GOOD RECORD OF THE FIRE SERVICE IN 1915.
The fire loss of the United United States for 1915 compiled by FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING and printed on another page in this issue, shows a reduction in the neighborhood of $50,000,000 over the previous year, 1914. This reduction must be considered satisfactory. This decrease, however, was expected for many reasons. Among these may be mentioned the absence of any large conflagration like that of Salem, which consumed several millions worth of property. The efforts of the fire prevention bureaus and individuals interested also proved beneficial while the greater time given to building inspection and the improved methods of construction all contributed to the general result. As improvements in these fields develop it may be expected that future losses will be correspondingly less. The decrease in the number of fires is significant and should be considered from a special point of view, where it properly belongs. During the latter part of 1914 and the whole of 1915 a great many places have been equipped with motor apparatus which has greatly increased the efficiency of the fire service. By cutting down the time consumed between the strike of the gong and that of reaching the box indicated by one-half, many fires have been stopped in their incipiency with damages amounting almost to nil. To this then may be attributed the principal cause of the reductiort-‘in the number of fires and consequent loss as distinguished from the number of alarms received. Motor pumping engines, motor combination wagons, tractors, auxiliary and chiefs’ cars must occupy first place among the causes assigned for bringing about so desired a result as that shown in the total loss recorded for the year just closed. Following this most satisfactory aid of motor apparatus must come the earnest work performed by the fire engineers, the chiefs in charge of the fire departments, in their constant inspection of property under their protection. By causing the removal Gf rubbish and preventing the careless storage of inflammable materials, the chief and the Intelligent men under him are entitled to rrtucli credit for their share in the good work accomplished. The fire engineers, the men who make a scientific study of fire protection, have generally proved their ability to meet the most serious conditions arising from fire, hut their efforts have not always been crowned with success owing to the handicap of poor equipment. It is, therefore, first of all, obligatory on the part of municipalities to meet the chief’s requirements for sufficient modern apparatus to protect the property and lives of its citizens. If this is not done they cannot expect the men in charge of their fire departments to fight fires without proper tools. This lack of apparatus is more frequently the cause of loss of property by fire than any incompetency on the part of the chief. The responsibility then for making a minimum fire loss is in the hands of muncipal officials appointed to see that the means are provided for bringing about this result when it may reasonably he expected that this year will still show a further reduction in the fire loss of the country than that shown for the one through which wc have so successfully passed.