HANDICAPPING FIRE DEPARTMENTS.

HANDICAPPING FIRE DEPARTMENTS.

In view of the hard and perilous work of firemen they should not be required, in addition, to do all the missionary work preparatory to the securing of adequate and modern fire apparatus. The city officials and citizens should be anxious to have the department which protects their lives and property from fire properly equipped and the firemen should not have to continue to beg for the machinery necessary to render their work effective. Fortunately there are numbers of communities where the city councils and other city officials take the initiative in securing apparatus and there are many more where they respond readily to the recommendations of the chief, but there are, unfortunately, some in which the warnings and the pleadings of the chief who knows the city’s needs are allowed to go unheeded all too long. From a small city in Illinois come reports which tell of the efforts of the public spirited chief and the fire department to obtain modern equipmuent, even going so far as to offer to contribute one thousand dollars of the department’s funds toward the cost of a piece of motor apparatus. The failure so far to get the needed apparatus leaves the department so ill-equipped that, to quote the chief, it is the sentiment of every member of the department that unless the department gets some recognition it is useless to try and give adequate fire protection. What emphasizes the fact that the demands of the department are made entirely in the interests of the public good is that a new fire house is also needed but the firemen are willing to wait for that. They want the apparatus w ith which to put out fires. Speaking of the present equipment the chief said that what they have is not worthy of being called an equipment, and it is twenty-five years behind the times. A twoton truck, drawn in the daytime by the nearest drayman, and at night, by a worn out, untrained city team that has been worked all day hauling coal and dirt. The firemen have to await the arrival of the teamster to hitch his animals to the heavy truck, while the fire continues to burn. The chief has shown the need for the apparatus he asks for, and more than that, he has shouldered the brunt of the missionary work for improved conditions, work in which he should not be left to labor alone. He has demonstrated that he is alive to his city’s needs and it all illustrates that a community should heed the words of n progressive chief and also that city officials should act prominently in taking the initiative for providing fire departments with proper apparatus and not leave a chief to make such efforts alone. At best, it is a thoroughly discouraging proposition for a chief to labor in the interest of his department and endeavor to make a good showing when he is faced by the insurmountable obstacle of the deaf ears of those possessing the authority to grant needed apparatus.

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