Lively Fire Equipment Demand Predicted in 1921
Indications for This Year Point to Greatly Increased Activity in All Branches—New Departments Formed, Motorization of Old, Replacement of Worn-Out Apparatus, All Factors
THERE is every reason to believe that 1921 will be signalized by great improvements all along the line in the fire departments of the country. This, while true of the fire service of the great majority of the larger cities, will be by no means confined to these centers of population. On the contrary, this rivalry in the endeavor to raise the fire department to the top notch of efficiency in respect to the apparatus, their housing, and their auxiliaries seems to be shared by the smallest of the departments, and many towns which heretofore have trusted to the rain and a Good Providence to keep them from conflagrations that would wipe them off the map are waking up to the vital necessity of protecting themselves from such unfortunate happenings by an efficient fire department. In every issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING can be read accounts of towns and cities of small population raising funds for the purchase of fire apparatus by many and various means. Fairs and bazaars are often resorted to when a bond issue seems impracticable, or the funds of the town are at too low an ebb to stand the strain of the purchase of motor apparatus, hose and extinguishers, and of acquiring a suitable building to house them.
Especial Activity in Motor Apparatus
There is not a chief of a fire department, no matter whether of a small town or a large city, whose ambition does not center in the complete motorization of his department. The great majority of the larger cities now have either attained the point where the horse has forever and entirely been banished from the houses of the department or expect to accomplish this object within the next year. To this end several of the larger and a large number of the smaller departments have asked for large appropriations for the purchase of efficient motor apparatus, which shall place the city’s fire service upon a basis of efficiency that can bear comparison with all other departments of the same size. One of the largest of orders looking to this end is that recently placed by the city of Indianapolis, Ind., consisting of thirty-five pieces of motor apparatus. This order includes seven 750-gallon pumpers, eighteen 600-gallon pumpers, and ten city service trucks. Another large order in contemplation is that of the city of Cleveland, Ohio, which recently authorized the purchase of five 750-gallon combination hose and pumpers, three motor hose cars, and a city service truck, at a cost of over $60,000. Savannah, Ga., has included in its 1921 budget provision for the purchase of one motor-driven aerial, one motordriven pumper, and one tractor for an aerial. New Haven, Conn., has made an appopriation of $70,000 for the purchase of six motor oumpers. Several other of the larger cities recently have given sizable orders for apparatus of various types or are contemplating doing so. But, as before referred to, this activity is by no means confined to the large municipalities. Many smaller cities are recorded every week as being in the market for one or two pumpers, combinations, ladder trucks, or other apparatus, and several towns which heretofore have boasted no fire department have recently recognized the penny-wise and pound-foolishness of such a policy and formed volunteer fire departments, the next step, of course, being the acquiring of a motor apparatus for the protection of the town and the use of the new department. So that, taken all in all, it would seem that 1921 will see unusual activity along this line.
The Matter of the Hose Supply
Much the same conditions apply in the matter of fire hose as in that of apparatus. Many of the departments have held off from the purchase of hose to replenish the worn-out supplies used during the war period. But now the time has arrived when it is imperative that the supply be replaced with new and serviceable hose. No longer can the matter be delayed in these instances—and they are many—or the fire-fighting efficiency of the departments will suffer. The consequence will be a lively demand for fire hose, supplemented of course by the usual routine orders from the departments. Another cause of activity in the demand for fire hose will be found in the fact that the number of private plant departments is daily increasing, and that they must have ample supplies to cover the buildings of which they are in charge.
Tools and Auxiliaries for Fire Depsrtments
The unusual interest in the matter of colleges and schools for firemen, both paid and volunteer, and the consequent increase in the knowledge of the uses of the various tools and appliances used in modern fire fighting, will undoubtedly increase greatly the demand for these various articles in the coming year. Hardly a department but has given some thought to the proper instruction of its men in the necessity of taking advantate of every means Amercan inventive genius provided in the battle with ths great fiety and the consequence will naturally be a of the attention of all members of the fire service to these necessaryh and important articles and their uses.
Chemicals and Fite Extinguishers
The tendency of correct practice as taught by chiefs and officers of fire depsrtments who are up-to-the-minute in the science of fire fighting is to discourage the use of water fat extinguishing fire where chemicals can be as well and property employed. The reason, it need hardly be pointed out it the great lessening of damage to property when the fire in its first stages Is controllad by the use of chemicals. The chemical apparatus is now a recognized necessity in every fire department, and its use has saved many millions of damages from water, the use of which in the old method of fire fighting would have resulted in drenching surrounding property in the extinguishing of a firs. In these lines again, as also in the case of hand extinguishers, the municipal and the plant departments will work hand in hand in the increasing of activity. Especially in the case of the small chemical apparatus will the demand from industrial and plant departments be felt. These machines are especially adapted to the uses of such organizations, and no doubt as the number of these private departments increases the request for these fire-fighting appliances will keep pace with this growth.
An unusual interest, judging from the number of inquiries FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING has recently received for good plans and designs for these buildings, has arisen in the construction of serviceable and efficient stations for the use of the men of fire departments and the housing of the apparatus. Owing to the growth and spreading out of the urban population, through the acute building situation, many cities have found it imperative that new fire companies be formed to guard these newly established districts, and these being in many cases residential in character, the demand is naturally that the structures intended to house these companies be of a type that will correspond and blend with the surrounding buildings. Thus the bungalow type of fire house has become quite popular for use in outlying districts of cities. In this type of house the hose tower being out of the question, a substitute is found in the hose rack for drying out after a fire or other use of the hose. This is usually placed in the basement of the building or in a roofed enclosure in the yard where there is room.
Fire Alarm Systems
Many departments whose alarm systems were installed in the early days, before these apparatus were brought to the state of perfection and efficiency that the modern installation has attained, are now beginning to overhaul their plants and consider whether the sum necessary to place them on a par with the most up-to-date system would not be money well invested. The smaller departments, too, which heretofore have been content to await the blowing of the factory whistle or the ringing of the church bell to call them to action, now demand a quicker and more reliable plan. In consequence the various types of automatic fire alarms will no doubt find this year an unprecedented demand. Private industrial plants here also will surely do their part in increasing the volume of sales for the manufacturers of such devices. The siren, both for use on the apparatus on its way to the fire and also as a fire alarm to summon the department, will be much called for, especially in the latter case, where a department cannot afford an elaborate alarm system.
The General Outlook
Taken as a whole, the general trade outlook is a cheerful one, and contains promise of better things in store in the way of Increased business. The various lines that FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING represents dovetail so completely into one another that activity in one of them will surely be an earnest of lively conditions for all. For instance, new apparatus mean new houses to hold them, additional hose to supply them, new uniforms for the men appointed to handle them, new extinguishers, tools and appliances to equip them, and so on. And the demand for new apparatus this year is an established fact. So that FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING feels no hesitation in predicting plenty of good business for all in the year 1921.