Fire Prevention Committee in Minnesota

Fire Prevention Committee in Minnesota

A recent bulletin issued by George H. Nettleton, fire marshal of Minnesota, gives an interesting resume of the work of his office in fire prevention, which is worth quoting entire, as follows: “The fire marshal’s office is engaged at this time in organizing fire prevention committees in towns throughout the state of a population of one thousand and over. The object is to have a group of men in every town who will take an interest in fire protection and fire prevention work, make clean-up inspections, report bad conditions to the fire marshal, hold fire prevention meetings, help secure better fire fighting equipment for their local fire departments, work hand in hand with the fire chief and his men and work in every way possible to help reduce the fire hazard in their town. There is an unlimited field of work for a committee of this kind and, as the work is of a civic nature and helps to improve the town and make it a better town to live in, the men on the committee have an opportunity to render service they could no other way. A set program has been outlined in organizing these committees and the work has been assigned to several of the deputy fire marshals. The work is progressing nicely and the results obtained so far are most satisfactory. Already over seventyfive towns have been organized, and every town in the state over one thousand population will be organized by the time the Eire Prevention Congress is held. The deputy, on visiting a town, looks up the fire chief and with him calls on the mayor or president of the village council. The deputy explains his mission, requesting the mayor to name at least five men who will take an active interest in fire prevention work. These men are then duly appointed by the fire marshal. After our conference with the mayor, a general inspection is made of the town schools, theaters, basements, storerooms, and alleys are inspected. Clean-up orders, or orders requiring buildings repaired or removed, are issued where necessary. The fire department equipment is inspected and the adequacy of the city water system is looked into and a report made to the fire marshal on the general condition of the same. In many cases it is found that the town is in a fairly good condition and that it has a well organized department but the fire apparatus is forty years behind the times, and in some cases is in a most deplorable condition. The fire marshal then takes the matter up with the mayor of the town by letter, urging that immediate steps be taken to provide up-to-date apparatus that can be depended upon, and in order that the men, who in many cases have volunteered to serve the city in case of fire and do what they can to protect life and property from fire, may be properly equipped. After the committee has been appointed a letter of instructions and a tentative program for the committee to follow is mailed to the chairman. The department will also furnish blanks to be used in making inspections. The committees will not be authorized to issue orders but will be supplied with a form of request to be filled in and left with the owner or occupant of the property where corrections are desired. The fire marshal’s office will stand back of the committees in this work and follow up any cases which are not complied with. As stated above, there is an unlimited field for service in this work, and with these committees all working with the same object in view, that of eliminating all unnecessary waste by fire, the annual fire loss in Minnesota is going to he greatly reduced, which will eventually mean the reduction of insurance rates and the saving of thousands of dollars to the policy holders of the state.”

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