Boston has an efficient and well equipped fire department, according to the engineers of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, who have just completed a reinspection. They say:

“Under the present capable and progressive administration the Boston fire department has resumed and in some features surpassed its former high standard of efficiency.

“The excellent system of drills and training for all members, the weeding out of aged or disabled members, the firm enforcement of discipline and the refusal to permit interference from outside organizations have all helped to restore efficiency, and their effects are evident in the improved appearance and behavior of the men. Manual strength has improved since the return of members from the war and, with the effective meal hour arrangements, is generally adequate. The organization of the fire force has been improved by rearranging it into three divisions. There is still a shortage in company and chief officers.

“Distribution of companies is good; the locations noted in 1916 as insufficiently protected are now covered by new companies or by improved apparatus in neighboring companies. An engine company has replaced one of the surplus ladder companies. Half of the separate chemical companies have been discontinued, one is replaced by an engine company, and four of the six remaining are equipped with automobile combination hose wagons and, in effect, are now hose companies. More than half of the apparatus is now motordriven or tractor-driven and additional imnrovements are contemplated.

“The establishment of a bureau of supplies and repairs in charge of a competent officer and the reorganization of the repair shop have resulted in untangling of congested conditions in the shop, the making of numerous minor repairs at company quarters and permitted a large amount of overhauling and rebuilding to be done. Practically all old apparatus has now been rebuilt or put into good condition. Sufficient good reserve apparatus is now on hand, distributed about the department for quick accessibility. The motor-driven apparatus is being standardized; recent purchases are of excellent type. The tractors have not been entirely satisfactory; they are difficult to control and the maintenance cost is high. The policy of the department is now to purchase only straight automobile apparatus.

“The fire prevention bureau has been enlarged and inspection work increased. The wire department is now consolidated with the fire department, with resultant economy. On the whole the department may now be rated as well managed, adequately manned and properly trained and equipped. With the further improvements contemplated by the administration it should take high rank among modern metropolitan fire departments.”

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