Fire Prevention and Fire Losses
James J. Deasy
The prevention of the start of fires is as much a part of fire protection as actual fire fighting operations. This prevention activity has the added advantage in that it is an inexpensive measure of protection. In fact in volunteer protected areas it costs nothing other than the interest and time devoted to such activities by members of the department. Other and outstanding advantages of the inspections that accompany fire prevention work are acquainting the public with the hazards of fire, a more intimate contact between the public and the fire department, an assured lowering of the number of fires and consequent fire losses, members of the department gain a more intimate knowledge of construction, interior layouts, and type of occupancies of structures that they may be called on to operate in or near.
To gain and maintain the benefits of fire prevention activities firemen must not relegate such activities to one week or a few weeks each year. Fire prevention work is a 52-week job. If practiced and conducted in a methodical manner, the attendant inspections for the prevention of fire will lessen the number of fires, minimize if not entirely eliminate the life hazards that always accompany fires, possibly reduce insurance premiums, considerably reduce the wear and tear on apparatus and equipment. By a lessened number of fire extinguishing operations there is a decided conservation of water, which in communities lacking public supply is an important factor, especially in periods of prolonged drought.
Statistical records prove that where fire prevention activities are a continuous fire department routine, fire losses have been considerably reduced, this reduction factor especially noticeable in dwellings and like occupancies.
Rural areas have not been thoroughly educated up to the all important part of fire prevention. In fact it is admissible that for other than a few small items in local newspaper and an occasional and belated radio appeal, Fire Prevention Week is just another week with little or no significance to those who should be vitally interested, for it is in farm and like sections that the aggregate fire losses in property and life are greatest.
To gain the objectives outlined in the foregoing, firemen must have a methodical and well coordinated plan to conduct the work of Fire Prevention.