FIRE COLLEGE NOTES
Data of Interest to Progressive Chiefs and Firemen
Hints for Inspection Work
A very important work of the chiefs and members of the fire departments is that of inspection of the homes comprised in their districts. Often the details of this work are so great that small matters may be overlooked. A few points in this regard put out by the State fire marshal of Pennsylvania, Howard E. Butz, will prove of great value in giving hints to the householders as to precautions they should observe in the routine of everyday life:
The attic, cellar and all closets and out-buildings should be cleaned at least once every year, and all useless material and rubbish removed therefrom and burned. These unnecessary accumulations are dangerous, and are the causes of many fires. Store all remaining material neatly so that a clear passage may be had between or around boxes, cases, barrels, etc. Metal waste baskets, only, should be used. In storing clothing, first remove all matches or other material from the pockets and then carefully fold and neatly place away. Do not hang clothes where they will be near hot chimneys. Do not go into closets with lighted matches or candles. Care should be exercised in burning leaves, dead grass or rubbish. Keep these fires a safe distance from buildings, and never light them on windy days. Do not bank houses in the winter with straw, excelsior or other readily inflammable material; a chimney spark or carelessly thrown match may ignite it.
Use only safety matches, and make it impossible for children to get them. Always place burned matches in metal receptacles; never throw them on the floor or into waste baskets.
To smoke in garages, in bed, or around stables containing hay is deliberately to invite disaster.
Swinging gas brackets are dangerous, and never should be allowed near curtains or dressers. Fix them rigidly so as to avoid contact with combustible material. If open gas flames are within two feet of ceiling, see that ceiling is protected with sheet metal or asbestos board. Tips for gas lights are inexpensive, while a light used with a broken tip or without a top often causes fire. Don’t use pendant gas mantles unless protected underneath with wire gauze. Hot carbon deposits form and drop from mantles of gas arc lamps. A globe closed at the bottom is safer. Examine the gas meter, sec that it is securely set and well connected, and is not located near open lights or furnaces. An outside gas shut-off valve to service-connection is desirable. Never look for gas leaks with a match, candle or lamp. Where a dwelling is lighted by a gasoline vapor or acetylene gas system the rules governing the safe use of these illuminants should be carefully studied and rigidly observed.
Illuminating oils should be kept in closed metal can ; in a safe place, and lamps should never be filled except b daylight. Kerosene lamps should be kept clean and properly trimmed. If allowed to burn all night, select one that contains much more than enough oil. A dirty lamp containing only a little oil is unsafe. Lamps with broad bases are preferable. Care must be taken not to place them near inflammable material, under shelves, nor to set or leave lamps or lanterns in stables or other places where animals may upset them. Never allow little children to carry lamps, and never set a lamp on a table cover. Children may pull them over. Do not use paper or decorative shades of inflammable material on lamps or electric light bulbs.
Coal and kindling should preferably be kept within a brick or stone enclosure and not stored against frame partitions nor directly against walls of boiler or furnace rooms. Never put kindling into the oven. Deposit all ashes in metal receptacles or upon non-combustible floors, removing same from building at least once a week. Barrels or boxes should not be used for storing or carrying ashes unless they are constructed entirely of metal. Before starting fires in the autumn, thoroughly clean out furnace and flues thereto, also fireplaces. Carefully examine them and immediately repair or replace any defective part. Don’t burn out chimneys and flues by making an especially hot fire with paper, etc. Main chimneys should be cleaned from room to cellar, and all stovepipes where entering them provided with metal collar and rigidly fixed in place. Replace any tile, crock of flimsy flues and chimneys with substantial brick chimneys. Long lengths of metal stovepipes are dangerous. At least an eighteen-inch clearance is necessary between top and sides of furnace, breeching and flues from ceiling, partitions. and other combustible material. Repair at once any broken plaster in ceiling or partition walls. Do not have steam pipes in contact with wood work or near inflammable materials, and do not permit rubbish to accumulate behind steam coils or radiators.
Gas stoves or other heaters should have a ventilating flue to carry off the burned gas fumes, which are poisonous. Do not use portable rubber or similar tubing, but connect all gas stoves rigidly and securely with gas pipe. Examine valves and see that they are tight and do not leak. Never permit a stove of any kind to be set tip without stone, brick, concrete or metal protection underneath, or near a partition without a metal shield and air space. Never run stovepipes through partitions, or paste paper over flue holes. All types of open fireplaces or stoves, especially where there are children, should be provided with substantial spark screens. Don’t throw waste paper on an open fire. Every period of extreme cold results in numerous fires due to forcing the heating apparatus. Keep this in mind next winter. Watch your heater. Keep hoods and pipes of kitchen range free from grease and lint by cleaning with hot water and lye. Do not hang clothes or bags near stoves, or on stovepipes or steam pipes. Do not not allow your family to jeopardize their lives bv pouring kerosene onto the kitchen fire to hurry it along. Extreme care should be used with alcohol or kerosene stoves. They should always be filled in the davlight and away from any open flame.