FIRE PROTECTION AT BELLEVUE HOSPITAL.

FIRE PROTECTION AT BELLEVUE HOSPITAL.

Besides the large amount of fire protection afforded to Bellevue hospital, Manhattan, New York, the institution has an efficient private fire brigade whose distinguishing feature is that its mode of operation is not accompanied by any noise. Its members work in absolute silence, under pain of instant dismissal from the brigade and suspension as an employe of the hospital. All the work is done by visual signaling—motions of the arms by day and red lanterns by night. I he members are the orderlies, messengers and other male attaches of the hospital, and their discipline is perfect. Their services are frequently in demand, as the hospital is made up of many buildings, some of which are frame and others by no means even fire-resistant. A chime-whistle gives notice of a lire, and the doctors are notified by the muffled tinkle of a telephone bell. They, with the volunteer firemen, drop everything, and are on duty on the instant, the latter equipped with axes, ladders, hose, etc. The women nurses, also, repair at once to their wards, and the city lire department is summoned without a moment’s delay. As the latter approaches the hospital, the sound of the whistles and gongs on the apparatus is stilled; the gates are opened silently on the river front, two, three or four fireboats appear— all acting under the orders of Deputy Chief Kruger, who has jurisdiction over the fleet; and wherever the chief of the fire department may be or on whatever other fire he may be engaged, he leaves that work and hurries to Bellevue. The hospital brigade is made up of two battalions of twenty seven men each, and is under the command of Chief Steward I’eter Smith, a former member of the Batavia, N. Y., fire department, and has, besides, live honorary officers all of the New York city fire department: Chief Howe, of the Highth battalion; Capt. Graham, truck company No. 7; Capt. box, engine company No. 25; Capt. Morrison, engine company No. 16, and l.ieut. Potter, truck company No. 7. A code of signals has been adopted. To turn on the water, both arms are extended at night a red lantern is held in each extended hand; to bring ladders, the signaler, stooping forwards, extends his right arm and waves Ins cap -or a red lantern at night; to fetch a stretcher, the signaler stands upright and holds both his arms steadily full length above his head two lanterns in his bands at night; and so on. So quickly do they work that, unless the fire breaks out in, or endangers a ward, the patients know nothing of it. The brigade was organised five years ago by its present chief, Philip Smith, and during that time has been called upon to fight some thirty fires, at only one of which was the property loss serious. No life has ever been lost by lire since the brigade was established —a splendid record, considering that the population of Bellevue hospital is close upon z.coo, of whom very many are incapable of helping themselves in case of danger.

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