Directing Fire Apparatus to Houses Without Numbers in Private Developments

Directing Fire Apparatus to Houses Without Numbers in Private Developments

Deputy Chief John Spencer

THE Country Club Grounds at Dongan Hills, Staten Island, New York City, comprise an area of about one and one half square miles, containing about eighty residences, the Country Club house, and a large girls’ school.

The roads are winding and irregular in layout because they have to be accommodated to the rolling contour of the ground, and because there is a rise of about three hundred feet between the south and north sides of the Country Club grounds.

Many of the roads have sign posts at the intersections but very few of the houses have numbers, so that it is almost impossible to locate any given residence without asking directions from some local resident.

The Dongan Hills Improvement Society sought to remedy this condition by preparing a map which would show the location of every house, so that a stranger could find any house without asking questions and wasting time.

At my suggestion the improvement Society then prepared another map which shows the numbers assigned to every house, and either on the reverse side of the map, or on a separate sheet, is shown the names of every resident, the number of his house, and the location of his house on the map.

To make this information instantly available when wanted, each house is furnished with a large red tag which reads “FIREPOLICE,” “HOUSE NO. —,” (with the number of the particular house inserted).

Each house owner attaches this tag to his telephone, so that in case of fire he calls for the Fire Department and says “This is house number . . . (giving the number on his tag) in the Country Club Grounds, Dongan Hills.”

The Fire Department operator at headquarters receives this message, including perhaps the name of the house owner, and immediately directs the proper Engine House to proceed to “House No. . . . (giving house number), Country Club Grounds,” but not until he has checked the number and name on his own map and list of owners names.

The Engine House also has its own map and list of owners on its desk for easy reference, as well as a waterproofed copy of the map with list of names on the reverse side, rolled in a fiber tube, and carried under the seat of the leading piece of apparatus, so that the fireman riding beside the driver can direct

him, if necessary, while they are proceeding to the fire. Each Chief also carries a similar waterproofed copy of the map, with owners names, in a fiber tube, in his own car, so that he can reach the fire from whatever part of the island he may be in, when the alarm comes.

The house owner’s red tag attached to his telephone is marked “FIRE-POLICE” because the same system works with the Police Department, which has similar maps at the Police Station House, and in the cars of the patrolmen who may be sent to any given house.

Since the system has been installed it has been tried several times and has worked perfectly, to the great satisfaction of both the Fire and Police Departments and the house owners.

Map of Country Club Grounds at Donqan Hills, Statan Island, N. Y. The large black circles indicate fire alarm boxes while the black quarter circles represent the location of dummy fire alarm boxes to be replaced by regular boxes as soon as local conditions warrant the change. The rectangles represent houses and the numbers alongside help in directing apparatus, in accordance with a chart.

To maintain the greatest efficiency it is desirable to have occasional tests, and periodical inspections of the red tags on the house owners telephones. The Dongan Hills Improvement Society undertakes to make the inspections of the red tags, and the Fire and Police Departments carry out whatever tests they deem necessary.

It is only fair to say that the development and inauguration of this system again proves the alertness and efficiency of the New York Fire Department in preparation for, as well as actual fire fighting.

Instruction Card to Resident in the Development

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