Discipline for Fire Departments.
The subject assigned me, “Standards of Drill and Discipine of Fire Departments.” is one of great interest to all of us. I am afraid I cannot do it justice. Drills and discipline are the two most important of all the details connected with the management of fire departments From the village chief to the commander of our largest departments. “Drills and Discipline” require out strictest attention, tor without either no department can successfully cope with the foe that knows IM mercy. Drills and discipline per force of necessity must he wherever officered liodieof men exist. The “Bible of Discipline” ann “Hymn Book of Drills.” if I max so express myself, are the only guides that will lead us on to the Promised Land of Protection. With even chief in this audience listening to this paper are their own particular, and seeming sometimes to outsiders peculiar ideas of drills and discipline. 1 am aware of this, and with this knowledge present, I intend to confine my paper to a recital of methods 1 myself follow. In other words. I wish to preach to you what my practices are. For a number of years, the importance of practical drills for engine and truck companies was realized by me. Quick hitches, quick arrivals at signal stations and quick throwing of water are always gratifying to heads of lire departments, hut these features sink into insignificance if tires cannot be effectively coped with. Our men must have such a training from practical drills as to he able to intelligently obey commands, and to obey them with the rapidity and precision which onlv effective drills can produce. In Denver we nibbled at the bait for a long time. We brought men and apparatus into the business districts early mornings and put them climbing lire escapes with charged leads of hose and raising ladders on office and store buildings, and while this gave some practical training, it fell far short of what we wanted. 1 had no plans, hut the words “Drill Tower” seemed to solve everything for me. I decided on plans for just such an addition to the Denver fire department, with the result, thanks to a progressive mayor and fire commissioner, that a structure 71 feet high. 13 feet square, built upon a cement base six feet deep with holts in cast iron sockets, in which are set 12 x 12 posts, was in place. There are ii “stories.” that is windows to supposed floors. Each “story” has its landing, and there are interior stairs leading to the top. and the center a well. The exterior is equipped with a regulation fire escape, and stand-pipe connections. One side is especially constructed for Pompier and life saving work. This tower was constructed in 1909 under my supervision by the lire department carpenter at a total cost of $2,000. During the months ot May, June. July and August and September, one engine company from each district and a truck company are on the ground working at 5 o’clockeach morning, excepting Saturdays and Sundays. With this arrangement, four engine companies and one truck company report on drill mornings. Each, company is required to make four ascents on the tower, all four working at the same time. Two -nterior and two exterior ascents are made. Interior ascents are made by stairway and well; exterior ascen’.s by a (15-foot ladder, hand raised, and 35 foot aerial extension ladder. All ascents are made with charged leads of hose. Truckmen are required solely to raise ladders at engine company drills. Upon the conclusion of tower practice, engine companies arc put through a drill which consists of connecting up deluge sets. siamie.se sets, monitor or deck nozzles, etc. ater tower drill is held once each week I litis do these drills familiarize all firemen with all appliances, what tlu-y are used for, and how to use them. As all of my recruits come to me raw material, and having no school of instruction, I find the tower of immense value in training them. The tower drill familiarizes them with the handling of fire fighting apparatus, and my department is saved the handicap of having inexperienced firemen depending upon receiving their education from the actual fires thev attend to the detriment of the department. Practical demonstration has convinced me of the importance of a drill tower. I regard it as important as up-to-date fire-fighting apparatus, for after all has been said, the only way to get the best results from the finest equipment is to have it handled by well trained men. Each morning save Saturdays and Sundays during the months above mentioned, truck companies are put through all the drills that familiarize truckmen with the many duties required of them. The most interesting dril to laymen is that of Pompier and line xxork Xot only arc mv men taught the use of the life line, hut they arc instructed how to carry supposedly unconscious forms to safety on the line, and in “first aid” remedies in case of smoke inhaling, etc. Engineers and assistant engineers are put through courses of instruction while operating their apparatus at cn pine company drills, and the saving in engine repair hills since the inauguration of regular drills has been an item in itself that would almost pay for the construction of the tower twice again. The drill instructor is one of the assistant chiefs of the department. Prom the ending of the tower dril season it opens in the spring, company officers are taken over their districts and into adjoining districts where they “cover in” and during the inspection of all buildings discussions are held between officers as to the host way to handle the various kinds of blazes that conditions existing are liable to contribute to. Assistant chiefs familiarize themselves with every district, and exchange district inspections each month. The inspection drills are caried on in addition to the fire warden corps of the department. consisting of a chief warden and six assistants.
*Read at the convention of International Association of Fire Engineering, Milwaukee, Win., Sept. 19.
Discipline: I lielieve in the religion of obedience to regulations. 1 believe that the firemen’s uniform is second to none. I believe that a fireman must he honest as well as courageous, for the undesirable ‘streak” shows quicker and more plainly in his profession than any other. 1 believe in equal rights and equal favors to all. To succeed, officers must have no friends to reward, no enemies to punish. This, to my mind, is discipline’s code. A habitual tippler is not a good fireman. If disobedience to rules merits discharge, I believe that discharge should take effect at once, and that no pressure should be strong enough to reinstate. 1 contend that to cornand a man’s full strength, ability and willingness, we must first command his respect. Xo one is lit to control until he has first learned to control himself. A strict disciplinarian to he a success must he broad gauged enough to see all sides of a misunderstanding or a detention, and he must lie of caliber enough to reSpect another man’s point of view. There must he strict adherence to established regulation and rules if results are to he attained. Xo body of men can work together where honesty, sobriety and a uniform necessity exists as in a calling like ours where every thing depends upon quickness, steadiness and cool headedness upon the part of our men. 1 do not wish to take up more of your valuable time with this subject, as it has been thrashed repeatedly by all of you and no doubt have your own ideas as to “Standards of Drill and Discipline in Fire Departments.”