Loss of Firemen’s Lives at Fires
Considering the constant peril that the fire-fighter faces in his endless battle with the destroying element, there are comparatively few deaths from actual fire duty by members of departments. This fact is emphasized in a resume of the year in the New York Fire Department, _____blished in this week’s issue. In this department, which represents the acme of fire-fighting skill, there was during the past year not a single member killed outright at a fire, from the collapse of walls or floors, or other foreseen circumstances.
This fact brings prominently to the fore the fact that the officers of the department are trained to a nicety in the exercise of coolness and judgment, and that they use these qualities intelligently in the care of men under their command. Time and time again, when a floor shows signs of weakness or a wall gives evidence that it may collapse, the men have been ordered to remove to safety, rather than run any chance of unnecessarily endangering their lives, where such acts could serve no useful purpose.
The knowledge of conditions that point to any dangerous weakness in the structures involved in a fire, or of any other circumstances which may result in injury and death to the fire-fighter, is carefully taught these officers and the result of the year’s work with no direct deaths in structures on fire shows how well this science has been instilled in the minds of these officers. This result is well worth all of the patience and study necessary to bring it about.
A significant fact brought out in connection with the deaths in the New York department is that 60 per cent of them were the result of accidents to fire apparatus. This unfortunate outcome of careless or reckless driving on the part of civilian motorists, who were no doubt at fault, emphasizes the necessity for more care by drivers in the control of their apparatus at all times, so as to avoid such accidents. Not only are precious lives sacrificed but also much valuable equipment of the fire department is thus unnecessarily destroyed.