Fire Prevention as Essential as Fire Fighting
GENERAL FEATURE ARTICLES
Joseph L. Baldwin, State fire marshal of Pennsylvania, has issued the following:
The aim of every company comprising a fire department is naturally to reach the highest point of efficiency in equipment in fighting fires and rendering to the community the best of service. In addition to fighting fires, and of equal, if not of more, importance should be the prevention of fires, which would mean the saving of many thousands of dollars, and in reducing the risk of loss of life assumed by every member of a fire company when responding to a fire. Fire prevention is to-day recognized in many of the States as of great importance, and associations are being formed for that purpose. Not to be behind other States, the State fire marshal would suggest and urge that the chief and individual members of every fire company in the State become thoroughly familiar with the construction of the buildings in their respective districts by making frequent in spections of the same and report to the proper official any building or structure that by reason of its condition is found especially liable to fire and that is so situated as to endanger other property: also, report any accumulation of trash or rubbish in or around buildings that by reason of its inflammable nature might cause fire. Interest should be taken by members of a company in knowing that their district is clean and that all fire traps and possible cause of fire is positively eliminated, Fire prevention should appeal to and be the slogan of every company and work along that line should be vigorously pushed. The preparedness of companies for emergencies should not be neglected, and every company, whether large or small, should have proper and full equipment for the fighting of fires; care should be given to the selection of the apparatus, and particularly to the quality and care of hose. After using hose it should be thoroughly dried and placed on truck or reel so as to be in readiness for instant service when required. Use care in selection of the thread; see that it is interchangeable with that used by other companies, so that no delay may occur should occasion arise necessitating extension of line and use of hose belonging to others. Look into the water supply for fire purposes; see that it is adequate at all times; see that feed pipes are of sufficient size to give a good, strong pressure. Do this at once, so that when a fire occurs you will not be hampered in your efforts to save property and be compelled by lack of water to stand about in a helpless manner. Go over the fire plugs; see that there is a sufficient number and that they arc conveniently placed. Make it the duty of some particular member to frequently flush pipes and be watchful in winter time that plugs do not freeze. A little attention may be the means of saving life and property that might otherwise be sacrificed by this neglect. In boroughs or towns where an electric fire alarm system has not been installed, or where no definite system is in use, it has been found by experience that the numbering of the fire plugs from number one (1) up to the number of plugs provided is a simple and effective system and has given excellent satisfaction where used, and by issuing cards giving the number and location of each plug and distributing cards to each and every householder they will become familiar with the plug nearest to their home and can readily report the location of a fire. The town council can have the cards printed and distributed, but in the event they fail or refuse to do so they can probably be procured from some public-spirited business man who will provide them with his advertisement on the front of the card.) When a fire is discovered a telephone message should be immediately sent to fire headquarters, giving the number of the nearest plug, and the alarm should be sounded either by bell, whistle or the old-fashioned steel tire alarm, such as is in use in many sections of the country. As an example in marking plugs, say plug is located at the corner of two principal streets, this plug should be numbered one (1) and its location noted on the card. One stroke of the bell or one toot from a whistle or a stroke on the tire would indicate that a fire was near plug number one (1). If a fire was near plug twenty-five (25), then there would be two (2) strokes, then an interval, and the five (5) strokes—11-11111—-indicating plug number twenty-five (25) and location of fire. It should be arranged to repeat each alarm at least three (3) times to avoid mistakes. This system can be carried out by strokes to cover any number of plugs, but care should be taken to avoid any number that might be confusing in giving the alarm. Below is given a sample of cards with streets named after each number, showing just how plugs should be numbered to avoid confusion. Hang this card on the wall where it can be easily seen :
Fire Alarm System
(Name of place).
Learn the number of fire plug nearest your home and in case of fire call up the Fire Department, give your name and number of plug. In case you have no ‘phone go where the nearest ‘phone is and immediately call the Department.
All fires arc the same size at the start. Rubbish heaps are fire breeders. A clean town will have few fires. Remember that it is better to plan for the saving of life and property before loss occurs than afterward. Keep buckets filled with water and place them so they will be handy for use in case of fire. The numbers can be run to any number required corresponding to plugs, but numbers such as 11, 22, 33, 44, 55, 66, 77, 88, 99 or any number with a 0 should be avoided. If plugs go above 100, start with 123 to 129 and so on up, but do not use any having two numbers alike, such as 133, 144, 155, etc.