HOW VOLUNTEER DEPARTMENT RAISES FUNDS FOR EQUIPMENT
Letter Telling How the Silver Spring, Md., Firemen Have no Trouble in Getting Money for Apparatus and Equipment
THE following letter, which was recently received by Emerson Campbell, president of the community dub of St. Clairsville, Ohio, from Fred Lutes, secretary of the fire department of Silver Spring, Md., is interesting as showing the method adopted by the Silver Spring volunteer fire deportment in raising funds for the purpose of increasing its efficiency. It will be of help in giving suggestions to other small town departments along this line. The hints contained in the sixth paragraph as regards the advisability of purchasing a triple combination arc particularly pertinent.
“Being a former Belmont County boy (Barnesville), I have been reading with considerable interest in the Chronicle about the efforts of your club to organize a volunteer fire department, and thought possibly it might be of interest to you to relate briefly of the results of our efforts along this line in Silver Spring, Md. This town is a northern suburb of Washington, D. C., and is considerably smaller than Saint Clairsville, although the country adjacent is much more thickly populated than is yours.
“About ten of us organized this department in May, 1915, in an unincorporated town, and have never had any assistance from municipal, county or state authorities in a financial way. In that time we have acquired a home for our organization worth more than $10,000 and have two pieces of motor apparatus costing nearly $11,000. Our department is a purely volunteer one, incorporated under the laws of the state of Maryland without capital stock. This feature gives us a splendid credit rating, and enables us to buy and sell real estate, receive legacies, etc.
“Perhaps the most interesting thing I could tell you would he the manner in which we raise the necessary funds. Chief among the methods is an animal carnival which we hold during the week of July Fourth. This feature usually makes us a profit of about $2,000. Please do not understand from this that we have the professional carnival men stage this for us on a percentage basis. Quite the opposite. We do not permit any of the professional fakirs on the grounds in any capacity whatever, but use as many of their money making affairs as are clean and legitimate, and operate them entirely by our own members, of whom we have about 100. In this manner the entire community patronizes the carnival, and the whole thing is clean and absolutely free of criticism.
“We get out an annual Year Book giving interesting facts in connection with the fire department, charging $40 per page for advertising, which in the aggregate makes several hundred dollars profit, not to mention the advantage derived from keeping ourselves in the public eye. I am mailing a copy of last year’s book under separate cover. The seventh year book will be out July 4.
“Then too, we receive considerable money from citizens of the town as direct contributions. We have a mailing list of every one within two or three miles of the engine house, and when we buy a new engine or a new lot of hose entailing an expenditure of more funds than we have in the treasury, we mail a letter to every interested person in the community inviting them to contribute, enclosing a self addressed return envelope to make it easy for them. We always buy the engine or other equipment first, thus showing them that we mean exactly what we say. It is easier to collect money after you have the equipment in town than it is by telling them you are going to do it after the money has been raised. We collected $1,500 on the above plan on our last truck with $15 worth of postage stamps, and not a particle of personal solicitation.
“The article in this week’s Chronicle would indicate that you contemplate buying a strictly chemical engine. Inasmuch as your town will shortly have a water system, wouldn’t it be better to purchase a triple combination machine in the beginning? A strictly chemical engine is all right, and I will admit that practically 90 per cent, of our fires are extinguished with chemicals, but there are many occasions when water can he found nearby to extinguish large fires provided you have a pump to move it. We have both machines, one a Northern double tank chemical with gauges arranged so that one tank can be refilled as the other discharges, and can thus keep a continuous flow of chemical on the fire. The other truck is a Northern pumper, but only recently we found a stream within 1,000 feet of a bad fire and that fact alone saved at least $25,000 worth of business and residence property which the chemical could not possibly have saved. The difference in cost between a triple combination machine and a strictly chemical one would be more than offset by the first fire you encountered where your pumper could be used, and it will only be a year or two until you will need one any way.”