Kansas City Plans Big Improvements
Appreciating the great need of better fire protection, the lower house of the Kansas City, Mo., Common Council on December 21, 1925, voted to request the National Board of Fire Underwriters to make a resurvey of the local fire department and its needs, and to furnish the city with their findings and recommendations as soon as possible. On March 8, the Committee on Fire Prevention and Engineering Standards of the National Board, of which N. S. Bartow is Chairman, submitted its report, having performed its survey within three months.
Having been informed of the amount that the city was in a position to invest in fire apparatus—$1,200,000—the engineers of the National Board made their calculations accordingly. Kansas City, Mo., which has a population of 325,000, will on April 10, change the city government to that of a mayor and eight councilmen, with a city manager. H. F. McElroy having been chosen for the latter position. The present equipment of 29 pumpers and 10 ladder companies complies with the requirements for maximum demand in a city of its size, but the present need is suitable apparatus for all existing companies. The National Board engineers therefore recommend that six pieces of equipment, consisting of two pumpers, three service ladder trucks and one aerial ladder truck be delivered withing the next few months under a rental contract. In addition to these there should be provided under a contract for delivery this year the following pieces to properly equip companies and provide reserve: Twelve pumpers of not less than 700 gallons capacity; four 75-foot aerial ladder trucks; five hose wagons with booster or chemical tanks and turret nozzles; and one service ladder truck. It is estimated that the total cost of this licet of apparatus should not exceed $250,000.
The recommendations of the National Board are voluminous, involving many changes in fire stations and relocations of companies and apparatus, as well as the construction of new fire houses, it is suggested should be carried through this year. A new station is needed at Swope Parkway between 49th street and 52d street, equipped with a pumper company. Recommendations were also made for a hose company at 55th street and Wornall Road, a pumper company at 35th and Summit streets, and a pumper company at 12th street and Van Brunt Boulevard. As repair shops are inadequate, it is suggested that station 4 can be made into a repair shop. A training school was also recommended for new members at which time their fitness for fire service should be determined. Competitive drills of companies; a demonstration smoke room: sprinkler and standpipe exhibits and facilities for lectures with illustrated talks on features of building construction and hazards, are also suggested.
The engineers found that all companies were without a proper amount of hose, because the apparatus was not able to carry the full complement of 1,000 feet. It was suggested that fully 15,000 feet of fire hose be in readiness when the new apparatus arrives. This will give 1,000 feet for each hose wagon or pumper, and have 1,000 feel to spare in each station. Some of this hose should be 3-inch. Hose over seven years old should be replaced or transferred to outlying companies. An increase in the annual appropriation for man power is highly essential, as a minimum of 342 men should be provided at the present time for engine and hose companies, with ten more men for the additional companies recommended for not later than 1930. For ladder companies there should be a minimum of 136 men, and there should be four drivers for the chiefs. This gives a present total required fire force, exclusive of chief officers, of 502 men, or 111 more than the present force. With the funds available all of the companies needed in Kansas City can be adequately equipped with suitable apparatus and sufficient reserve equipment can be provided.