I.A.F.C. Considers Defense Against Atomic Hazards

I.A.F.C. Considers Defense Against Atomic Hazards

Seventy-Sixth Annual Conference Hears New Head of Federal Civilian Defense Activities Discuss Mutual Cooperation


EACH year in reporting the annual convention of the International Association of Fire Chiefs there is an urge to follow the precedent of reporters of yesteryears and refer to the gathering as the “biggest and best ever.” This is a perfectly natural aftermath of conventions that are outstanding among conferences of and in the fire service.

That urge persists as we review the 76th Annual Convention of the IAFC, held in New Orleans last month. It belongs in the “outstanding” category. In attendance there have been larger gatherings; there may even have been some with heavier business and recreational schedules. But those who enjoyed the hospitality of the Crescent City, September 26 to 29 inclusive, and who partook of the business sessions, will agree that it was a good investment in time and expense.

With registration over the 1,300 mark, and with heavy delegations from below the Mason and Dixon Line, the Convention got off to a good start Monday, September 26, with President Henry R. Chase of Miami, presiding. Business meetings were held, and exhibits were located, in the spacious Municipal Auditorium.

Chief Chase called the Convention to order Monday morning, after which the Invocation was delivered by Reverend L. R. Shelton, First Baptist Church of Algiers, La.

Next came the singing of the national anthem, following which the officers of the Association and distinguished guests were introduced to the delegates. Included in these introductions were Bernard J. McCloskey, Commissioner of Public Safety and the host chief, Howard L. Dey of New Orleans.

The delegates were officially welcomed to New Orleans by Commissioner McCloskey in a spirited address, which was responded to by Chief John Alderson of Los Angeles, second vicepresident, speaking for the Association. The address of Chief Henry Chase, of Miami, president of the Association,

which followed may be said to have set the keynote for the Convention.

President Chase reminisced a bit, and exhorted members of the Association to maintain the progressive momentum which has been shown by the fire service in the past few years. It is time to forget old ways and old ideas, he pointed out, and adjust our methods and facilities to the swift tempo of the times.

The impressive memorial services for the departed members of the Association were conducted by Reverend Joseph Laux, OMI Chaplain, New Orleans Police and Fire Departments, after which the delegates adjourned to witness the noonday parade of firefighting elements of the New Orleans Fire Department which passed in review at the Municipal Auditorium.

Newly Elected Officers of the I. A. F. C. Left to Right: Chief Daniel B. Tierney, Secretary-Treasurer; Chief Rudolph H. Swanson, Second Vice-President; Chief William J. Cawker, President, and Chief John H. Alderson, First Vice-President

Photo by Hutch Walker

Monday’s afternoon session opened with the routine business of the reading of minutes and communications, ap-

New Orleans Fireboat Puts on a Show for Conference Guests Who Are Aboard the S.S. President

Photo by Hugh Walker

pointments of committees for the convention, reports of the secretary-treasurer, auditors, general manager, divisions, committees.

Considerable interest was shown in the report of Chief Daniel B. Tierney, the secretary-treasurer of the Association, whose annual financial statement was also the topic of discussion by the Board of Directors at its meeting held on Sunday, prior to the opening of the Convention. The income and outgo of the Association has always been a subject for consideration and this year the Board of Directors devoted considerable time to weighing the financial status of the organization and evaluating its services to its members and the possibilities of expanding its functions.

The activities of the headquarter’s office and staff were reviewed by James E. Jagger, general manager.

The reports of the divisional organizations showed a healthy condition in almost every locality, with a number recording gratifying gains in membership.

Of the committee reports, that of the Exhibit Committee Chairman showed a total of 39 exhibitors for the 1949 Convention as compared with 42 in the previous year. The report of the Committee on Communications, Chief William J. Cawker, first vice-president, Chairman, was devoted largely to the important developments in the field of radio communications, with emphasis on allocations of frequencies under the rule of the Federal Communications Commission released earlier this year. The Committee recommended the endorsement of the Frequency Assignment Plan for Fire Radio Service such as has been accepted for the State of Pennsylvania and is under advisement in other States. This Plan has already received the endorsement of the Eastern Association of Fire Chiefs and tacit approval of other groups. Chief Cawker stressed the importance of members of the International making their applications for radio frequencies which are presently available to small communities as well as largest cities. The technical advisors of the Association, appointed by President Chase and Chairman Cawker, on recommendation of divisonal officers are proving effective aids in assisting chiefs to secure satisfactory installations, and their continuance in office is ureged.


Registration: Approximately 1300 including fire officers and guests from Puerto Rico, Canada and U. S. Possessions.

Technical and Educational Sessions: Two dozen topics bearing on fire protection were discussed in 15 sessions including Thursday’s Round Table.

Exhibits: Manufacturers’ exhibits totalled 39.

Entertainment and Recreation: “Open House for all delegates and ladies throughout the convention. Boat rides and sightseeing trips. Parade by New Orleans Fire Department.

Resolutions: Several of importance including “uniform marine disaster signals” and careless handling of matches and cigarettes.

New Officers:

Pres.: William J. Cawker, Topeka, Kans.

1st Vice-Pres.: John H. Alderson, Los Angeles, Cal.

2nd Vice-Pres.: Rudolph H. Swanson, Jamestown, N. Y.

Sec.-Treas.: Daniel B. Tierney, Arlington, Mass.:

Exec. Secy.: Jay Stevens, San Francisco, Cal.

Technical Advisor: Fred Shepperd, Fire Engineering.

1949 Convention City: San Francisco, Cal., September 12 to 15.

The newly-appointed “Committee on Cooperation With the Signalmen’s Association,” Chief Roi B. Woolley Chairman, reported progress in bringing about closer relations between fire chiefs and communications heads and also urged endorsement of the statewide plan of frequency allocations. This committee works with a similar committee of the International Municipal Signalmen’s Association, headed by Superintendent of Communications, Herbert A, Friede of Washington, D. C., in matters of mutual interest. Shortly, the IAFC will be asked to study suggested revised specifications for fire alarm boxes now being prepared by the I.M.S.A.

A report was also received from the President’s Advisory Committee, Mr. Fred Philbrick of the Gamewell Company, Chairman. The latter reported on manufacturers’ cooperation with the Association—which reached a new high during the year. The committee on Credentials, Chief George McAlpinc Chairman, and Courtesies, Chief Selden Allen, Chairman, reported progress.

Technical Session Popular

The opening techincal sessions proved popular and were well attended. The first speaker, Ed. Hilton, Executive Director National Automatic Sprinkler and Fire Control Association, took for his topic “Protection of High Value Areas.” He said fire defense should be everybody’s business under the fire chief’s leadership. He childed those chiefs who had not joined the Association and urged greater attendance at Association conferences. He recommended that chiefs study the plan developed by the U. S. Chamber of Commerce for protecting high value districts. his 22-page plan upon application and three other publications can be had of Mr. Hilton’s Association. The others available on request are: “The Sentinel on Hospital Fires and What to do”; “Why Unsatisfactory Sprinkler Fires?” and the “Monthly News Bulletin.”

The topic “Cotton Fires and Their Control” was reviewed by Chief Connie O’Sullivan of the Memphis, Tenn., Fire Department, who is eminently qualified to speak upon the subject. The program of controlling cotton fires, he said, should start with the cotton gin; then it should consider cotton in storage. In this connection Chief O’Sullivan laid down twelve rules to safeguard cotton storage. These included (1) proper construction; (2) automatic sprinklers protection; (3) ample water supplies; (4) ample first aid fire lighting equipment; (5) good watchman service; (6) good fire fighting organization; (7) removal of causes of fires in cotton storage; (8) good maintenance of all fire equipment; (9) good housekeeping; (10) good electrical maintenance; (11) proper supervision of plant and (12) compression of bales.

Chief William Connelly of the Syracuse N. Y. Fire Department, explained the “Pupil Fire Safety Patrol” which has been participated in by over 30,000 city school children and an additional 15,000 county children of his area. The idea calls for organizing fire safety patrols in all schools, with a “chief” and officers, heading various school safety activities, such as evacuation, fire prevention and so on. Certificates are awarded the officers for their accomplishments.

The subject of “Large Pumpers and the Water Systems” was handled by Chief George S. Lockhart, Minneapolis, Minn., Fire Department. He explained his reasons for installing 2,000 GPM pumpers and gave details of his apparatus design, construction and operation. Oversize pumpers, which are also used by some large cities, afford greater attack power, he said. “If high pressure systems and fire boats have advantages because of their capacities and ability to service a large number of hose lines, then it seems the same argument can be applied to large capacity pumping units.” Chief Lockhart emphasized the importance of having ample water supplies available wherever such large capacity units are employed.

Boaf Ride on Tuesday

Technical sessions resumed Tuesday morning with vice-president Cawker presiding, and with a heavy array of talent. The topic “First Aid Programs in the Fire Service” was discussed by Carl J. Potthoff, M.D., National Director of First Aid and Associate Medical Director, American Red Cross, Washington, D. C. He dwelt at length upon mortality statistics. He urged fire departments to train their men carefully. He explained the functions of the Red Cross and suggested that fire departments remember the need of good first aid in civil defense.

Some of the New Jersey Delegation in Attendance at the New Orleans Conference.Group of Southwestern Memebers Aboard the S.S. Pesident: Left to Right: Cheif E. W. Gaston, Eldorado, Tex.; Chief G. R. McAlpine, Oklahoma City; T. A. Rosenwald, Albuquerque. N. Mex.; Chief H. H. Tadlock, Port Arthur, Tex.; J. E. Hurley, Little Rock, Ark.; Chief D. P. Rachel, Port Arthur, Tex.

Photos by Hugh Walker

“Problems We Face in Operating on Airport Fires” by Chief George R. McAlpine, Oklahoma City, Okla., offered the realistic, forthright viewpoint of a fire chief who has had first hand experience with the subject. Brietly, Chief McAlpine recommended study of the problems by the fire chief; placing himself on record following inspections and recommendations. He offered five personal recommendations: (1) Rigid inspections of all airports, with subsequent corrections; (2) necessary equipment and personnel for adequate fire protection; (3) that the fire service quit “kidding itself” on its ability to dispatch fire forces several miles and adequately handle aircrash fires; (4) elimination of low flying over cities and (5) cooperation of military authorities in permitting emergency landings on military airports wdiere fire control facilities are available.

John A. Neale, Vice-President and Chief Engineer, Underwriters’ Laboratories, spoke on “Testing and its Place in the Fire Service.” He emphasized the strides made in fire apparatus and equipment and the need of keeping abreast of changes by test and trial, He covered a wide range of topics, including all types of modern hazards, and the newest extinguishing agents. Television, building supplies and materials, chemicals, gases, electrical and other hazards were reviewed in the light of modern extinguishing agents such as wet water, inert gas extinguishers, and so forth.

Missouri Valley Fire Chiefs and Wives Stage a Get-Together Aboard the S.S. President

Photo by Hugh Walker

The recently adopted Fire Service Act, now a law in the Dominion of Canada, whereby the fire service of Dominion communities receives financial aid of the government, was interestingly described by Dana Porter, K. C., Ontario Attorney-General.

Aboard the S.S. President on the Cruise Around New Orleans Harbor Left to right Chief Tom Lane, Alameda, Cal.; Mrs. Tom Lane; Mrs. L. C. Canning and Chief Lloyd C. Canning, Midvale, Utah.

Photo by Hugh Walker

The morning’s session concluded with a paper by Fred B. Philbrick on the “New N.B.F.U. Fire Alarm Regulations.” This detailed the recommendations of the Signalling Committee on a wide range of factors, many highly technical. including number of fire alarm operators, overhead vs. underground circuits and the elimination of delayed alarms.

Tuesday afternoon was given over to a sightseeing trip on the Mississippi River, aboard the S. S. President. The delegates were greatly interested in the city’s “new old” water front, with its mixture of ancient fire hazards, and modern warehouses and other structures.

Wednesday Has Heavy Program

Chief John Alderson, second vice-president, presided at the Wednesday technical sessions. The opening speaker. Chief Raul Gandara, Insular Fire Service of Puerto Rico, took for his subject “Making the Fire College an Effective Medium of Instruction.” He stressed the value of practice and experience in An interesting description of how a small volunteer fire department is organized and administered was given by Chief John Dahmer of the Ponchatoula Volunteer Fire Department. Ponchatoula, La. He laid emphasis on the importance of the selection of men and their training, rather than the number of personnel in the department.

Canadian Contingent Pose for Picture, Following the Annual Banquet, in Grand Ballroom of Hotel Roosevelt

Photo by Hugh Walker

making good firemen, but pointed out a man having a solid theoretical basis can become a good fireman qiucker than a man without basic knowledge, which can best be obtained at a Fire College, of which he said, there are too few in the United States. He then retailed his own experiences, and those of Puerto Rico’s fire service in promoting training in firemanship.

“What We Learned About Tire Storage Fires” was the topic discussed by Norman J. Thompson, Director, Factory Mutual Laboratories, Boston, Mass. Public fire departments, he said, aided in extinguishing 21 per cent of all fires studied by his organization, the other 79 per cent being extinguished by automatic sprinklers or use of first-aid equipment. He explained the tests conducted by the Laboratory in extinguishment of fires in stored tires. “I cannot resist taking advantage of this opportunity, he said, to stress the importance of advanced planning for fire fighting and fire protection both on the part of plant management and the Public Fire Department.”

In view of the agitation over the hazards—real or imagined, of Christmas tree ornaments, and the history of last year’s holiday fires, the talk by Joseph

Assistant Chief William Ferrie and Battalion Chief Emmet H. Byrne, of Cleveland, Ohio, Relaxing on Their Sail Around New Orleans Harbor

Photo by Hush Walker

Ward, Executive vice-president, Noma Electric Company, had special significance.

Mr. Ward’s topic was “Fire Hazards of Plastic Illuminated Christmas Tree Ornaments.”

He traced the history of plastic tree ornaments and recited the fairly recent experiences of some fire chiefs who encountered ornaments that smoked and melted. Then he told how the industry had investigated these cases and the resulting tests that were made to determine the causes of the conditions. These tests, conducted by the leading test laboratories—including the Underwriters’ Laboratories; showed that modern American plastic illuminated ornaments are free from fire hazards. He told about the new self-extinguishing type plastic on which the flame goes out when the lit match is taken away, and which is the result of fifteen years experimentation and research.

Another topic of widespread interest to the fire service was discussed by William A. Gill, Coordinator of Civil Defense Planning National Security Re-

sources Board. Washington, D. C. His subject was “The Status of Civil Defense from the Federal Viewpoint.” In it he traced the progress made, the difficulties under which civil defense planning had to function, and the part played by the fire service in the national security picture.

The entire atternoon was given over to a Round Table discussion oi a number of subjects, with Chief Alderson presiding. This feature proved one of the most popular of the conference sessions and was participated in by a number of fire chiefs and guests.

Under the adroit direction of the chairman, nearly every one of the seven topics scheduled for discussion was reviewed and considered. The subjects scheduled for the Round Table included self-service dispensing of gasoline; operating on basement fires; wetting agent; high and low velocity fog; industrial plant protection; fire department radio communications and inspection of fire apparatus.

Open House Popular

Throughout the entire convention from noon until 11:00 P.M. open house for all delegates and guests, was maintained in a building on corner of St. Claude and Dumaine Streets, one block from the Municipal Auditorium. Here the delegates and their friends gathered for refreshments and that chief pastime of many conventioneers—the “bull sessions.”

The Ladies Program and Banquet

No effort was spared to entertain the distaff side of the convention. Beginning Tuesday, the ladies had a nearly continual round of entertainment, including a Tuesday luncheon, the sightseeing trip on the river in the afternoon, another luncheon on Wednesday, followed by a sightseeing tour through old and new New Orleans, and their participation in the annual banquet on Wednesday evening.

Many visiting chiefs joined their ladies in conducting their own tours of the city’s historic old quarter, the restaurants, shops, and stores and places of interest.

The banquet, held in the main ballroom of the Hotel Roosevelt, was well attended and the scene of fraternal gaiety such as only a fire chief’s convention can produce.

Thursday’s concluding sessions were as is custom, given over to more routine matters of the Association and the convention.

I.A.F.C. Honors Fred Shepperd

Fred Shepperd, Editor of FIRE ENGINEERING, was the honored guest at the Association banquet on Wednesday evening at which time he was presented a beautiful gold, split-second strap watch and a bronze plaque.

The presentation was made by President Henry Chase, who in a few wellchosen words, referred to the many

Plaque Awarded to Fred Shepperd

years of service given the Association by Fred Shepperd in his capacities as Headquarters Manager, Engineer Manager and Technical Advisor.

The citation on the plaque reads: “To Fred Shepperd, in recognition of his distinguished and untiring efforts in behalf of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and of his forty years of outstanding leadership in the scientific advancement of the fire service. Presented by the International Association of Fire Chiefs at its 76th Annual Conference, New Orleans, La., September, 1949.”

(Continued on page 819)

A Presidential Group at the New Orleans Conference. Left to Right: Chief Henry R. Chase, Retiring President; Mrs. Henry R. Chase; Mrs. W. J. Cawker and Chief William J. Cawker, Newly Elected President.Chief and Mrs. Barney J, Houston, Cincinnati, Ohio, Receive a Toast on Their Thirtieth Wedding Anniversary.The New Second Vice-President Is Ably Escorted. Left to Right: Mrs. C. A. Delaney (Wife of Past President Chief Charles A. Delaney), Chief Rudolph H. Swanson and Mrs. Swanson

Photos by HUGE Walker

IAFC Meeting

(Continued from page 789)

Acknowledging the honors, Fred Shepperd spoke of his service as having been a pleasure and a privilege and as sured the Association of his continued interest and efforts in its behalf and that of the fire service of the nation.

Officers for 1949-1950

Interest in the election of officers, a high point in the business sessions of the Convention, centered in the choice of the second vice-president. It was a foregone conclusion that the 1948-1949 officers would move up but it was a question who would be named the junior vice-president.

When the ballots had all been counted the following slate of officers emerged to administer the Association for the coming year:

President, William J. Cawker, Topeka, Kans.

First Vice-President, John Alderson, Los Angeles, Calif.

Second Vice-President, Rudolph Swanson, Jamestown, N. Y.

Secretary-Treasurer, Daniel B. Tierney, Arlington, Mass.

Executive Secretary, Jay Stevens, Los Angeles, Calif.

Technical Advisor, Fred Shepperd, FIRE ENGINEEERING, New York.

President Chase Receives Ring

A beautiful diamond ring was the gift of the Association to retiring-president Henry Chase. It was recalled how unstintingly President Chase had labored during his tenure as Association head, and before, as Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors.

In another presentation by the Association at the Annual Banquet, Mrs. Howard Dey, wife of host Chief Dey, was presented with a hand-woven quilt —a creation of Mrs. Lloyd Canning of Midvale, Utah, together with a bouquet of flowers.

Pass Important Resolutions

A number of timely Resolutions were offered by the Committee on Resolutions and adopted by the delegates after deliberation. Two of the most important measures had to with (1) uniform marine whistle signals for vessels in distress, and (2) for regulating careless handling of matches and cigarettes. These Resolutions will be reproduced in full in the next issue of FIRE ENGINEERING, together with the list of registrants and the Exhibitors at the Convention.

The Convention adopted without dissenting vote, the invitation of the City of San Francisco to hold the 1950 Convention of the Association in that city. The invitation was delivered personally by Fire Chief Edward Walsh of the Golden Gate City.

The last Conference held in that City was in 1939.

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