FIREFIGHTING ABROAD.

FIREFIGHTING ABROAD.

Captain Schmittberger, of the New York city police department, who has been spending his vacation in Germany, incidentally watched the operations of the Berlin fire brigade after a turnout for a fire. He took stock of the be-sabred chief officers, their gold laced uniforms, and resplendent helmets, and was particularly struck by the military methods, of the service. On turning out for a fire alarm, the men formed up in two lines and were inspected before they left for the scene of operations, being especially careful to salute their officers previous to their departure. Had Captain Schmittberger accompanied them, he would have had still further food for criticism. He would have seen among other things the firemen solemnly drop the hose on the approach of an officer, salute the latter respectfully, and then resume operations in the same leisurely manner, and, like all other travelers who return from abroad, would have come back to New York (as he evidently has come back) with his regard for American firefighting methods greatly heightened. His experience at Berlin shows that those of Europe, as a rule, are too dead alive even for the slowburning buildings of that continent, and. unlike those of America, are conducted in timehonored. old-fogey style. In nearly every particular (except iu a verv few of the more enlightened cities and towns in Great Britain and Ireland, among which, by the way, the British m-tropolis does not rank from a firefighting standpoint), there is no pretence at science either in the manner of attacking a fire or in the appliances made use of. whereas in this country the fire service is conducted on a scientific basis, and is constantly being improved bv addition of apparatus, either entirely new or so remodeled as to be equivalent to new. On the other side of the Atlantic, however, the tendency is to plod along in the same old rut and either to treat as mere fads the lifenets, cellar hose, chemical engines, aerial extension ladders, electric fire alarm, swinging harness, with its self-locking hames, etc., search lights, and the like, or to speak of them with contenmt as American inventions and. therefore, unworthy of notice outside of the new world. We fear it will take a few more big conflagrations and several more holocausts hofore the fact will dawn upon the European authorities that, because a fortyfoot or,’ at most, a fifty-foot fire ladder was good enough in the past, it is good enough for the present, or because a thin inch and a quarter or inch and a half stream has hitherto been thought sufficient to thrown on a burning building, it will serve every purpose for the future, or because the old methods of transmitting an alarm of fire satisfied the (reiterations of the past. it will supplv the nlace of the electric fire alarm telegraph system of today. For the same reason we doubt if it will not take years of disaster to convince the authorities of continental Europe, with their deeprooted prejudices in favor of militarism in their fire brigades, to substitute even a less unelastic system, or to persuade the London county council that, because a naval, military, or militia officer enjoys the favor of the Court or some one with powerful influence in high circles, he, and not an intelligent and practical fireman, who has risen from the ranks by his own merits, is a fit and proper person to serve as superintendent of the Metropolitan fire brigade. Recent events, however, show that the dull waters are being agitated, and that even Londoners are slowly coming to the conclusion that the world moves.

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