Is Your Schoolhouse Safe?
A few weeks ago the whole country was shocked on learning of the loss of 76 lives in a schollhouse fire at Cleveland, South Carolina. A condemned, two-story frame building, a crowded assembly hall on the second floor, one narrow stairway, no fire escape, flimsy stage draperies and decorations, hanging lamp dropping, is the story of criminal carelessness. Three thousand South Carolinans “paid the last loving tribute” to the dead.
Who of the 1,700,000 inhabitants of South Carolina or the one hundred million inhabitants of the United States were and are thinking of the thousands of other fire traps, called school buildings, and of means and methods to make them safe? Shall this catastrophe go unheeded as did the Collinwood school fire, with its 175 victims and the Peabody parochial school fire in which 21 pupils perished?
Is your school house safe? If not, now is the time to make it so before next school year begins. Tears and coroner’s inquests accomplish nothing along school safety lines.
We urge that representatives of parent-teachers’ associations, women’s clubs, and commercial clubs go through every school building with the local fire chief or building inspector, and if fire and life hazards are found, that individually and as organizations they use their full influence with the municipal authorities to have such hazards removed or corrected.
Make sure that there are at least two good and convenient exits from every upstair room, and from all upper floors to the ground, that the stairways and fire escapes are in good repair, that a door, instead of a window, leads to the fire escape platform that all exit doors swing outward and are equipped with anti-panic hardware instead of ordinary locks and bolts, that the fire alarm system is in working order, and ascertain whether or not fire drills have been conducted as required by law.
Many schoolhouse fires start in basements in rubbish or at the heating plant, some in the attic from defective chimneys or poor electric wiring, too many on poor shingle roofs, a few in closets and waste baskets. The remedies are simple and most schoolhouse fires and catasitrophies are as inexcusable as the one at Cleveland, South Carolina.
Children must attend school, so make the school buildings absolutely safe.—Industrial Commission of Wisconsin.
Better Water Supply for Philadelphia Business Section— The Arch Street Business Men’s Association of Philadelphia, Pa., has adopted a resolution indorsing and recommending a comprehensive study and adoption of plans looking toward the furnishing an adequate water supply, particularly in the central section of the city, not only for daily commercial use, but also for fire prevention purposes.