Fire Loss of Birmingham
The Birmingham, England, fire brigade consists of 22 officers and 175 men and serves an estimated population of 859,644, scattered over an area slightly in excess of 68 square miles. In 1913 the brigade responded to 1,070 fire alarms, of which 125 were false alarms. The total fire loss during the year was estimated at $269,970 and the value of the property at risk $18,764,380. At 602 of the fires the damage was under $125, but at two it exceeded $25,000. The chief officer of the brigade has expressed his belief that the small number of serious fires was due to the adoption of motor traction, which enabled the firemen to reach the scene before the flames gained much headway. A total of 1,002 hours and 53 minutes was occupied in attending, extinguishing, and returning from fires, or ap average of 56 minutes per alarm. This was an increase over the average, due to a large coke fire at the city gas works, which occupied the firemen 395 hours. At 33 fires life was in danger; 49 persons were injured during the year under review, of whom 12 died. There are 9,262 fire hydrants and 24 underground tanks in the city; the fire alarm boxes number 187. The approximate cost of the fire brigade in 1913 was $175,000. The watch committee of the city council is the controlling body of the fire brigade, and the chief officer is the executive head. The latter’s position is one of large authority, and on retirement he receives suprannuation pay. Revenue is provided by the city council from local taxes called city rates in England. In addition certain sums are received from fire insurance offices for the services of the brigade in extinguishing fires and placed to the credit of the superannuation fund.