I.A.F.C. BOARD OF DIRECTORS PLANS ACTIVITIES FOR 1955
Program For 1955 Conference Reviewed, Miami Picked For 1956, General Manager Tenders Resignation
THE 1955 Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs was held January 6, 7 and 8, at the Hotel Martinique, New York. A pre-meeting session of the President’s Advisory Committee, comprising the sustaining members of the Association, was held on the 5th. Following the close of the Board meeting, about ten of the directors and officers departed for a sojourn in Puerto Rico to be guests of Fire Chief Raul Gandara.
Important highlights of the Board’s busy sessions were, first: review of the plans for the 1955 Conference, scheduled for Omaha, Neb., September 19, 20, 21 and 22; the decision to hold the 1956 Conference in Miami, Fla.; and finally the acceptance of the resignation of General Manager John D. Gerletti, who will voluntarily leave the Association next August to return to his former post with the University of Southern California.
Most of the Sustaining Members of the Association who form the President’s Advisory Committee under chairmanship of Hubert Walker, of the American LaFrance – Foamite Corp., were present at the Wednesday session and discussed wider cooperation between the group and the Association. Adopted were ideas to present an emblematical plaque to all new and old Sustaining Members and to support the I.A.F.C. membership campaign.
During the closed session Thursday, there was discussion of the selection of a new General Manager to replace John D. Gerletti, whose resignation was accepted as of August 1, 1955.
The Board took no action other than to appoint a Special Screening SubCommittee to review the several candidates for the post.
The reports of the Budget Committee, Chief William Fitzgerald, Seattle, Wash., Chairman, and the General Manager showed the Association in excellent financial condition and at its highest point in membership, which now numbers over 7,000. President C. Gray Burnett presided at the day’s sessions and at the luncheon given by the National Board of Fire Underwriters.
Among the invited guests present at this luncheon were Bruce Bielaski, Assistant General Manager, N.B.F.U.; John Neal, Chief Engineer and George Swan, Assistant Chief Engineer and other top N.B.F.U. officials. Also Fire Chief Peter Loftus of New York City; Percy Bugbee, General Manager, National Fire Protection Association; George Richardson, Sec.-Treas., International Association of Fire Fighters, a number of past-presidents and chairmen of committees.
Much interest was manifest in the Friday report of Chairman of Exhibits, Chief Clyde Canning, and others on the forthcoming Omaha Conference. The host city and the Omaha Fire Department, under direction of Chief Eugene Fields, have completed plans and work is well under way to make the 1955 Conference one of the most outstanding in the history of the I.A.F.C. Exhibits will be held in the spacious Auditorium, a short distance from the Hotel Fontanelle, Conference headquarters.
Chief Beverly Wade of Kentville, N. S., reporting for the Program Committee, said an exceptional educational program was planned, with emphasis on panels, symposiums and audience participation. Plans envisage a dramatic demonstration of large scale fire defense.
Three cities bid for the 1956 Conference. They were Las Vegas, Nev., Rochester, N. Y., and Miami, Fla.
The final decision reached was to accept the invitation of Miami. The dates set were November 12 to 16 inclusive.
Chief Henry Thomas, last year’s president, reported on the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign conducted by the nation’s fire service. He was followed by Arthur Gall way of the M.D. Association, and George Richardson of the I.A.F.F. whose members directed the drive. Although returns are incomplete, it was disclosed that 632 locals of the I.A.A.F. participated, together with some 3,000 volunteer fire companies, with personnel workers totaling 133,000. Preliminary estimates indicate the sum raised will reach $3,600,000.
The I.A.F.C. Board also heard a report on the television show, “Alarm,” which, its promoters say, will shortly have a sponsor.
There was considerable discussion of support of the Boy Scout movement by the fire service. Among those who spoke on ways and means of enlisting further cooperation were Chief Reynold Malmquist, of Minneapolis; Dale Auk of Chicago, Ill.; Chief Clyde Canning, Midvale, Utah; Chief Wm. Taylor of Burbank, Calif.; and Chief Wayne Swanson of Rockford, Ill.
The Boy Scouts of America was represented by George Meyers who told about scouting. A resolution to cooperate with the Boy Scouts was unanimously adopted.
Robert Byrus, Director, Fire Service Extension, University of Maryland, Chairman of a special committee to work with the American Institute of Architects, reported on that organization’s recent conference in Washington.
The members heard an impassioned plea by John Gerletti for a National Fire Administration Institute to train fire officers, with emphasis on fire department administration. Mr. Gerletti pictured the aims, objectives and costs of the enterprise and, following his remarks, members of the Board expressed themselves. No formal action was taken at the session.
Campaign to Reduce Deaths of Children Continued
The Association is continuing its efforts to reduce the tragic deaths of children and young people by fire, according to Jay W. Stevens, Executive Secretary of the Association, who detailed the progress of his committee on Fire Prevention since inception of the drive in 1951. A number of chiefs urged acceleration of the enterprise, and Thomas P. O’Brien, Deputy Chief-in-Charge, Bureau of Fire Alarm, New York City, told how his department’s company and other inspections are reducing the number of fires, and fire casualties.
George Clough, Fire Marshal of Nassau County, N. Y., reported for the Arson Committee and urged closer investigation into fires in unoccupied buildings.
Ways and means to improve fire service public relations were discussed by I. H. Case, who heads the Committee on Public Relations. Two reports were received from Mathew W. Braidech of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, as chairman of Committees on Radiological Hazards, and on Fire Control of Fuel Gases.
Considerable time was devoted to a review of the recommendations of the Committee on By Laws, Fire Marshal William J. Scott, Chairman, for revisions of the Association’s governing laws.
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I.A.F.C. Directors’ Meeting
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Chief Roi Woolley, Assistant Editor of Fire Engineering, reported for the Committee on Communications, emphasizing the re-organization of the Committee by the appointment of Chief Thomas O’Brien as Vice-Chairman, and the addition of the following new members: Chiefs Lewis Marshall, Providence. R. L; Forrest Lucas, Dayton, O.; John Klinck, Memphis, Tenn.: Eugene Fields, Omaha, Neb.; Robert Bogan. Baton Rouge, La.; Lyle Stevenson, Stockton, Cal.; and Edward MacDonald. of White Plains. N. Y.
Recommended Sub-Committees to direct phases of the drive on false alarms were approved by the Board, as follows: Sub-Committee on Nomenclature and Terminology, Chief Lewis Marshall, Chairman; Sub-Committee on Survey (Cause and Effects) Chief Forrest Lucas, Chairman; Sub-Committee on Legal and Jurisdictional, Chief Stuart Potter Chairman. Chief Thomas O’Brien gave a quick review of the unusual progress being made by the New York Fire Department in the reduction of false alarms in that city.
Chief Stuart Potter of Greenwich, reported as Chairman of the Committee on Publications – Review, and Chief Wayne Swanson, Rockford, Ill. (second vice-president), spoke as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Volunteers. This year the I.A.F.C. will emphasize closer cooperation with volunteers.
Chief William Fitzgerald, first Vice-President and Chairman of the Committee on Salaries, directed the discussion of the remuneration of fire fighters. It was voted to continue the research and other activities of this Committee. Chief Fitzgerald also reported for the Budget Committee.
Final meetings of the Board were held Saturday morning (January 8). These consisted largely of reports of the various Divisions.