Chief Kenlon Outlines his Scheme to Increase the Usefulness of the International Association of Fire Engineers in his Address Before the Convention at Kansas City—His Goal is 5,000 Members by the Next Convention.

FIRE DEPARTMENT ENGINEERING is a life-work with me the same as it is with most of you. I live, breathe and sleep with it, by it and for it; am sincerely proud of it because of its very nature, and am filled with the ambition to render all the energy and effort within me to advance the profession of fire fighting and fire prevention to its highest plane. This desire has grown within me for many years, and now that you have honored me with your greatest gift, the Presidency of the International Association of Fire Engineers, I shall lay before you what I believe must ultimately be our chief aims and objects. I am profoundly sensible of the great responsibility that devolves upon me as President of this Association, and am keenly desirous of doing something for that profession which has done so much for me.

Chief John Kenlon, New York Fire Department, President for 1919-20

Most of us who have been watching and studying fire department practice know that it is varied, and that widely differing practices, methods and standards obtain in the different cities. It is so because of the very nature of its growth.

In organizing a volunteer company little or no limit was placed on the manual strength. As the responsibility of upkeep and the number of fires grew, a few paid men were added until gradually the volunteer force was displaced by a partpaid, part-called, or by a full-paid force. The factors that determined the manual strength of the part-paid and full-paid forces have been largely finances and the increased demands due to increased service rather than any well-defined and prescribed requirements. So far as the apparatus and equipment is concerned, we find that these are all of a greatly varied character according only to the standards of material, design and workmanship of the different builders.

While the American Fire Department of today stands among the highest in the world, its gradual growth from the time of the early volunteer department to the powerful fullpaid department has been one of expediency rather than along lines of well-defined standards. At this point permit me to say that by the term American Fire Department I mean all departments in North and South America. I might even go farther and say that what applies to the American Fire Department applies to every other fire department throughout the world.

I have made this brief review because I wish to direct attention to the serious fact that so far as standards of practice, methods, apparatus and equipment are concerned we have but very few. This is so because this Association has not established complete standards or uniformity of practice.

The National Board of Fire Underwriters, through its Engineering Staff, has encouraged very strongly better and more uniform methods in fire department practice, and with very good results as far as it could go without seriously encroaching on the prerogatives of the fire chiefs. As 1 understand it we are bound together in this organization to aid in the betterment of the city which we are paid to serve. As a matter of fact this association is nothing more, nothing less than a service organization in which each member, respecting one another’s opinions and by mutual exchange of ideas, evolves plans and methods of carrying forward our chosen work that makes our business a profession worthy of recognition as such by our citizenship. I believe we have over-looked, or touched very lightly, the most important work for which we come together. That work is standardization: standardization of everything so far as it is possible to standardize.

During the moments of serious thought on this question of standardization my mind naturally turned to the activities of other organizations of professional men I found that other classes of professional men have organizations that have set forth, as a body, for each particular profession, standards of practice, methods, material, machinery and devices.

If we are to place the American Fire Department on an engineering basis we, too, must set forth standards as standards of this association, and where standards are not possible, we must sooner or later prescribe in detail the principles that should govern practice and methods.

Realizing the great necessity for standards and the lack of complete standards in our field of activity I have concluded, after most careful deliberation, to direct my every effort to start, at least, the work of establishing standards of, by and for the International Association of Fire Engineers, covering all the ramifications of organization, equipment and methods for the volunteer, part-paid and full-paid departments. Therefore, I have laid out the following program, which I propose to initiate and keep going during my term of office as President.

In order that this association may justify its existence as a fire department engineering organization, it must be: Firstly, a technical authority establishing fire department standards, guiding the thought and methods of fire department practice: Secondly, it must increase, and make its influence felt by and through the medium of printed standards, through the medium of professional journals or, in lieu thereof, through a quarterly publication devoted to influencing fire department practice, thus disseminating knowledge and compiling statistics in such form as will make them most valuable as a guide in fire department work; Thirdly, we must enlarge our field of influence by increasing our membership.

I propose to appoint committees, which I hope will eventually become standing committees, to formulate complete standards of practice, apparatus and methods. There will be separate committees to consider the same subjects for full-paid, part-paid, and volunteer department.

I propose to appoint the following committees. At this time, however, I shall only name the chairman of each committee: 1. Organization and Supervision—John F. Healy, Denver, Colorado; 2. Appointments, Promotions, Retirements and Pensions—Joseph Crawley, New York; 3. Organization and Strength of Companies: Full Paid—William H. Murphy, Philadelphia, Part Paid— Volunteer— ; 4. Fire Department, Engineering to include apparatus, hose and minor equipment—Howard Station, Norwich; S. Location, Design and Construction of Apparatus Houses—Frank Reynolds, Augusta; 6. Drill Schools, Drills and Training—John C. Moran, Hartford; 7. Rules, Regulations, Discipline—Charles Ringer, Minn.; 8. Fire Fighting, Fire Prevention, and Fire Manual—Thomas Dougherty. New York; 9. Assignments and Response to Alarms —August Gerstung, Elizabeth, N. J.; 10. Building Inspection by Members of Fire Departments—John J. Conway, Cincinnati; 11. Organization and Operation of Private Fire Brigades— Philip Harty, Youngstown, Ohio; 12. Reports, Records and Statistics—Olaf Johnson, Superior, Wis.; 13. Co-operation and Active Assistance between Fire Departments—George L. Johnson, Waltham, Mass.; 14. Water Supply, High Pressure System —August Emrich, Baltimore; 15. Municipal Water Supply— Charles Fischer, Newark, N. J.; 16. Membership—Hugo Delfs, Lansing, Mich.; 17. Publications—James McFall. Philadelphia, Pa.; 18. Salvage—James O. Schwenck, New York; 19. Cooperation with the Bureau of Standards, Washington, D. C. and Kindred Organizations—Sherwood Brockwell, Raleigh, N. C.

*Excerpts from the address of Chief John Kenlon, of New York Fire Department before the annual convention of the I. A. F. E., at Kansas City, Mo., on June 27, 1919.

After this association has formally discussed and adopted standards and rules to be submitted by these committees, then can it be considered that we have taken the proper position to guide the destiny of the fire service. The full fruits of the labor of these different committees cannot be realized unless provision is made for publishing these standards. Other organizations, with less influence, in much more restricted fields, have established quarterly publications which are the official journal of their profession. It is not necessary to dwell upon the advantages of such a journal here, suffice it to say those that have knowledge and information to spread, have need for complete interchange through the medium of such a jounal. In the past and perhaps for the future, professionl journals like FIRE AXO WATER ENGINEERING, The Fire Engineer, Fire Protection, The Fireman’s Herald, etc. have served the purpose very well. It may be we can arrange for the publication of standards and methods through those journals. The subject is of such vital concern to the members of this association that I have decided to appoint a Special Committee on Publication of Standards and Journal. It is my earnest desire that this committee shall investigate this subject most thoroughly and report back to the next convention. In order to carry the plan herein outlined into successful operation, revenue must be provided. This can be accomplished by making a drive for increased membership. not only among the fire chiefs, but among the company officials and others as well. One of the purposes which I have in mind in submitting these thoughts to you is to make this association equally valuable to the chief of a volunteer, partpaid and full paid organization, and at the same time a source of reliable information for subordinate officers and men in lower ranks.

At the present time we have a total active membership of less than 500, an associate membership of less than 200, with a life membership of 29. There are approximately 248 full-paid fire departments, 1,761 part-paid fire departments, and 7,000 volunteer fire departments in the United States and Canada. In addition to these there are among railroad and manufacturing plants many hundreds of private fire brigades, the chiefs of which, no doubt, are, or will be keenly interested in our organization. If we can make membership in our organization a bigger asset and offer greater advantages than we now offer there is no reason why we should not increase our membership to, at least, 5,000. Firmly believing that this is possible, I propose to appoint a General Committee on Membership, with a State Committee on Membership in each state in the Union, and in each Province in the Dominion of Canada. A membership of, at least, 5,000 before the next Convention is our goal.

This, gentlemen, is my program for the ensuing year. I ask your active interest and honest endeavor in carrying it out. There is so much to do and so little time to do it that I choose rather to command than to request, so, gentlemen, get to work.

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