Fire Department Bicycles.
The construction of a bicycle intended for use by fire departments shows how a vehicle that it was supposed was only adapted to sport can be applied to practical everyday uses. It has a chemical engine and a light ax, instruments that in many cases are all needed to subdue a fire if they are at hand in time.
In some cities of Europe a part of the fire department is a swift horse saddled and bridled with a chemical apparatus for subduing fires and an ax attached, and an expert rider ready to spring on the horse’s back the moment an alarm is sounded and ride swiftly to the scene of the fire. He can reach the fire some seconds or minutes before the heavy, lumbering fire engine can get there and often this saving of time is of the greatest value and the rider’s services are all that are needed in checking what otherwise might become a disastrous conflagration. This feature of the fire department is one of the means by which so many fires in Europe are confined to the room or building in which they start.
A bicycle has advantages over the horse for this kind of service. It can travel as swiftly, is easier handled at the scene of the fire, requires but little care and no food and is especially adapted to small towns and suburban districts. Every second gained in reaching a fire just beginning and in applying the remedies is of the utmo-t importance. If it is promptly extinguished it may save thousands if not millions of dollars’ worth of property. If the bicycle can be used in this way it will add one more element to its popularity.