Fire Prevention Week Universally Observed
Apparently More Fire Departments are Taking Fire Prevention Doctrine as a Steady Diet Instead of a Tonic
THIS year, Fire Prevention Week saw the usual campaigns, drives and other promotions, all of which had favorable repercussion, even if fire losses apparently showed no encouraging drop. What interested the editors of this Journal, however, is the apparently increasing number of fire chiefs who are now making fire prevention a part of their daily routine. There are more fire prevention bureaus, divisions and departments than ever before. More personnel are being given fire prevention duties than ever, even in the face of manpower shortages. Which is as it should be.
Unfortunately, there is insufficient space to even attempt to summarize all the good work that is going on. At best, we can only bring our readers herein a few high spots of activities taken from the records of municipal, private and government fire services.
Rochester and Monroe County, N. Y., Participate
The City of Rochester, and Monroe County fire fighters, put power into this year’s Fire Prevention drive. Starting with a full-scale exhibition of the use of high and low pressure fog on Class B fires, at a demonstration planned by the Rice-Culver Fire Department, and involving units of Monroe County’s Mutual Aid Plan, there was a continuous weekly round of demonstrations designed to dramatize modern fire control methods. Members of the County’s Third Battalion, burned down an abandoned house, but the scheduled exhibition of Battalion 1 to show the use of wet water received a set back when a gang of teen-agers ignited the prepared stacks of baled-hay some time before the scheduled fire was to occur. This caused an unplanned response by the firemen, but little observation by the public.
The Rochester Fire Bureau, Chief John A. Slattery, conducted demonstrations at industrial plants, hospitals and department stores. A dramatic feature was staged when several barrels of oil on the roof of a department store were ignited, a box alarm sounded and four pumpers, two aerial ladders, the Protectives (salvage and rescue), the Chief of the Third Battalion, and Chief Slattery responded. Firemen went through the whole thrilling show, with every operation described to spectators over the Police Bureau sound truck. Apparatus responding included Engines 1, 14, 17, 23; Ladders 1 and 2, and the Protectives.
This demonstration was climaxed by “rescues” of “injured” persons by ladders; the lowering of a fireman from the room by means of a life line, and slides down roof-ropes by fire fighters. The blaze in the oil drums was knocked out by Engine 17 using high pressure fog. All fire apparatus responded from their stations, following receipt of alarm transmitted by radio from Station KEV243 of the Fire Bureau. Some apparatus was at the scene within one minute from receipt of the call.
The annual Fire Prevention Week parade closed the observance, on Oct. 12, and displayed the equipment of some 40 fire companies, including Engines 1, 3, 4, 8 and 19; Ladders 1 and 10, the Protectives of the Rochester Bureau of Fire.
Dramatic Window Display Highspots Toledo’s F. P. Week Promotion
High points of this year’s Fire Prevention Week drive in Toledo, Ohio, was a striking animated display in the window of a downtown office building. The spectacular unit was built by Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., in cooperation with the Fire Prevention Committee of the local Chamber of Commerce.
The idea behind the display was to promote the use of non-flammable products. To dramatize the idea, passersby were urged to press a button in a designated spot on the window, whereupon an electric current was generated, causing a devil, painted on the display’s backing, to spout out real fire. This flame enveloped non-flammable fabrics, of course made of Fiberglas, to point the moral.
But this wasn’t all of the Toledo Fire Prevention story. Other activities promoted by the Toledo Fire Department, (William Malone is chief of the Fire Prevention Bureau) included: other downtown windows displaying fire fighting equipment; an all-week showing of fire apparatus at a downtown street intersection; visits by firemen to schools ; instruction to hospital employees by the Bureau. Each fire station held open house during the week. A wrecked automobile was set up at another downtown intersection with appropriate signs telling passersby that the driver failed to give right-of-way to fire apparatus. Even a high school band entered into the spirit by doing a halftime formation devoted to the fire prevention theme.
Cities Swap Fire Inspectors
Something like a new system for inspecting fire hazards may have been inaugurated in New Hampshire when an “exchange of fire inspectors” was conducted by the cities of Franklin, Laconia and Berlin, at which fire departments of the three cities exchanged inspectors so that “favoritism” or “fear” would not influence any inspections.
The sponsors of the project were the newspapers of the three communities aided by the Mountain Insurance Field Club.
Sidelights of Fire Prevention Week, 1951
As usually happens, Fire Prevention Week this year got off to a bad start in some localities. On the first day of the ceremonies, which were observed throughout the nation following the Presidential and numerous gubernatorial proclamations, the City of El Paso was visited by a destructive fire that resulted in the deaths of four persons and swept five flimsy structures in the warehouse district, causing damage estimated at $322,000.
The Norfolk. Va., Fire Division launched a nationwide “Red Letter Drive” to promote the awareness of Fire Prevention Week. Fire Chief R. L. Woolard said 5000 letters had been sent to insurance and safety organizations and fire departments, urging that every calendar distributed in the United States carry red-emblazoned numerals for the second week in October, which is National Fire Prevention Week. H. S. Beall, Deputy Chief of the Norfolk Fire Department and chairman of the “Red Letter” Campaign Committee, reports enthusiastic support of the idea.
Many Safety Councils of the nation participated actively in Fire Prevention Week. The climax event of the Week in New Jersey was the “Annual Fire Show” staged at the Pyrene Proving Ground, Newark. Invitations were sent to fire chiefs, fire protection and safety engineers and others to witness the demonstrations which dramatically showed how fires of every different kind could be extinguished when the right fire extinguishing agents were properly applied. Several hundred observers attended the out-of-door sessions lasting from 1:30 to 4:00 P.M.
The idea that a city may be too big to conduct a successful Fire Prevention campaign has been dispelled by New York. This year’s drive exceeded all previous efforts. Fire Commissioner Jacob Grumet and acting Mayor Sharkey handed out silver medals and congratulations to 335 public and parochial school children for prize winning essays on “The Fire Safe Home.” There were parades and exhibitions of fire fighting; old apparatus paraded the streets; fire stations were all “open house” for the public, and heavy use was made of the radio, television and press to register the idea on the city’s millions.
Reporters of the papers were permitted to make the rounds with a Bureau of Fire Prevention inspector, to prove what hazards are uncovered in the city.
The city’s buffs cooperated in many activities, as did service clubs and other organizations. New York is one of the many large municipalities that has promised support to the I.A.F.C.’s drive to “Save the Lives of Children.”
A make-believe fire that raged through 6,000 acres of hardwood forest in Northwestern Connecticut was successfully “corralled” 27 hours after it had been “sighted” on Oct. 3 by an imaginary warden. This imaginary fire actually became a huge natural classroom in which some 40 forest-fire experts from the six New England states and New York met to solve equipment and operational problems.
Late on Oct. 5th, the experts closed their log books on the “fire” and the first four-day training session of its kind in the region. The session was sponsored by the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission, a seven-state compact organization organized after the disastrous New England fires of 1947.
Classroom lessons were held at the camp of Yale University’s Forest School. As the supposed fires were logged, imaginary forces swung into ection to control and extinguish them. All forms of communications were used in the exercises and on the final morning a critique was held in which officials frankly admitted a host of mistakes and stumbling blocks, but all agreed a long step forward had been taken in welding the techniques of seven states into one. The worst obstacles were the odd-sized hose couplings and hose used by different states.