Emphasizing Loss of Life in Fire Prevention
The necessity for keeping eternally at it in the matter of Fire Prevention has again been emphasized in the masterly address of President Morton at the annual meeting of the National Board of Fire Underwriters in New York City last week. In this connection a suggestion published in the issue of May 17 by V. C. Stanley, vice-president and general manager of the Gamewell Fire Alarm Telegraph Company is apropos. Mr. Stanlev contends that the one fault in the preaching of the doctrines of Fire Prevention has been a lack of emphasis on the loss of life by fire. This suggestion may contain the germ of a truth. No doubt the American people are willing to take a gambling chance of escaping the fiery destroyer as far as their property is concerned, especially when that property is “protected” by ample fire insurance. They forget that no amount of insurance can restore that which is destroyed—that economically everything which goes up in smoke is irretrievably lost. Though they may receive the equivalent or nearly so in cash from the fire insurance companies, they themselves are helping to pay this very insurance not only in premiums but in taxes. The fire which destroyed their property, in other words, has helped to increase these taxes through the use of the fire department, water department and police forces of the city.
But when the destruction of human life enters into the question of Fire Prevention, a different element F created. Here the gambling instinct ceases and the fire menace appears in all its bald horror. This is especially true where the killing of women and children is concerned. The facts are before us. The wanton destruction of innocent lives is apparent. If these were brought more to the fore the results of indifference to the principles of Fire Prevention would he placed before the American public in so unmistakable a way that the reduction of fire loss would be inevitable. Why not try it?
Another case where the pumper has scored was in a fire in Adamsville. Mass., recently. The chief of the fire department finding that the chemical apparatus could not handle the blaze, a call for help from Attleboro was sent. The pumper made a record run from that city and drafting water from a river soon had four streams on the blaze, which threatened at that time to destroy the town. The consequence was that the village was saved from destruction by this prompt action and efficient work of the motor pumper.