LOSSES, HAZARDS AND FIRE DEPARTMENT CONDITIONS IN VARIOUS CITIES

LOSSES, HAZARDS AND FIRE DEPARTMENT CONDITIONS IN VARIOUS CITIES

Extracts from Reports of Committee on FIRE PREVENTION AND ENGINEERING STANDARD National Board of Fire Underwriters

COLUMBUS, OHIO

The 1920 United States census shows the population to be 237,031. The city is situated at the junction of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and is practically the geographical center of the state. It is the state capital and is an important distributing and manufacturing center. Transportation facilities are provided by seven trunk line railroads with divisions operating in all directions and 11 interurban electric traction lines. The more important manufactured products are mining and electrical machinery, contractors’ supplies, railway equipment, farming implements, shoes, automobiles and caskets. There are also steel and flour mills, car and railroad shops, woodworking and fire apparatus factories.

The gross fire loss for the past 5year period, as given in the fire department records, amounted to $1,771,710; the annual loss ranged between $249,375 in 1919 and $508,621 in 1918. The average annual number of actual fires was 603, ranging between 534 in 1915 and 638 in 1917, with an average loss per fire of $588, a moderate figure. Based on an average population of 224,000, the average number of fires per 1,000 population was 2.69, and the average loss per capita was $1.58, both low figures.

Conflagration Hazard

The conflagration hazard of the congested value district is high in spots, because of the mainly weak structural conditions in compactly built joisted brick buildings, some narrow streets or alleys, the walls bordering which are filled with unprotected windows, serious overhead wire obstructions, high winds, and a generally insufficient water supply. The hazard is lessened for the district as a whole, because of two intersecting streets of good width, the small size of blocks, a moderate number of buildings, which otherwise would be classed as conflagration breeders, equipped with automatic sprinklers, and the efficient and fairly strong fire department.

In minor mercantile and manufacturing districts, severe local fires are probable, but they should not assume conflagration proportions; the exposure from these, however, to the main district, is severe in some instances. Residential sections introduce the hazard of flying-brand fires.

Fire Department

Full paid, on two-platoon basis. Supervision satisfactory; financial support fairly liberal. Methods of appointment good. Discipline good;

drills infrequent and insufficient. Companies and apparatus mainly well distributed. Engine capacity

adequate. Some deficiency’ in minor equipment and also for heavy stream appliances. Fire stations in fair condition. Repair facilities adequate. Response to alarms well arranged. Fire methods generally good. Inspections frequent and effective. Records fairly complete—Chief Jenkins Daniels.

Fire Alarm System

Manual system. Supervision and maintenance good. Headquarters in exposed ordinary building, containing many hazards. Headquarters equipment in good condition, but slightly deficient; batteries well mounted and in good condition. No duplicate alarm circuits and no recording devices in fire stations. Boxes mostly of good type; no red lights. Box distribution poor in outlying sections. Circuits largely overhead, well installed; underground circuits poorly insulated. Department telephone system fairly adequate. Tests of boxes satisfactory; of circuits infrequent.

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