Fire Prevention in Western Shipyards
With the appointment of E. R. Campbell as fire marshal for the Eleventh District, embracing shipyards in Vancouver, Washington, Portland, Astoria, and Tillamook, in Oregon, a modern system of fire prevention, fire protection and fire fighting equipment was installed in all the yards, cognizance being taken, however, of the individual needs and character of the different yards, The approximate number of men employed is 30,000, distributed among thirteen wooden and four steel shipyards and four outfitting plants. At the time of the appointment of Mr. Campbell he was assistant city fire marshal for the city of Portland and had been in the service of the city for the past twelve years, and was given a transfer permit for service with the United States Shipping Board.
The first official act of the new district head was the appointment of a plant fire marshal for each of. the yards
under the jurisdiction of. the United States Shipping Board. Immediately general instructions were given covering fire hazards and special attention was given to the matter of fire prevention. Installation of equipment was followed by the organization of an efficient plant fire department in each shipyard, one or more companies being on duty during the three shifts. Drills were had from one to three times each week and thorough instructions were given in the handling of all fire equipment.
Under the personal direction of the new district head, the number of men employed in the district yards belonging to the plant lire departments soon outnumbered the number employed by the city of Portland. In actual figures, the shipyards had 1,227 firemen against the city’s total of 450 men. Outlying shipyards carried 575 firemen and local yards 652 men. In the Fall of 1918 the United States Shipping Board extended its jurisdiction to include all war auxiliary plants in the district, which were 32 in number. To these plants the same general system of fire protection and apparatus was applied. Regular inspection of all equipment is made, weekly reports showing the condition of the appliances and a resume of fire prevention work performed, number of drills had, number of day and night watchmen on duty and a summary of conditions and recommendations tending to increase the efficiency of the service. Plant marshals wire all fires, following with a written report in narrative form: cause; how alarm was given; how fought; apparatus used ; assistance rendered by the city department; action of sprinklers involved; cause of failure of plant protection system, if any; extent of fire, including damage to ships, plant, supplies and materials; direction and velocity of wind ; temperature, if unusual: condition of system and apparatus after fire; remarks and suggestions to prevent a repetition of the fire.
The Portland yards carried approximately 652, and the outlving ship yards, 575, a total of 1,227 firemen in all.
The accompanving illustration shows one of the fire crews at the shipyards of the Peninsula Shipbuilding Co., at Portland. Oregon, with the type of apparatus used. There are ten members in the day crew and nine on the night relief. Plant Fire Marshal Ruck Keith is shown at the extreme right. Equipment consists of two hose carts, each carrying about 450 feet of hose; 16 fire hydrants; 100 chemical extinguishers; two Pyrenes; 4,000 feet of hose distributed throughout the yard. The Peninsula shipyard has four ways and builds 3,500-ton wooden ships. Number of men employed about 1,200. On exhibition run day crew ran 600 feet and laid-in 100 feet of hose and threw water in exactly three minutes.