Efficient Fire Protection System of Avery Company
Care and Up-keep of Automatic Sprinklers, Protecting Ninety Per Cent of Plant—Weekly Meetings of Fire Departments—Forms Used in System
NOTE—This article is one of a series describing the plant fire departments and fire prevention systems of the large mercantile and manufacturing establishments of the country which have appeared periodically in FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING and will continue through the present volume. These articles have previously treated of the fire-fighting systems of Eastman Kodak Company, General Electric Company, Packard Motor Car Company, Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, Cudahy Packing Company, Ford Motor Company, Greenfield Tap and Die Corporation, Wilson & Company, Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Company, Rock Island, Ill., Arsenal, J. I. Case Threshing Machine Company and the Southern Manganese Corporation.— EDITOR.
FIRST let me state that the Avery Company consists of three large plants, twenty-three branches and several sub-branches. The two larger of the three plants, located at Peoria, Illinois, cover approximately one hundred and fifty acres, and furnish employment for twenty-two hundred men. “Eternal vigilance” is the Avery watchword, and fire prevention is a matter second to none in the Avery organization.
Buildings Protected by Automatic Sprinklers
Ninety per cent, of our buildings are protected by automatic sprinkler systems, the care and upkeep of which is m a i n t a i n ed by a member of the Safety Department, whose knowledge of automatic sprinkler systems is in no way limited. Our fire chief inspects every sprinkler system along with the rest of the fire prevention equipment daily. The attached forms (Nos. M 53 and 110) will give a very good idea of this daily inspection.
There are located at convenient places throughout the yards of both plants twenty-two hose houses, each containing at least four lengths, and often seven lengths, of two and one-half inch hose, two axes, two play pipes, two play pipe holders, four hose straps, two crowbars, four spanners, hose and nozzle gaskets and one lantern. These hose houses are built around an eight-inch twoway hydrant.
Our underground water supply is fed into eight-inch and six-inch mains from a thirty-inch city main with an average pressure of one hundred and twenty-five pounds, supplied by the city reservoir, containing an adequate supply. The hose houses are painted white with two wide blood red bands painted around them. The purpose of the white is so that they may be easily seen at night, and the red bands so they may he seen while there is snow on the ground. The post indicator valves are painted likewise, that is, a white body and a red hand wheel. All hose houses and valve houses are locked, the lock being connected to house by a car seal. The reason for sealing them is so they can be opened quickly in case of fire.
Local and City A. D. T. Boxes
There are in these two plants forty American District Telegraph watchman’s and fire alarm boxes connected with the A. D. T. headquarters in the city, who in turn are connected direct with the city fire company. Aside from these we have twenty-five local fire alarms that go into a central station in our own power plant. In the event of fire, and the alarm comes in on our local alarm, the man securing it repeats it over the A. D. T. alarm box.
The Plant Fire Department
The Avery Company fire department consists of eighteen members, a chief and assistant chief, four companies of four men each, consisting of a captain, two nozzle men and a hydrant man. The chief and assistant chief devote all their time to fire prevention work. They are responsible for the condition of the equipment and cleanliness of buildings, and work under direct supervision of the safety supervisor. The firemen are men picked from the shop, men whom we know to be honest and loyal, and must have been in the employ of the Avery Company at least one year. They need not be young men, as long as they are active and in good physical condition. I might state here that all new employees must undergo a physical examination by the company’s chief surgeon, and all old employees are re-examined annually.
Weekly Meeting of Fire Departments
Each Saturday afternoon the Avery company meetsat Plant No. 1, in what is known as the “Foremen’s Meeting Room.” Upon assembling, there is a discussion of the inspection made by them the Saturday previous (Form No. 1477). After that a short round-table discussion on all things that help to prevent fire at the Avery Company plants. At the close of the meeting, each fireman is assigned a section of the plant which is to be inspected by him on the form No. 1477, attached. He must make a very thorough inspection of the section assigned him, and his report is graded. Before going out into the plant on this inspection trip, providing the weather permits, we have an hour’s drill, such as running, coupling hose, etc., one company running against the time made by the other. Having one company compete against the other breaks the monotony of the drilling.
At the end of the Avery Company year, these weekly grades made by each individual fireman on his inspection work are averaged, and a first, second and third prize is offered to the first three high men. Aside from this, an extra monthly compensation is paid for this work. You will see from this form. No. 1477, that the firemen have got to know the fire prevention equipment thoroughly. The yearly department average for the year 1919 was 99.48 per cent.
Co-operation with City Forces
We have invited the city firemen on several occasions to visit us and make inspections of the plants, that they may become familiar with them, and then in the event of fire, they do not have to “work in the dark,” so to speak.
When the Avery fire whistle blows, the city fire department does not await further orders. They are like the Irishman who applied for a job on the railroad, and after having received the job, asked his new employer to explain the various colored flags to him. So his new boss started in with a red flag and explained to Mike that in any event of danger, he should raise the flag above his head and wave it vigorously, and so on until he got to the green flag. “This green one, Mike,” said the instructor, “must be held perfectly still, at arm’s length, parallel with the ground. Never wave it.” This was too much for Mike, and he asked the new boss if he might be excused, for he could not conceive of an Irishman who could hold a green flag out at arm’s length without waving it. And so it is with the city fire department; they never wait for further orders after the Avery fire whistle has blown.
The hand fire extinguishers, such as the Fire Gun, Pyrene and Firefoam are inspected regularly once a week.
Exact Record of All Fires
In the event of fire, regardless of size, the form No. 1298, attached, is used. This is our means of keeping an exact record of all fires, regardless of size. Our Branch Houses are equipped with fire protection equally as well as our factories, and they, too, are required to make weekly inspection of their branches and fill out form No. 1281, attached, which they then mail to us, and they also are graded.
Our police protection, which is really fire protection, consists of eight regular day men and thirteen night men who make hourly trips through the buildings in their section, reporting on A. D. T. boxes, and whose work it is to guard particularly against fire, These men are taught the fire prevention system from A to Z, especially the sprinkler system, so the damage done during severe cold weather to most automatic sprinkler systems is very light. While our fire preventing organization could stand much improvement, I am proud of it, at that.
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Fire Protection in Avery Company
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Neglect means ashes!
The town of Gardner, Mass, is considering the purchase of a triple combination motor pumping engine at a cost of $12,500.