Ideal Small Town Apparatus
While the suggestion of First Assistant Chief Whitehead, of the Millbury, Mass., fire department, in a paper under the above title, published in another column, of a “quadruple combination,” has the virtue of novelty, there are some very serious objections to such an apparatus. Undoubtedly, the problem of the small town in relation to the most serviceable and at the same time most economical apparatus, is a vexing and serious one. The question of first cost enters very largely into the adoption of the proper kind of fire fighting machine—sometimes too much so. The city fathers of such a municipality are, in their anxiety for economy of administration, only too apt to lose sight of the fact that one serious fire will cost not only the individuals who actually suffered the loss, but also the taxpayers in general, many times more than the first cost of a good triple combination car and a serviceable ladder truck. And, in mentioning these two apparatus, we believe that the needs of the small town are well covered. The fatal flaw in Chief Whitehead’s suggestion is the danger of placing “all of one’s eggs in one basket.” If the proposed apparatus—which would essentially he a heavy and cumbrous one—should become stalled in heavy snow, or break down from any other reason, the town would be at the mercy of the flames, with no means of fighting them, or of rescuing the inmates of the burning buildings. Whereas, with two apparatus, in case of accident to the triple combination, the department would at least have the ladder truck for rescue purposes. And, vice versa, if the ladder truck were stalled, the department would still have its fire fighting apparatus available. While the cost of the two apparatus would naturally be a little more, the extra outlay would be nothing as compared with the added amount of safety such a plan would insure. The consequent lowering in the town’s insurance rate would alone pay the citizens for what they had spent for the two machines as against the one heavier one. One suggestion of the chief’s is. however, an excellent one, and that is the necessity of ladders of sufficient length to reach the eaves, and of a serviceable long roof ladder. These should certainly be provided in any event.