FIRE DEPARTMENT APPOINTMENTS.
In speaking of fire departments George W. Booth, chief engineer of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, is quoted as saying: “Only men of proven ability should be given important positions: in some cases, competent chief officers of the smaller departments have been appointed to similar positions in the larger cities, and this scheme has worked out well. For all officers, long tenure of office is desirable, to secure proper familiarity with local fire conditions and the general duties of the position; to obtain this, as well as to eliminate harmful political changes, the appointment of all officers for indefinite terms, with removal only under charges, is desirable. The method of appointment best adapted for any city depends largely upon the size of the city and local conditions. Civil service methods have been in some cases rather freely criticized, but it is doubtful if any thing better, or in fact as good, could be substituted. Where civil service is properly applied, the past record of applicants is considered and they must successfully pass a rigid physical examination before taking the mental examinations. While the mental examination may bar out some otherwise desirable applicants, yet in the large cities there is no lack of applicants and it is readily practicable to make physical requirements such that all the men getting on the eligible list shall have the making of able-bodied firemen. The varied emergencies and requirements of modern fire department work are best met by men capable of passing reasonable mental as well as the physical examinations, rather than by men whose chief asset is mere strength.”