I.A.F.C. Continues Its Advance
Toronto Convention Brings Out Biggest Attendance of Any in Past Six Years—More Chiefs Registered— Exhibits Entered Nearly Double Those of Last Year
THE Sixty-fourth Anuual Convention of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, held at Toronto. Out., on July 28-31, will go down on the record as the most successful Convention, from every standpoint. held by the Association since the pre-depression era. The registration of Chiefs was over ten per cent ahead of that of last year which, in turn, exceeded the previous four years by a large margin. Associate members and guests brought the total well above the total attendance last year.
Through the very effective work of Chief Roy E. Mottesheard, Chairman of the Exhibit Committee, the revenue from exhibits this year was almost double that of last year.
While several cities submitted invitations for next year’s meeting, Oklahoma City was selected unanimously. That Chief George Goff will stage an outstanding convention is a foregone conclusion, for he has had considerable experience in conducting fire service conventions in his city during the past few years, and has demonstrated his ability in the management thereof.
As usual, the memorial exercises were held during the first session.
Following the address of welcome by Controller W. D. Robbins, President of the Toronto City Council, and response by Chief William Gardner, of the Kansas City Fire Patrol, President Charles J. Brennan presented his presidential message.
In a very able and inspiring manner, Chief Brennan reviewed the work of the Association during the past year, and indicated its future promise.
Following the President’s address, the memorial service was conducted, the oration being delivered by Rev. H. J. Pritchard. A list of the departed members was read.
The Tuesday morning session started off with routine business, including reports of various officers, adoption of the minutes of the preceding meeting, appointment of committees, etc. After these preliminaries, the technical program was taken up.
Total membership gain in Association during the past year reported as exceeding 25%.
Oklahoma City selected for next year’s Convention, the date to be determined by the Board of Directors.
Chief R. A. Bogan, Baton Rouge, La., elected President; Chief Daniel B. Tierney, Arlington, Mass., First Vice-President; Chief Roy E. Mottesheard, Dearborn, Mich., Second VicePresident.
Mutual Aid Systems
The first paper presented was by Chief John J. Brennan of Pelham Manor, N. Y., on “Do Mutual Aid Systems Really Function ?’’
After reviewing the development of the mutual aid system in Westchester County, New York, Chief Brennan gave convincing evidence that such systems do function, and that they are a very valuable means of guarding against conflagrations.
Report on National Board Cooperation
Chief Daniel B. Tierney presented a very complete and instructive report on the meetings of the Joint Committee on Cooperation of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the National Board of Fire Underwriters. He set forth the various objectives accomplished and outlined the future activities for the Joint Committee to consider. Many topics were covered in the report, including civil service law, Underwriter’s labelled hose, rating of pumpers, per capita fire loss, adjustment of fire losses, and other subjects taken up in the deliberations of the Joint Committee.
A report of the meeting of the Joint Committee of the two organizations, and the Directors of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, was subsequently presented by Fred Shepperd, Headquarters Manager.
Functions of the National Board of Fire Underwriters
W. F. Mallalieu, General Manager of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, New York City, in his paper on “Functions of the National Board of Fire Underwriters,” gave the delegates a very thorough insight into the workings of the National Board.
The National Board “gathers fire loss statistics and tabulates these by fire causes. It endeavors to bring about the suppression of incendarism. It influences the introduction of improved methods and standards of building construction. It encourages the adoption of sane fire protective measures, including efficient fire department organization and equipment with adequate and improved systems of water works and fire alarms, and establishes standards for the installation and use of hazardous and protective devices,” said Mr. Mallalieu.
“The National Board of Fire Underwriters is not a ‘corporation’ or a ‘money-making concern.’ It has no legislative powers over the fire insurance business and exercises no jurisdiction over either companies or agents, nor over insurance rates or commissions. It is purely an educational, engineering, and statistical public service institution maintained by stock company fire insurance for the benefit of our national welfare.”
In concluding his address, Mr. Mallalieu added: “The two great organizations (the National Board of lure Underwriters and the International Association of Fire Chiefs) which we at this convention represent, have become integral parts in the great fraternity of fire protection. They are like the members of one family where the good of one is the good of all. This fellowship has been built up and will continue to become more firmly entrenched in our minds because our work is helpful to you, and without your assistance we fall far short of the goal which cooperation has achieved and will continue to achieve.”
Handling an Emergency Caused by Gas Explosions
Chief Joseph N. Sullivan, Utica, N. Y., described the steps taken in handling an emergency resulting from city-wide gas explosions in sewers in Utica.
The trouble was caused initially by the rupture of a water main, which in turn caused the breaking of a gas main. Gas entered the city sewers, and subsequently explosions occurred at several points.
Before the point of leakage of gas from the main was located, the Fire Department had a very exciting time in protecting the public, and property, against damage.
Due to the effective work of the Fire Department, under the direction of Chief Sullivan, who was in sole charge of the emergency, the source of the trouble was finally located, and corrected.
Some Recent Arson Cases
George O. Mansfield, Chief of Fire Investigation. Massachusetts State Police. Boston. Mass., reviewed the history of some recent arson cases of unusual interest, which were handled by his Department. Lantern slides showing evidence of incendarism, equipment used for detecting the crime and locating the criminals added greatly to the interest of this paper.
Fire Departments in Flood Emergency Work
The Wednesday morning program started off with a paper by Ex-Chief Richard Lee Smith, of Pittsburgh. Pa., on “Fire Departments Serve in Flood Emergency Work.”
Chief Smith described the unusual conditions which existed in Pittsburgh during the flood period early this year, and pointed out the many handicaps under which the Fire Department had to operate. Not only in fighting fire, but in the saving of lives of those marooned in the flood, the department did very effective work.
Chief Smith warned that cities which have never experienced floods may be due for them sooner or later, and that thought should be given to methods of handling such an emergency should it arrive.
As a part of the discussion of the same topic, Chief John C. Moran of Hartford, Conn., described his experiences during a flood which inundated a large part of Hartford early this year. Chief Moran called attention to the fact that this was not the first big flood Hartford has had, although it was the most severe in his experience. As at Pittsburgh, considerable effort was devoted to saving of lives of those imperiled by the flood. The fire alarm system at Hartford continued to function despite the fact that fire alarm circuits were under water, while the telephone service completely tailed in several districts.
Fire Hazards of Air Conditioning
George W. Booth. Chief Engineer of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, New York, reviewed the present status of air conditioning, placing particular emphasis on fire hazards in connection therewith. After citing the growth of air conditioning. Mr. Booth described typical installations today and stressed harardous points in connection therewith. He also called attention to regulations that are now being prepared and which are designed to prevent the construction of hazardous installations.
An Interesfing Symposium
The afternoon program consisted of a symposium in which seven different subjects were discussed.
The first topic, introduced by Chief Edward W . Gieselman, Syracuse, N. Y., was on “How Often and in What Manner, Should Fire Truck Brakes Be Tested?” Chief Gieselman reviewed his department’s practice in this matter. The discussion on this topic was very animated. The consensus of opinion seemed to be that two-wheel brakes make fire apparatus obsolete, and no matter what kind of brake equipment is employed, where only two wheels are braked, the result is approximately the same. The most that can be secured, as pointed out by Ed Rumsey, Chief of Machinery, Detroit, was the locking of the two wheels. He further stated that whether the locking of the wheels is accomplished by foot brake or power brake, there is no difference in the results, for the braking effect is that due only to two wheels.
Chief Walter Israel, of Detroit, Mich., opened the second topic on “What Course Should Be Pursued to Reduce the Number of Accidents in Which Fire Apparatus is Involved?” Chief Israel felt that proper braking was the first step, and the most important one. Keeping the apparatus in first class condition was also pointed out as most essential in the campaign to reduce accidents.
Large Centrally Located Fire Stations
The third topic, “What Advantages and Disadvantages Are There to Centralizing Fire Apparatus in Large Centrally Located Stations?” was opened by Chief Daniel B. Tierney, Arlington. Mass. Chief Tierney has such a station in his city, and reported that the results from the plan were very satisfactory. He felt that having a large number of men in a station made better control of the force possible.
Taking the other side of the question was Chief Henry Fox, of Boston, who felt that too many men in one station was not desirable. Furthermore, obstruction in the street might necessitate routing the trucks by different thoroughfares to the fire, resulting in a loss of time.
Commissioner William G. Castimore, of Buffalo, N. Y. , introduced the next topic, which was entitled “To What Extent Should a Fire Department Provide Recreation Facilities for the Men in Fire Stations?”
Comr. Castimore first raised the questioti as to whether the recreation referred to was physical or mental. He described the equipment for physical recreation in fire stations at Buffalo. From the floor the suggestion was made that if the threeplatoon system was adopted, the problem of recreation will disappear.
“Handling Cold Weather Problems During the Past Abnormally Cold Winter,” was reviewed by Chief Earl Traeger, of Minneapolis. Minn. He described experiences in his city, which were typical of many cities in the northern part of the country.
Chief Hugo R. Delfs of Lansing, Mich., discussed “Is the Junior Fire Department Plan. Whereunder Boys of School Age Are Coached in the Rudiments of Fire Protection Work, a Beneficial One?” His answer was that it was highly beneficial and excellent results have been secured from coaching school boys in Lansing, Mich.
Charging for Outside Runs
The topic which brought forth the most discussion was that opened by Chief Arthur Chambers of Yonkers, N. Y., and entitled “How Should the Problem of Out of Town Calls for Fire Apparatus Be Handled, Particularly Insofar as Charges Therefor Are Concerned?”
Charges reported by different Chiefs in the discussion ran all the way from $25 to $250 per company. The charge of $25 per hour per company was employed in a number of cities.
In Milwaukee, any neighboring town wishing protection must post a bond to guarantee the payment for runs before runs are authorized by the Fire Department.
It was generally felt that where a fire occurred in a home just outside of the city limits, aid would be given without charge, or without a contract. But where a town depends upon a large neighltoring citv for protection, the town should he prepared to pay for such protection.
A Forenoon for Manufacturers
All of Thursday forenoon was devoted to talks and demonstrations by manufacturers. The plan of giving each exhibitor an opportunity to describe briefly his exhibit was instituted last year at Knoxville. It proved so successful, that it was resumed this year at Toronto.
The delegates first assembled in the Convention Hall to hear the manufacturers’ talks. After each had been given an opportunity to appear before the meeting, the meeting adjourned, and the delegates went to the test grounds where demonstrations of fire extinguishing agents, including foam, carbon dioxide and water spray were carried out. One of the features of the demonstration was an attempt to burn a fire resistant frame shack. The wood of the shackhad been impregnated with fire-proofing salts. Within the shack was placed a tank approximately eight feet long, four feet wide and one foot deep, which was filled with oil.
After spraying the shack with twenty gallons of kerosene, it was ignited. After the kerosene had burned away, leaving the shingles and other woodwork intact, the oil within the shack was ignited. It burned for nearly an hour. The tests were conducted under the supervision of Professors from Toronto University.
The building was equipped inside with pyrometers, which indicated the temperature within the structure during the fire. The temperature ranged up to nearly 2,000° F.
While the wood was badly charred, due to the terrific heat to which it was subjected, it did not burn, nor carry fire.
Quite interesting, during the course of the test, was the low temperature on the outside of the shack. Even when the interior temperature was above 1,800° F., the sideboards of the building were only warm to the touch.
Another demonstration, which was included with those of fire extinguishers, was of linen-lined hose recently placed on the market. Hose clamps and portable lighting units were also demonstrated.
Developments in Fire Resistant Lumber
At the Thursday afternoon session
a paper was presented by E. F. Hartmann, on “New Developments in Fire Resisting Lumber.” This paper had been scheduled for Wednesday morning. but due to the delay of Mr. Hartmann in reaching the Convention, it was postponed until the Thursday afternoon session.
Mr. Hartmann first reviewed the uses of fire-proof wood dating back a quarter of a century, and pointed out examples of the effectiveness of these woods over a long period of time in resisting fire. He also included a description of some of the features of the Underwriter’s tests of the wood at the laboratories in Chicago. Incidentally, this treatment is the first approved by the Underwriter’s Laboratories and where the treatment is employed according to specifications laid down by the Laboratories, the wood so treated is labelled with the Underwriter’s label.
Round Table Discussions
Thursday afternoon program consisted entirely of symposiums and round table discussions. The first topic on the program was “What Cooperation Did You Receive from Public Utilities Where the Presence of High Voltage Electrical Cables or Equipment is Interfering With or Endangering the Work of the Fire Department ?”
Chief John J. Towey. of Newark, N. J.. opened this discussion. Supplementing the Line Department of the Newark Fire Department, which responds to all second or greater alarms of fire, the Public Utility Company also sends its own crew of men to the scene, to give all the necessary help in removing or shutting down power on charged wires that would menace the members of the department while operating on a blaze. If by any chance the fire should occur on an electrified elevated railroad, rubber covers or tarpaulins are furnished by the company, which can be thrown across the charged third rail so that the men and lines going over such rails are protected against electric shock. Such covers are kept in all railway stations ready for use when called for.
Regulating the Dry Cleaning Industry
Chief J. W. Stevens, State Fire Marshal, San Francisco, Cal., opened the discussion on regulations in California covering dry cleaning. Chief Stevens had on hand four of his deputies, who were called upon to explain various phases of the law, and the handling of violations. California has probably the most rigid regulations governing the dry cleaning industry, and the effectiveness of these regulations is shown by the absence of any destructive fires in drycleaning plants over the past several years.
In the absence of Chief Michael J. Corrigan, of Chicago, Iii., who was to discuss the subject. “How Should the Dilapidated Building Problem Be Handled? How Can Removal Be Effected?” James N. Gleason, Engineer in Charge of Equipment and Maintenance of the Chicago Fire Department, presented Chief Corrigan’s paper.
Under ordinary circumstances, regulation, supervision, and physical aspects of this work are handled by the Public Works, Police, Building, Health and Fire Departments, with the co-ordinating features of the various departments’ functions defined by State law and City ordinance.
Some two years ago the Federal government, in its work relief program, made an appropriation for the removal of sub-standard, unsafe, dilapidated and socially unfit buildings, etc., and since that time, approximately 700 structures have been
demolished under the supervision of the Fire Department, working in conjunction with a local committee and federal officials. In addition to the Fire Department’s activities, other local agencies and city departments have removed approximately 3.000 more sub-standard buildings.
To expedite the Fire Department’s portion of the work to conform with the primary purpose of the Federal grant, the Chicago Fire Department adopted, and successfully carried out a program known as the “Owner’s Consent Plan,” that is, the owner legally assigns all salvage and materials from the buildings to a bonded and licensed wrecking contractor, to cover the expense of supervision, use of tools and equipment, cost of various kinds of insurance and other incidental expenses, plus their profit.
In concluding, Chief Corrigan said : “The lienefits, either direct or indirect. gained by a Fire Department are many ; it is a step in the right direction, but be sure that legal procedure is followed, so that you, or the local government you represent, do not become entangled in law suits caused by illegally removing or destroying other person’s property.”
Radio Broadcast in Fire Prevention Work
The topic “Is the Use of Radio Broadcast Beneficial in Fire Prevention Work?” was assigned to Chief Frank Charlesworth, of Providence. R. I. Due to Chief Charlesworth’s inability to be present at the Convention. his paper was accepted and ordered placed in the Proceedings of the Convention.
In summing up his experiences, Chief Charlesworth said, “The Providence Fire Department considers that the radio has achieved in a three years’ period more lasting and farreaching results than could have been accomplished by the long drawn-out methods of previous years, and it still hopes to be enabled to continue the effective use of the air in spreading fire prevention education. To broadcast regularly and consistently until the public is thoroughly permeated with fire prevention consciousness, until the practice of the simple fire prevention laws has become a daily routine, and to be vigilant and unceasing in our efforts to hold in check the foe lurking in our midst are the desires and aims of our department. Personally, I am pleased and satisfied with the efficacy of this campaign and feel qualified to recommend the radio to all other departments desirous of seeking a means to reduce the appalling fire loss of our country.”
Life of Pneumatic Tires
Chief of Machinery Fdward Rumsew of the Detroit Fire Department, opened the discussion on “How Long Should Pneumatic Truck Tires Be Used Before Replacement?” Chief Rumsev felt that six or seven years was a satisfactory life of the tires and that they should be replaced at the end of that time even though they had not worn to a point of apparent danger.
This topic brought forth considerable discussion. Chief Rumsey was asked whether he thought dual tires would be more satisfactory than single tires on heavy apparatus. He replied that with the advent of low pressure tires there was nothing to be gained with dual tires, outside of possibly a little more traction, than with the single tires. He felt that the wider wheel base necessitated by using the dual tires was not justified by the small advantage gained.
A number of Round Table topics were included in this session. As to the present trend with regard to permitting companies and men to participate in out of town parades, it was the consensus of opinion that such participation be denied.
With regard to the Fire Chief having a voice in the selection of fire hydrants, it was the unanimous opinion that he should.
Permitting smoking in theatres brought forth a wide variety of opinions. After reviewing a number of cases where smoking had nearly caused panic, as well as physical injury. it was agreed that the Association should go on record as opposing the smoking in theatres.
The discussion of methods employed in dewatering cellars showed a majority of opinion in favor of the use of siphons, as they prevent unnecessary wear and damage on apparatus, and are efficient and fast in operation.
Asbestos suits in the fire service likewise brought out a diversity of opinion. Some felt that they have a place in connection with first aid rescue operations at airplane crashes, but the majority believed that they were not satisfactory for general fire fighting operations.
The Closed Pumper
In answer to the question “Is the Closed Pumper Here to Stay?” many opinions were offered, but a large majority were in the affirmative. Among those having closed pumpers, who spoke in favor of them, were Chief Walter Israel, of Detroit, and Chief W. H. Palmer, of Charlotte, N. C. Edward Rumsey, Chief of Machinery, Detroit, explained the reason for his city purchasing closed apparatus.
In answer to a question as to the hazard of lessened visibility of the drivers in closed apparatus, it was pointed out that at the present time all chief officers riding to fires ride in closed cars and there seems to be no increased hazard nor less ability of the officer to size up the fire before reaching the scene.
Flame-Proof Fabrics for Draperies in Theatres
The symposium on “Are We Justified in Requiring Flame-Proof Fabrics in Theatres, Night Clubs, Restaurants and Other Places of Public Assembly?” was introduced in a paper prepared by Chief Ross R. Davis, of Philadelphia, Pa., and read by the Chairman in his absence. In Philadelphia, it is a hard and fast
requirement that all drajieries, fabrics, scenery, etc., must stand a rigid test by the hire Bureau and Fire Marshal’s office Indore their use will be allowed. As a result of this precaution, the fires are usually confined to the area of their origin, thereby eliminating rapid spread which would ensue if the materials were not of a non-inflammable type. In some cases screen and gauze are used, which materials are of the lace variety or light and webby. The department does not allow its use at all, as it cannot be fire-proofed, and when hung in close proximity to a high powered lamp used for scenic effects, ignition may result. “It is our opinion,” stated Chief Davis, “from the actual conditions found, that all public safety officials, especially Chiefs of Fire Departments, Fire Marshals, etc., should be vested with the power to make rules and regulations stringent enough to absolutely control these places of public entertainment to such an extent that it would he impossible for them to open until proper inspection and check were made of all decorative materials used. It is also essential that regular periodic inspections be made of these places to insure the elimination of the possibility of the installation of inflammable materials.”
On Friday morning various routine business was first taken up, including the report of the Secretary-Treasurer, the report of the Committee on State Vice-Presidents Exhibit Committee and Committee on Credentials. Also reports were presented of the Board of Auditors and the district secretaries.
Three New Life Members
Under new business, the first action of the Convention was to grant Honorary Life Membership to George Morley, of the Gamewell Company, Newton Upper Falls, Mass. In nominating him for this honor, his long service to the Asso-
ciation was outlined. His election was unanimous.
Another who was similarly honored was Paul W. Kearney, a writer on fire department subjects. Mr. Kearney has contributed articles on fire fighting topics to over 200 publications, and has also published a book, in collaboration with former Assistant Chief Thomas Dougherty of the New York Eire Department, on “I Smell Smoke.” In view of the fact that Mr. Kearney has so ably presented the fire service to the public in his many articles, it was felt that he deserved Honorary Life Membership in the Association, which was voted to him unanimously.
Former Chief Wm. Russell, of Toronto, was also elected to Honorary Life Membership.
A number of resolutions were presented and adopted. These resolutions follow:
Cooperating with the W. P. A.
WHEREAS the Works Progress Administration of the federal government is eager to transfer “white collar” workers from projects of questionable value over to projects of economic worth, and
WHEREAS the Works Progress Administration makes men available at no cost to the municipality (the municipality, however, must furnish materials), and
WHEREAS such help has been utilized in many cities with material benefits to the Fire Departments,
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this Association cooperate with the Works Progress Administration by formulating plans for Fire Department improvements, which will utilize the services of skilled “white collar” workers, such as clerks, draughtsmen, etc., so that such assistance as may be given by the Works Progress Administration will be fruitful of the most good to the fire service.
Endorsing Schools on Trains
WHEREAS Members of the Pacific Coast Association of Fire Chiefs, traveling by special train to Conferences at Seattle, Wash., and Toronto, Ontario, held educational meetings in a special car, provided for that purpose on the train, utilizing the latest methods of vocational training and having Chief Ralph J. Scott, of Los Angeles, as a conference leader, and
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I. A. F. C. Continues Its Advance
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WHEREAS these meetings were of immense educational value to those participating, and
WHEREAS a permanent record was kept of all matters discussed, and decisions reached, in order that this valuable knowledge may be passed on to all Fire Departments who were not fortunate enough to have their Chiefs in attendance, now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that the holding of these meetings and thus utilizing travel time is a great innovation and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in the future, when Fire Chiefs travel together, the same program be recommended.
Banning the Use of Red Color
A resolution of the Pacific Coast Association of Fire Chiefs recommended for adoption by the International Association of Fire Chiefs:
WHEREAS the members of this organization unanimously condemn the use of red lights, other than tail lights, and the use of the color red on vehicles other than emergency vehicles, believing these practices to be unsafe and a contributing cause to the many fatal accidents occurring during emergency runs, and
WHEREAS the promiscuous use and lack of regulation of illuminated red signs on building fronts also tends to increase the hazards present during the operation of emergency vehicles, and WHEREAS the success of legislation lessening the said hazards is dependent in a large measure on such regulations being adopted generally throughout the land, now therefore
BE IT RESOLVED that this organization favors the passing of proper legislation prohibiting the use of red lights, other than tail lights, and the color red on all vehicles, other than emergenev vehicles, and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization favors passing of proper legislation regulating illuminated
red signs on building fronts with a view of lessening the hazard therefrom, and
BE IT STILL FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution be submitted to the International Association of Fire Chiefs for their consideration with a view of appointing a committee to study these matters carefully and submit sample laws to the various Associations making up the International Association of Fire Chiefs for their general adoption.
Protest Against “Courses of Instruction,” Prepared by Those Unequipped for the Work
WHEREAS, the officers of this Association have been reliably informed that an organization, national in scope, but with a staff including no members experienced in fire fighting, is engaged in the formulation of a course of instruction for members of municipal fire departments, and which course is intended for submission to fire department schools throughout the country, and
WHEREAS, the very successful progress of the fire school movement in recent years is due to the work of the Educational Committee of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, in cooperation with the Federal Board for Vocational Education and the various State Boards of Vocational Education, and
WHEREAS, the Directors of this Association firmly believe that the ends of such schools are best served only where experienced fire fighters determine the make-up of such courses,
THEREFORE, be it resolved that this Association vigorously protest the incursion of that, or any other organization, into this activity so intimately concerned with the future efficiency and improvement of the fire service.
Proceeding — with other snap shots of convention —concluded next issue.