“FIRE CHIEF’S HOUSE” PROMOTES DWELLINC SAFETY IN CLEVELAND
Includes Fire-Safe Features Which are Suitable for Modest Dwellinghouse; Fire Chiefs Specify Various Items
WHAT is said to be America’s first “Fire Chief’s House” was one of the main attractions of the Greater Cleveland Home and Flower Show, held March 4 thyough 12 last, in the Public Auditorium of that City.
The Fire Chief’s House was the direct result of a questionnaire survey conducted among fire chiefs at the annual convention of the Association of Ohio Fire Chiefs in Dayton, last fall. The survey was sponsored by the Metal Lath Manufacturers Association and conducted by a Cleveland public relations firm.
At that time Ohio Chiefs were asked to check a number of fire protection features listed on the questionnaire, ranging all the way from sprinkler heads in the basement, to fire resistant walls and ceilings.
Following this study, a committee comprising 15 members, was formed in Cleveland, headed by Fire Chief Elmer M. Cain head of that city’s fire department. To them was assigned the task of developing detailed plans for the Fire Chief’s House, and working with the Show Committee of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cleveland.
Said Chief Cain, “it is obvious to anyone who has spent most of his life as a fire-fighter that there are many things that the home owner could do to make his home more fire-safe. All of our fire departments have been teaching the public as well as we could about the advantages of good housekeeping and the removal of fire hazards in the home. Up to this time, however, very few people have given much consideration to going back one step and building fire protection right into the house. It is quite encouraging to us, as heads of fire departments, to see so many groups cooperating to make our jobs easier and to help cut the fire losses of our nation.”
The idea was to build the sample dwelling, aptly termed “Fire Chief’s House,” with as many as possible of the more important fire-protection features that would appeal to the largest number of people. All told, there were nine of these features, all of which were encompassed in three sources: (1) use of performance-proved materials providing high fire resistance qualities; (2) use of certain construction features which confine a fire, once it has started, preventing its spread and (3) use of warning signal devices, which notify occupants of a dwelling of a fire.
As shown in the illustrations, the Fire Chief’s House while basically conventional in design and floor plans, outwardly offered no indication of its fire safe interior and of the lesson to home owners that the Committee attempted to make it. The basement, for example, was on the same floor as the other exhibits.
Panels in the monolithic ceiling of plaster on metal lath, were left open to show Construction. Other panels gave X-Ray views of fire stops and modern construction technique, often overlooked in home building. Proper electric wiring was stressed, as was adequate spacing for warm air heating ducts; all steel doors and the automatic fire alarm system, with conveniently accessible yet inconspicuous fire-alarm control buttons. Fire resistant roofing material was shown and this, with all the other construction and fire-safety features, which were clearly but simply placarded to explain their virtues.
A detail from the Bureau of Public Relations of the Cleveland Fire Department was in charge of the Home during the show, to explain in greater detail all the placarded features.
To say that the novel House created interest among the 202,214 visitors at the Show is putting it mildly, according to officials responsible for its creation. The House was prominently featured in large official Home and Flower Show Directory, which also included a pointed message signed by Chief Cain headed: “Boss Firefighter Tells How to be Safe.”
The Fire Chief’s House Committee included. besides Chief Elmer M. Cain, Chairman; Chief Frank Veasley, Cleveland Heights; Asst. Chief F. C. Boehmer, Cleveland; Battalion Chief Wm. R. Ferrie, head of the Fire Prevention Bureau, Cleveland; Chief M. M. Hand, Shaker Heights; Battalion Chief J. P. Flynn; F. Pat O’Toole Assistant Manager Greater Cleveland Home and Flower Show; Battalion Chief D. T. Lavelle, Cleveland; Battalion Chief W. A. Bertelsbeck, Cleveland; L. C. Tidrick, Metal Lath Manufacturers Assn.; Donald C. Wadle, Commissioner, Metal Lath Manufacturers Assn.; Ralph P. Stoddard, Managing Director, Greater Cleveland Home and Flower Show; and Jerry J. Madigan, Executive Director, Home Builders Assn, of Greater Cleveland.