemes which we have in mind. You will be pleased to learn that, without committing his Department to the details of our plans, he concurred in the general advisability of promoting the work.

As it is essential to success that we obtain the approval of your Executive committee I will briefly review the questions at issue:

Fire College

  1. In order that the Fire Chiefs of the smaller cities, towns and villages throughout the Dominion, and the subordinate officers of the larger departments, may have an opportunity of undertaking a course of systematic training in fire prevention and protection, it is recommended that a fire college be established in Canada along similar lines to that now conducted in the city of New York.
  2. In our opinion this college should be located at Ottawa for the following, among other reasons:
    1. It would be free from all provincial prejudices, whereas, if located at Toronto or Montreal, it is doubtful if men from other provinces would care to attend.
    2. The equipment for training at Ottawa is at the present time equal to, if not superior to, that in use in New York, and the Ottawa Municipal Council is willing to place at the disposal of such a college all its apparatus and paid instructors.
    3. This Department can arrange with technical experts from the various branches of the Government service to give lectures and demonstrations upon all phases of fire prevention and fire protection work free of cost.
  3. We suggest that the course should follow a syllabus somewhat as follows:
  4. Theory

    Hydraulics and Water Supply; Building Construction; Chemistry of Combustion; Elementary Electricity; Principles of Internal Combustion Engines and Pumping Machinery; Veterinary Work.

    Practice

    Construction, Operation and Care of Horse-drawn and Motor-driven Fire Equipment.

    Fire Fighting and Hose Laying in Various Classes of Buildings.

    Calibration and Estimation of Hose Streams.

    Ladder Work, etc.

    The Inspection of Buildings and Removal of Defects.

    Physical Drill, including Swedish Exercises and Gymnasium Course.

  5. This course would take about six weeks to complete and during this time the men would live in the fire halls and be subject to the same discipline as the Ottawa fire department. No fees would be called for and the total cost of training would be transportation to Ottawa and meals while here. It is thought that the municipalities throughout Canada will be quite ready to release men or pay for this period when approached by the Government to do sfl, and in the case of volunteer departments it is anticipated that other arrangements can be made. Of course, it is not suggested that the chiefs of the larger departments should undertake such training, but we believe that they might, with advantage, select a number of their brightest young officers and send them to Ottawa for training. Our present capacity is limited to about 50 men at one time, but if the scheme is likely to be successful this capacity can be enlarged.

If after discussion, your Executive committee decides that such a college would be in the interests of the Association as a whole, will you be good enough to signify as much by resolution to this Department, and arrange for the selection of a Supervisory Committee to be called the “Fire College Committee.” I would suggest that one of the more prominent chiefs be chosen from each province to form a committee with the fire Marshal of each province and two representatives from the Dominion Fire Prevention Association. This committee would undertake to finally approve the organization working arrangements and course of training that appears desirable.

Advisory Service by Fire Chiefs

I regret that I have so far been unable to obtain the opinion of all the provincial fire marshal departments as to the advisability of establishing an advisory service such as outlined to you.

You might, however, discuss the proposal and obtain the opinion of your members as to the advisability of linking up the chiefs with this Department in such a way as to have available their very valuable services for consultation and advisory work.

There are one or two other matters which I desire to place before your Association, but I feel that it would be premature at this time to ask for their consideration. If it is agreeable, however, I should like to have the opportunity of discussing with the Association at its annual convention a number of questions which very closely affect the fire protection situation in Canada..

Trusting you will convey to your Executive Committee my greetings and hearty good wishes, I am

Yours very faithfully,

J. GROVE SMITH,

Dominion Fire Commissioner

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