EASTERN CHIEFS’ CONVENTION SHOWS ASSOCIATION’S PROGRESS
Good Attendance, Well Arranged Program and Plenty of Recreation Feature Third Annual Meeting — All Officers Re-elected
THE third annual convention of the Eastern Association of Fire Chiefs was held at the Lord Baltimore Hotel, Baltimore, Md., on June 11th and 12th, just preceding a meeting of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association at the same place.
The turn-out was very satisfactory, and the interest in the various topics of the program indicated a real businesslike attitude on the part of the membership.
A most encouraging sign was a large number of lieutenants, captains and battalion chiefs present from New York, Philadelphia and other cities in the Eastern District. These officers showed they had a real interest in the proceedings of the Association, and were frequently heard in the discussions.
A dust explosion demonstration in a miniature grain elevator was the feature of the first session on Tuesday morning, June 10th, following the usual opening ceremonies. The elevator, constructed on exact scale of a modern grain storage plant, was shown by H. R. Brown, Engineer, Bureau of Chemistry and Soils of the Department of Agriculture. Mr. Brown showed the delegates, numbering about 125, just how explosions occur. Motion pictures of disastrous explosions were shown in connection with the demonstration.
Chief Gets Lantern
Mrs. Alexander Fulford, of Belair, attended the convention and presented Chief August Emrich, of the Baltimore Department, with a lantern used by the Baltimore 1759. The lantern will be added to the collection.
J. Albert Cassidy, fire commissioner, gave some first hand information on the early days of fire fighting in Baltimore. “We generally put the fire out,” Cassidy said, “even though most fires developed into a fist fight between companies. For instance, if No. 3 company got to the fire first No. 6 company was liable to cut the hose so it could be the first to get water on the blaze.”
“Naturally, No. 3’s men didn’t appreciate the honor of the situation and said so with fists. Somehow or other, nevertheless, somebody remembered to put the fire out after the fight was settled. With the small apparatus we had, even moderate fires took time to extinguish. We used to work day and night on fires which would taxe an hour to extinguish now. All we had to sustain us was coffee.
After reports of the Resolution Committee, the Secretary and the Treasurer, the meeting was adjourned for luncheon.
The afternoon session opened with a talk on salvage work by Chief Edward H. Warr, Fire Insurance Salvage Corps, Baltimore, Md. Chief Warr’s paper appears elsewhere in this issue.
The paper was discussed by Deputy Chief Waldron of New York, Chief Emrich, of Baltimore, Battalion Chief McGrann of the Philadelphia training school, Chief R. L. Smith of Pittsburgh, Chief Davis of Haddon Heights, Chief Greenfield of the Du Pont Company, Arlington, N. J., and others.
In response to a question by Chief Greenfield as to whether or not there was danger in connection with volunteers doing salvage work, particularly in view of openings in floors, etc., Chief Emrich answered that there should be no danger if openings were properly protected.
Chief Waldron Talks on Fire Fighting Methods
The second topic on the afternoon program was “Methods, Tactics and Strategy of Fire Fighting,” by Deputy Chief John J. T. Waldron of the New York City Fire Department. Chief Waldron compared fire fighting to war, and emphasized the necessity of mapping out campaigns before fire. “Tactics is the execution of these plans, and the methods are certain ways of operating,” said Chief Waldron.
One of the delegates inquired of Chief Waldron as to the general practice in Operating at fires, citing one instance where the fire department opened up the front basement entrance of the building where fire was burning in the basement and then sent lines in through the rear of the basement, driving the flames out of the front opening.
Chief Waldron answered that such practice at this particular fire was considered good, as there was no more effective way of handling a fire than driving it out into the open. He further added that it is best to drive the fire out wherever possible and thus avoid lines operating at different points forcing the fire against other men at work. Chief Waldron outlined the methods of opening floors of ventilation and for operation on the fire. A board of the floor is taken up the entire length of the building, where a single floor is encountered, and this opening serves both for the purpose of getting water on the fire and for ventilating.
Where double floors arc encountered, the lower floor being laid diagonally, holes must be cut, as it is not practicable to provide an opening the entire length of the building by removing boards.
In answer to another question by Chief Emrich on opening concrete floors, Chief Waldron mentioned that they were usually cut by means of a chisel and an axe, or battering ram.
Chief Emrich thereupon described an electric drill which is used in Baltimore, and carried on the emergency wagon. This drill makes it possible to put holes through a concrete floor very quickly, which holes can be later enlarged as desired by the use of other tools.
Captain Burke of the New York Fire Department pointed out that the New York rescue companies carry electric drills and also a power saw for cutting heavy timber. Furthermore, public service corporations which respond to large fires carry emergenev equipment which can be put into service by the fire department.
“The power saw was put into service as a result of the department encountering 4inch planks on dock.” said Chief Waldron. “The power saw cuts 4 inches deep and very rapidly. It is particularly effective in case of accident,” said the Chief. “It operates on 110 volts, and uses a universal motor.”
Chief Waldron urged the development of cooperation between public utilities and fire department as an effective means of handling emergency situations.
A question submitted to the convention by Chief Diehl of Glenside, Pa., brought forth considerable discussion. It related to the use of roof ladders in reaching the peak of slate or tile covered roofs of comparatively high buildings. The pitch of the roofs is too abrupt to permit men to climb without the aid of ladders, and the roof ladders are but slightly more than half the desired length to reach the peak.
Method of Using Roof Ladders
After considerable discussion it finally seemed to be the consensus of opinion that two ladders should be lashed together, the upper one being a hook ladder, to operate on the roof.
In connection with the use of ladders, Chief Emrich outlined a new method of getting cats out of trees. In one particular instance the Baltimore department was called upon to bring a cat down, but due to the height of the tree, and the difficulty of getting iadder in position a stream was finally resorted to. It did the work, the cat coming to the ground in a direct line and rather speedily.
Walter R. Hough, ex-fire commissioner of Baltimore, presented a paper on “The Scope of the Fire College.”
Commissioner Hough is a member of the fire school committee of the National Waste Council, U. S. Chamber of Commerce. He outlined the progress which has been made in the development of schools at different points, and emphasized the essential points in connection with such schools.
Chief Emrich served as chairman during the Round Table discussion.
Asst. Chief Cohn of East Orange, N. J., discussed the subject of getting right of way in going to fires. He urged the use of lights of the same color by all fire departments in order that confusion might be avoid.
Deputy Chief Travers of Baltimore, offered some very useful suggestions for the protection of oil storage plants.
Standardization of hose threads was covered by J. C. Whalen, Master Mechanic of Baltimore. Mr. Whalen described the changing over of Baltimore’s connections to the National Standard. The work included 190,001 2 1/2-inch couplings and 30,000 3-inch couplings on hose. Adapters were employed during the change so that in the event of a large fire there would be no delay in connecting the lines of the various companies.
Chief Charles Greenfield outlined the progress made in New Jersey in the campaign to standardize hose couplings in all departments of the state. At the present time 78% of the cities in northern New Jersey have standardized couplings.
Wednesday morning’s session opened with a discussion on the revised constitution and by-laws.
At the suggestion of one of the lieutenants of the New York Fire Department, who represented the Lieutenants Association, a motion was made and carried unanimously that lieutenants and captains be eligible for active membership in the Eastern Association only, but that they be not entitled to hold office.
A motion was also made and carried that two classifications of life members be established—honorary life members and life members. The former would be accepted from among those interested in fire department matters, but not connected with the fire service, and membership would be granted upon the payment of $100.
Life members would be recruited from among active membership and applicants would be required to pay $50 to secure such membership.
Following this discussion, the first paper on the program, “Unusual Happenings at the Time of Fire,” was read by Ross B. Davis, Chief of Fire Department, Philadelphia. This paper will be printed in an early issue.
Report of Resolution Committee
The Resolution Committee at this point presented its report. Resolutions were offered covering the payment of expense of members attending conventions by their municipalities, unform lights for signalling the approach of fire apparatus, expression of appreciation of the Association for the courtesies extended on the part of Baltimore officials, as well as a resolution of sympathy to the relatives of deceased members who passed away during the year.
The second topic on the Wednesday’s program was “Proper Care of Hose and Equipment,” by Battalion Chief Wm. Simmler, of Philadelphia. Chief Simmler very ably presented the essential points in the care of hose and apparatus, and emphasized precautions which must be taken in order to secure the maximum service from such fire department equipment.
The final speaker on the program was Fred Shepperd, Chairman of the Educational Committee of the International Association of Fire Chiefs. He outlined the educational plan of the Association, and the factors which led up to the Association taking the lead in preparing a course of instruction for the fire service of this country. “Chief Ralph J. Scott, President of the Association,” said Mr. Shepperd, “is doing a very commendable piece of work in whipping the course of instruction into shape. He is at present supervising the taking of talking films which will be used in connection with the course of instruction. Within a few days the first class of instructors will have graduated from the Los Angeles Fire College, at which institution the class is being conducted under the auspices of the International Association of Fire Chiefs.”
All Officers Re-elected
So satisfactory has been the work of the present set of officers of the Association that it was not surprising that no changes were made in the line-up for next year.
President Charles Greenfield, First Vice-President Ross B. Davis, Second Vice-President J. J. T. Waldron, Treasurer R. L. Smith and Secretary F. E. Soule were re-elected unanimously.
The directors selected by unanimous vote for this year are as follows: Chief John Kenton, New York; Chief M. _M. Tawney, Harrisburg. Pa.; Chief Harry J. Francis. New Brunswick; Chief William Lutz, Wilmington; Chief August Emrich, Baltimore; Chief Geo. S. Watson, Washington, D. C.
Atlantic City Gets Next Convention
The next annual convention will be held at Atlantic City, as a result of an invitation from that city and a unanimous vote on the part of the membership to assemble there next year.