FIRE PREVENTION METHODS

FIRE PREVENTION METHODS

DEPARTMENT NEWS

St. Paul, Minn., buildings are now inspected by the State hire Prevention Association.

A bill providing for a State fire marshalls’ bureau in New Jersey will come before the next session of the State Legislature.

The Bangor, Me., Chamber of Commerce, at its annual banquet, January 12, considered the fire waste question.

Lieutenant Governor-elect E. P. Barry, of Massachusetts, addressed the State Fire Chiefs’ Club at its recent monthly meeting on fire prevention.

Chief T. O. Doane, of Plainfield, N. J., recently addressed the nurses and heads of departments at Muhlenberg Hospital on means of fire prevention and what to do in case of fire.

To reduce the fire hazard and insure the cleanliness of the streets in the business district of Lynn, Mass., there will be three collections of paper each week by the board of health.

The Meriden, Conn., fire department will probably have a complete fire inspection bureau and a fire prevention system, for which an ordinance is now pending in the city council. Chied Donovan favors it.

Officers ot the Kentucky State Fire Prevention Association are strongly in favor of the enactment into law of a bill providing for compulsory instruction on the subject of fire prevention in the public schools.

Warrants have been served in Baltimore, Md., by Assistant Chief Burkhardt, of the fire department, on people who have failed to comply with notices relative to the removal of obstructions near windows or entrances to fire escapes in factories.

Chief John Kenlon, Deputy Commissioners Weeks and Laimbeer and Acting Deputy Chief Swartout have been appointed members of the Fire Department Board of Standards, whose duty is to pass on the rulings of the Fire Prevention bureau of New York City.

The Birmingham, Ala., city council has adopted the anti-shingle ordinance, which bars other than fireproof roofs. The lumber and roofing dealers had been fighting this for months. It does not go into effect until October 1, 1914, when all new roofs must be of fireproof construction.

Twelve hundred girls employed in a tobacco factory at Jersey City, on January 17, furnished a notable lesson in fire drill efficiency when they marched unhurt and in perfect order from the factory when it caught fire. When the fire was out the girls went back to their places. “Go, take the day off, with a full week credited in your pay,” said the boss.

In an effort to secure more regular reports on fires in rural localities State Fire Marshal F. R. Morgaridge of Illinois has sent letters to the town clerks of the State. It is in the small towns and rural districts that statistics are hard to secure. As a general rule the larger cities report promptly, as provided by law. It is intimated that further laxness may be punished.

The good effects of the campaign against violations of fire prevention regulations being waged by the Baltimore fire department is to be seen in the fact that reports of violations have dwindled from sixty to eighty a day to an average of eight a day. In many of the factories, stores, apartment houses, hotels and theaters where violations were found the unlawful conditions have been corrected.

“Cleveland has a splendid fire department, but it is overworked at times as result of fires caused mainly by the enormous amount of light combustible material used in construction of buildings, and by individual carelessness and criminal indifference manifested by owners and occupants,” said F. Arthur James, fire insurance inspector in a speech on “Hazards Found in Sprinklered Risks” at a meeting of the Insurance Society of Cleveland one evening last week.

There is a strong probability that the fire chiefs of New York State will be given more authority under the law in the near future through the efforts of the New York fire marshal’s office. J. F. Roesch, acting fire marshal during the illness of Thomas J. Ahearn, while in Elmira last week, said he believes that close co-operation between every city administration and its fire department head is essential to secure the best results and furnish proper and adequate protection for property owners.

the president of the Missouri Fire Prevention Association, has issued a call for fire insurance agents to gather in Springfield January 16 and 17 to discuss ways and means for reducing the fire hazards by more general co-operation of citizens in all towns. The first of a series ot meetings to be held in ditterent parts of the State under auspices of the State Insurance Department. The a_____ms of both are similar. “Reduce the loss, reduce the cost,” will be the slogan of the F’ire Prevention Association.

Spurred to action by the influence of Miss Mary McCabe, of Little Rock, Ark., vice-president for Arkansas of the National Fire Protection Association, the women of Stuttgart have organized a fire prevention association of their own. Miss McCabe and representatives of the State association visited Stuttgart and addressed mass meetings of the citizens, discussing the importance of a definite course of improvement for the reduction of the fire hazard and the consequent reduction in the insurance rates. One of the results will be improvements of the fire department, and a general cleaning up of premises to cut down the fire hazard.

The Pennsylvania State Fire Marshal has called upon the producers of moving picture films and the managers of “movie” show places to refuse to make any displays of films which contain views of firebugs at work or which have any suggestions of incendiarism. He says the idea is bad and as much care should be shown in excluding such films as those which suggest murder or robbery. Promoters, he says, should not be allowed to produce or display any picture showing the incendiary about to set off any device to cause a fire in a building or to make display of any of the various means known to be used by firebugs. “Such pictures appeal to children and the unscrupulous, as everyone knows, and the ideas depicted should not have anything harmful.”

State Insurance Commissioner Blunt of Maine has opened a state-wide campaign for fire prevention and has called upon the business organizations to co-operate in the movement. Commissioner Blunt announces the annual fire loss in Maine to be $3,000,000 due, according to his statement, to backwardness in adopting modern prevention methods. He estimates that the yearly saving, if active campaigning is done to bring about the adoption of prevention principles and practices, will amount to at least $1,000,000. Arthur Chapin of Bangor, president of the Maine State Board of Trade, an organization composed of local boards of trade and chambers of commerce, has appointed a committee on fire prevention, consisting of citizens who do not include firemen or real experts in fire matters.

A strong organization as a means of protecting the interests of moving picture exhibitors was advocated by Samuel F. Wheeler last week before the Moving Picture League at Phildelphia. Mr. Wheeler who spoke on “The Relation of Moving Picture Exhibitors to the Municipal Authorities, was very bitter against the fire department for the measures it has adopted to prevent a disaster from fire in moving picture theatres. He declared there was no sense in the fire notice that Director Porter has recently ordered them to throw on the screen. He added: “Since there is no strong organization of exhibitors here to enforce our wishes there is nothing left for us to do but to gain them by individual effort. I, for one, will certainly not obey Porter’s order, for should a panic occur I would be hauled before the court and could give no excuse for my conduct but that Porter told me to do this or that.”

Sixty inspectors of the Michigan State Fire Prevention Association are inspecting fire conditions in Detroit, Mich. They work in pairs under the personal direction of State Fire Marshal John T. Winship. The object is to instruct owners and occupants in the best methods of fire prevention, and to point out dangerous conditions that may breed fires. Each building will be inspected for defective wiring, faulty heating apparatus, bad chimneys and poor repair. Every defect will be noted and reported to the secretary of the association, who will write the owner or tenant, asking him to correct the faulty condition. If no reply is received within ten days, saying that the repairs have been made, a second notice will be mailed. If no reply is forthcoming in ten days a report will be made to the state fire marshal, who will have a deputy make a second inspection. If he finds the fault unremedied the responsible person will be liable to a fine.

The new fire warden system for the prevention of fires at Columbus, O., has been highly successful, according to Chief Charles J. Lauer. From the time of the establishment of the system, on October 5, to December 1, the number of inspections of buildings and other places mounted to 3,008. During the same period there were 427 cases of fire danger corrected and 111 other cases are still pending. There are now at least 427 less chances for fires than there were before the new system was inaugurated. The fire dangers that have been corrected consisted of a varied assortment of things. Under the new system, the captains and lieutenants still do most of the inspecting, but whenever they find a fire danger they report it to the fire wardens. The latter then assume the responsibility of seeing to it that the trouble is corrected. This duty is often arduous and requires days of time. The other inspectors, being relieved of the corrective duty, have more time for their regular inspections and are able to cover much more territory.

The Cleveland, O., prevention bureau, established a year ago, has aided in cutting the city’s fire losses $600,000 below last year’s total and has kept the number of alarms at last year’s mark of 3,000 despite growth of the city at a rate exceeding that of any other year in its history, according to all available records. The total number of alarms for this year is 3,012. Assistant Fire Chief Charles B. Whyler, head of the bureau of fire prevention, estimates that the total for the year would be about 3,080. While this will be slightly in excess of last year’s record the chief pointed out the total alarms in 1912 exceeded the total for 1911 by 715. This would indicate that the work of the fire prevention bureau has averted at least 700 fires in Cleveland this year, he thinks. The cut in fire losses is an estimate based on rounding up of the year without any unusually large fire. The total for the first six months was $200,000 below the total for the corresponding months of 1912. “The increase in population has been about 50,000 or 60,000 this year.”

The fireproofing qualities of “Sil-O-Cel,” a natural mineral product, consisting chiefly of silica, were tested December 20, 1913, in an experiment in San Francisco. A one-story, tworoom frame building, 14 ft. 10 in. long, 6 ft. wide and 5 ft. 7 in. high, had been erected at Lombard and Laguna streets and finished outside and inside with wood lath and plaster. In one of the rooms the spaces between the studding of the walls and between the floor joists had been filled with “Sil-O-Cel,” while the walls and floors of the other room were left without filling. When both rooms were set afire simultaneously the protected room was later found practically uninjured, while the other was completely consumed. Among those who witnessed the test were officials of the city and of the Panama-Pacific Exposition. It is stated that the material is to be used in some of the amusement places at the exposition. Owing to the granulated nature of the substance it fills all spaces when applied, and is said to be soundproof as well as fireproof. The material is handled by the Kieselguhr Company of America, Monadnock Building, San Francisco. The company takes the product from its own mines in California.

Building Inspector Anderson, of Oklahoma City, has refused to allow S. H. Kress & Co., who are planning to build in Oklahoma City, to construct a three-story building with 75-foot open front for all floors unless fireproofed.

FIRE PREVENTION METHODS

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FIRE PREVENTION METHODS

Chief Louis Pujol, of New Orleans, La., ordered daily inspection of stores during holidays by firemen.

The Board of Trade, Association of Credit Men, Insurance Club and architects of Memphis, Tenn., are arranging a public fire prevention meeting.

Chief John A. Mullen, of Boston, says: “There should be a fire prevention bureau made up of practical men of the fire department who nave real authority.”

One of the associations which write “only sprmklered risks” is reported to have sustained a total loss on a policy for $170,000 on a risk in the western part of mis btate.

btate insurance Commissioner J. W. Blunt, Of Maine, delivered a public address at Biddetord, in that btate, last week, on “Fire Prevention and Prevention of Fire Waste.”

The Canadian Manufacturers’ Association has arranged for a fire prevention speaking tour in the principal Canadian cities in conjunction with the Canadian club and local boards of trade.

Morris T. Conn, a member of the city council of Philadelphia, who recently made charges against the fire prevention commission, has been appointed chairman of a special committee to investigate that commission.

Harold Hunt Jones, who impersonated an inspector of the New York Board of Fire Underwriters, as a means of collecting small sums from merchants and manufacturers, was sentenced last week to 30 days in the penitentiary.

The New York members of the National Fire Protection Association met Friday evening, December 12, at 20 West 39th street, at 8 o’clock, the purpose of the meeting is to develop a strong local interest in the work of lire prevention.

More than sixty-five Indiana fires, attributed to careless smokers, twelve of which were caused by men who were smoking in bed and then fell asleep, have been reported to the State fire marshal within the past seven months. The total loss resulting is estimated at $13,806.

Although no figures have been compiled as to the number of fires resulting from cigarettes as compared with those resulting from lighted cigars, statistics published by many fire prevention association all over the United States prove that the former is much the worse offender.

The careless smoker keeps his habit of match dropping with him, as is illustrated by the chap in Montreal who wanted a pair of scissors in a store in the dark. He scratched his match, caught sight of the scissors, tossed away the match, and it dropped into an open can of gasoline. Loss $45,000.

“If there was an epidemic of smallpox,” declared Assistant Chief George B. Whyler, of Cleveland, recently, “the country would spend large sums of money to stamp out the cause rather than administer to the disease alone. Yet year after year we spend money on fire protection only, never spending a cent on prevention.”

Stale Fire Marshal Baldwin, of Pennsylvania, has issued a leaflet entitled “A Little Care May Save Great Sorrow,” which refers to fire prevention during the holidays. It contains information relative to holiday fires, such as are issued by most of the State fire marshals and similar to those that fire chiefs have been issuing annually for many years.

At a recent meeting of the City Club of Philadelphia one of the things it considered was the statement made at the fire waste convention in that city by Deputy Chief William Guevin in charge of the fire prevention bureau of New York city that underwriters do not back fire prevention commissions of the country in their real work for fire prevention.

The letters F. D. P., meaning “Fire Department Protection,” when noted on any map of or report on any town or city, is considered a good reason for making a fire department protected rate on each and every risk within the geographical lines of such city or town, regardless of the fact that such risk may be located where it could only be reached by a flying machine.

btate Fire Marshal Baldwin, of Pennsylvania, issued a statement in which he called upon the parents of the btate to teach their children fire prevention at home. “There are fire drills in the schools for the children and they should be taught fire prevention at home,” he said, “It is highly important that they know what to do in case of fire. Nothing appeals more to children than drilling, and once they know what to do in case of fire, their parents’ mind will be free from worry.”

The fire prevention ordinance recently passed by the Passaic, N. J., city commissioners became effective December 1. Chief Reginald H. Bowleer at the same time got right on the job. He sent a man from each of his companies on the first of a series of inspection tours that will be made until the entire city has been covered. Then, from time to time, these trips will be made all over again. Chief Bowker will take up fire prevention in the public schools with the superintendent.

The fire prevention committee of the Arkansas Federation of Women’s Clubs recently offered prizes to the school children of Little Rock for essays on fire prevention. There were two prizes of $5 each for high school pupils and a prize of $1 for each grade in the grammar and primary schools. The prizes were donated by the chamber of commerce and the Arkansas Fire Prevention Association. The essays were read by the writers at a public meeting in the high school auditorium Dec. 4, and the prizes awarded.

The City Club, of Rochester, N. Y., recently heard H. W. Forster, of the Independent Inspection Bureau of Philadelphia, discuss three points of fire prevention, as follows: First, shall the fire department be charged with the duty of maintaining an efficient inspection of all property, and be authorized to enter private premises and check any carelessness on the part of tenants or owners; second, the installation of sprinkling systems; third, the consideration of amendments to the building code.

The Michigan State Fire Prevention Association will meet in Detroit in January for an inspection of fire conditions, and it is expected that the whole city will be thoroughly examined, particularly the old buildings in the downtown section which, insurance men say, will cause a big conflagration unless they are properly cared for. The association works with the State fire marshal serving notice upon owners of buildings considered dangerous and turning the case over to the State authorities if the warning is not complied with.

Deputy Chief William Guerin, in charge of the New York Fire Prevention Bureau, has sent to the State assembly now in session at Albany amendments to chapter 695 of the existing fire laws to rectify a mistake made at the previous session, which gave the fire commissioner authority to supervise and remedy fire perils in factories, loft buildings, schools and similar structures, and that, except in the case of factories, this power had not been returned. Under the present law there exists an extremely dangerous condition in factories because of divided responsibility.

Chicago members of the National Fire Protection Association on December 16 organized a Chicago chapter. There are now 192 members in the city, representing architects, engineers, manufacturers, insurance men and others, except practical firemen, who are interested in the reduction of fire waste of the country. It is expected to increase this to several thousand and to ally the various civic bodies which are interested in the subject. Frank D. Chase, an engineer, chairman of the fire prevention committee of the City Club, was elected president with W. S. Boyd, an electrical engineer, as secretary.

After listening to a protest from a delegation representing the Motion Picture Exhibitors’ League, of Philadelphia, against the wording of the lire warning adopted by the fire prevention commission for display on tne screens m motion picture houses, Director Porter refused to make any change. He has based his relusal upon the successful working of the plan of flashing the warning before audiences in New York and other cities. The committee suggested the elimination of the words, “Fire warning; choose your exits” as being calculated to cause a feeling of panic. They wanted to substitute the words: “Locate your exits, walk to them in case of emergency; don’t run!”

There is a very potent lire hazard in the common English sparrow at this time of the year. The birds are now carrying paper, rags, straw and other combustible sturt into cracks and crannies of frame houses to provide for their winter comfort. They generally build their winter nests as close to cracks in cnimneys as possible, in some instances layers of mortar have been completely removed. With the starting of fires these accumulations become a serious menace, and the vicinity of all chimneys should be carefully inspected to remove it. The sparrows should be killed, winter nests destroyed, mortar replaced and means of ingress to the places closed before there can be an assurance of safety.

The State fire marshal of Kansas is asking for a complete report from the mayors of the second and third class cities in regard to their efforts in lire prevention, their fire-fighting apparatus, source of water supply, etc. me fire marshal’s department expects to use these reports as a basis for efforts along the line of fire prevention. They will also enable the State fire marshal or his deputy to become fairly well acquainted with its facilities to prevent and fight tires before going to a town to inspect buildings and conditions, This will save considerable time, which is essential, as the fire marshal’s force is very small, and especially since most of their time is necessarily spent in investigating causes of fires and hunting up evidence in incendiary cases.

Springfield has been selected by State Insurance Commissioner Charles G. Revelle, of Missouri, as a gathering place for a district convention to be held in January, to consider fire prevention. The meeting will be held m conjunction with several others in centers of fire prevention districts which will be defined by the State Insurance Department. Each district will serve as a unit of a fire prevention campaign which will be State wide. The delegates will be appointed from every community in southwest Missouri by Governor Elliott W. Major and Insurance Comissioner Revelle upon recommendations made by the mayors of cities or the presidents of commercial clubs. Socalled experts on fire prevention will address the convention and avoidable causes of fire loss will be discussed. The necessity of fire proof buildings, competent fire inspection, and well disciplined fire departments will be urged, and an effort will be made to launch a fire prevention crusade in every community in the State.

In summing up the first year’s work of his department, State Fire Marshal Baldwin, of Pennsylvania, has given out the following report: “The active operation of the department commenced in September, 1912, and during the year there have been received 5,800 reports of fires and about the same number of inspections made in 38 counties on compaints made of structures in dilapidated and dangerous condition, accumulation of trash, or the careless handling and storage of combustibles or explosive materials. There have been 272 special investigations made of reported incendiary fires in 45 counties, resulting in 32 convictions. Of these 14 were straight convictions, three confessions, seven suspects left jurisdiction of the State, two suspects committed suicide, one suspect died in jail before trial, five children were committed by the court to the care of guardians and 18 acquittals. Eleven cases are now in the hands of district attorneys, 40 are still under investigation and 171 in which there was either no evidence of incendiarism or lack of sufficient evidence to warrant prosecution.”