DOMINION FIRE CHIEFS MEET IN PETERSBOROUGH, ONTARIO
District Chief trail and Battalion Chief Deasy Featured Speakers
THE Thirty-third Annual Convention of the Dominion Association of Fire Chiefs began its four-day session on Tuesday, August 26, at Peterborough, Ont. The delegates were welcomed by Mayor James Hamilton, Alderman William Ovens, Chairman, Fire, Water and Light Commission; James Geraghty, President of the Chamber of Commerce; Gordon Fraser, M. P.; and Alex Elliott, M. P. The response was given by Chief Kenneth Cassel of Hamilton, Ont. T he President’s address was given by Chief George Gimblett, President of the Association and also host Chief. The Memorial Service was also conducted during the opening ceremonies.
The afternoon session was held at the Collegiate Auditorium where Battalion Chief Daniel Deasy of the New York Fire Department and District Officer Daniel Ivall of the London Fire Service delivered the highlight talks of the convention. Chief Deasy, among other things, spoke on the types of bombs used on Britain by Germany and of their destructiveness. The talk given by District Officer Ivall dealt with the numbers of fire districts, peace time fire departments and war time departments which have been spread to a large area outside London itself. He spoke of the great number of fires that would start at one time and how they would be coped with through a communication system that could not be interrupted.
A civic banquet was extended to the three hundred delegates, at which Wing Commander II. M. Robinson, Deputy Director of Fire Supply Services in the Royal Canadian Air Force, was the principal speaker. He said: “At the present time protection from fire is one of the most important factors in the life and function of the R.C.A.F. Protection of human life is, of course, of the first importance in peace or war among civilians or in the fighting services, but in time of war the protection of service property and equipment has a significance which goes far beyond its cash value and is, in fact, a vital necessity. The destruction of Ai.r Force property and equipment would interfere with the all important tasks which the Air Force has to perform; i.e., the training of the air crews which are needed to assist in winning the war and the protection of Canada itself from attack.”
The Wednesday morning session opened with a talk on apartment house fires by Chief J. J. O’Kelley, of Ottawa. He stated that all apartment houses, as well as institutions and all public buildings, should have built-in fire-resistive stairways which will serve equally as a fire escape and a service stairs. He suggested that a .resolution be adopted recommending to the Architects’ Association of the different provinces of Canada and also to the Committee on Fire Protection that these stairways be made a compulsory part of the building code.
In the afternoon session, the delegates heard Mr. Har.ry Beradall, of Toronto, trace the rapid development of gas masks from their origin during the Great War up to the present day. Women in England were called into action to make simple protective devices in large numbers. In 1916, the British army brought out tire first cannister type gas mask. When the war was over large numbers of gas masks were sold for industrial purposes. These gas masks were effective in most types of gases, but it was found they were not effective in some kinds of industrial gas. Cannisters were soon produced that were effective, providing the gas did not form more than two per cent of the air breathed in. In ordey for a gas mask to take care of all gases likely to be encountered by fire fighters, the all-purpose mask was brought out. Mr. Beradall went on to explain the make-up of this type mask which he claimed would last for two hours complete or intermittent service within a period of one year.
Also included in the afternoon program was a talk by Chief W. A. Spaulding of Preston, Ont., who gave a talk on air conditioning hazards and fires. In addition to being Fire Chief, Chief Spaulding is also building inspector. Thus, he said, he is in a position to catch numerous hazards in the making and forbid their construction or inclusion into a new building. The chief hazard in the matter of air conditioning is the fact that blowers are incorporated in them, and here the danger arises from not having them p.roperly installed. Should fire or overheating occur at the intake, or anywhere along the line, or gas he taken in, people in large buildings like motion picture houses or similar constructions would be placed in a hazardous position.
Following Chief Spaulding’s talk, Chief Eynest Woods, York Township, Ont., submitted a draft of bylaw on duct system for heating, ventilating and air conditioning.
One of the features of the session was the presentation of a trophy by Fire Commissioner Claremont of Ottawa to the Brantford Fire Department. This department came in first for the second year in a row in the Dominio Fire Prevention Week contest.
At the closing session of the convention held on Friday, Fire Chief Andy Spaulding of Preston was unanimously elected President of the Association. Chief Ernest Wood of York Township was elected to the post of First VicePresident and Chief J. J. O’Kelley to that of Second Vice-President. Secretary-Treasurer James J. Armstrong of Kingston was re-elected for his twentyseventh consecutive term.
The city of Kitchener was selected as the 1942 centre for the convention.
At this session the following resolution was adopted by the convention: “In view of the serious loss which is a possibility in wartime resulting from fires and defective extinguishers, we recommend that provincial legislation be passed requiring that all fire extinguishers bear the name and street address of the manufacturer or chief sales agent in the province, and we further recommend that all persons who service or recharge fire extinguishers shall be licensed except members of fire departments or maintenance men of industry.
“And, further, in view of the urgency of maintaining municipal fire defense at proper standards, the association .recommends that provincial legislation be enacted empowering the provincial fire marshals to survey fire fighting apparatus in municipalities and make recommendation to municipal authorities as to additional apparatus or personnel needed.
“And that such recommendation should within 30 days have force of the law unless appealed to the municipal board or other appropriate appeal body.”
Another resolution was adopted to the effect that it was of the utmost impo.rtance that Canadian firemen have actual experience in fire fighting methods under actual wartime conditions to prepare for any emergency. And to achieve this purpose, the Association urges that federal and provincial governments send representatives to England to study control measures there.
The Association is of the opinion that Canadian firemen are anxious to personally assist their brethren in England, and offered their assistance in recruiting Canadian fijremen for service in Britain. This was adopted.
The Committee on Fire Prevention presented the following recommendations :
“1.—It is recommended that all fire chiefs in the Dominion be urged to carry on a more extensive inspection, not only during Fire Prevention Week but the whole year, specially attics and cellars, in order to lessen the risk in the event of aerial attacks, and help in our war efforts.
“2—That all fire chiefs should advise every householder in the use of garden hose, attached to water faucet at all times, with sufficient hose to cover anywhere in the premises, also sand should be kept handy so as to help in case of incendiary bombing.
“3—That this assembly be urged in the use of talks and motion pictures to school children. These lectures and pictures are available and can be obtained from the Dominion Fire Commissioner’s office, or the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office, at no cost.
“4—Realizing that the diversity of hose threads in Canada hinders the mutual aid between municipalities as well as manufacturing delays and extra costs, this committee recommends that the Dominion Association of Fire Chiefs go on record as favoring standardization of hose threads and requesting the N. F. P. A. to assume the leadership and technical direction of a survey to reduce the present vast number of different hose threads and to achieve some measure of standardization and that the Dominion Association of hire Chiefs further offer its full cooperation to the N. F. P. A. in such an endeavor.”