Improvement in Fire Alarm Boxes.
We desire to call the attention of Fire Departments to a recent improvement in Fire Alarm Boxes, which we deem sufficiently meritorious to warrant more than a passing mention. No one questions the great utility of the telegraphic system of giving alarms of fire, and no one who considers the matter for a moment can deny the fact that a serious loss of time is liable to occur, and oftentimes does occur, by reason of the difficulty in getting a key with which to get access to the alarm-box. At a recent fire in Chicago, which destroyed Wood’s Museum, involving a loss of nearly a hundred thousand dollars, the man who discovered the fire spent twenty-five minutes in hunting a key, without success, and finally sent a man to the nearest engine house to give a still alarm. This is by no means an isolated case. With the piesent improved methods of extinguishing fires, an early discovery and a prompt alarm are all that is necessary to prevent serious loss. In any case of fire, the first few minutes are worth hours afterward. The Tooker Keyless Door seems to obviate all unnecessary delay in giving the alarm of fire, and renders the Fire Alarm Telegraph system reasonably perfect. The “ Local Alarm,” which is sounded whenever the handle is turned to open the door, is, we should judge, an ample protection against false alarms.
During a year’s trial in Chicago, but two false alarms were given from boxes with these doors attached, and in both instances the miscreants were caught in the act. In New York, with the Key Door several persons have been delected in sending false alarms. It is claimed by the inventor that these doors will more than save their cost to cities using them, annually, in preventing wear and tear to apparatus caused by false alarms.
The facility with which the doors can be applied to Fire Alarm Boxes now in use is a strong point in their favor, all that is; necessary being to take off the old door and put on the new one.
There is no change in, or disturbance of, the present mechanism of the alarm-boxthe signalling apparatus remaining precisely as it is—the only change in the box being the substitution of a keyless door for the one now operated by a key.
Another important advantage which this new door possesses over the old one is in the local alarm, which is sounded whenever the door is opened. It brings the policeman on the beat, who is always wanted immediately to protect property and to direct the Firemen where the fire is. It frequently happens that a fire is quite remote from the alarm-box sounded, and the person giving the alarm—usually the watchman—leaves the box to try and put out the fire. In such a case, when the Department arrives, confusion as to the location of the fire often resuits. There is no one to tell the Firemen where the fire is, and instances are on record where a fire making slow headway in a large building—with no outward show of its presence—has caused the Firemen either to spend valuable time in searching in wrong buildings or to go home, thinking the alarm a false one.
With this Tooker Door, a local alarm is always sounded which will bring some one to the box who can direct the Department to the property endangered, without loss of time or any confusion as to the exact location of the fire.
Another worthy feature of this improvement might be mentioned. It necessarily arouses the people in the immediate neighborhood of the box sounded.
It an alarm-box is near, or in a tenement house, the opening of the door arouses the inmates and enables them to provide against danger as soon as the danger is discovered.
It thus not only protects property, but human life.
In a word we regard this Keyless Alarm Door as one of the most important and valuable improvements in the Fire Alarm Service that has recently been made. As will be seen by their advertisement, it has received the cordial endorsement of many prominent fire authorities.