Memphis Conference Sets New Standards for Excellence
“ONE OF THE BEST YET,” was the consensus of opinion following conclusion of the recent 90th Annual Conference of the International Association of Fire Chiefs at Memphis, Tenn. Beginning with the Second Annual Institute in Fire Administration held October 25 through 27 with 290 registrants, through the conference itself, October 28-31, with 3,000 in attendance, the meeting was a huge success.
Smoothing the path and providing assistance at every turn with seasoned competence were the Memphis fire fighters. Their skill in meeting the needs of the conference as well as individuals resulted in a resolution of thanks from the assembly.
As usual the exhibits were the “hit” of the conference. The largest show of apparatus and equipment in the history of the Association, they were heavily attended and the subject of much comment. On Tuesday afternoon, October 29, outdoor demonstrations, at the Memphis Training Center, of new nozzles, high-expansion foam generators, aerial ladders and crash trucks drew several thousand interested observers.
The business sessions were fastpaced and two workshops, one for volunteer and the other for paid chiefs were heavily attended.
Resolutions passed by the chiefs included a protest against the role of fire fighter as policemen during riots and mob demonstrations. The resolution pointed out that the fire service is trained to protect lives and property from fire, not to halt mob action by the use of high-pressure streams of water, and it urged its members to “publicly resist this type of action.”
The members also strongly condemned attempts to consolidate fire and police departments of municipalities, a reiteration of a long-time stand. “A trend toward consolidation exists which brings an inevitable reduction in the efficiency of the fire service through dangerous delays in making the initial attack against a fire and the use of inadequately trained personnel drafted from the police ranks,” the resolution stated.
Another resolution called on the members to appoint a committee to investigate the possibility of obtaining Federal funds for a research proj’ect dealing with smoke-detecting devices and long-use breathing apparatus.
Because of the deep concern of many fire chiefs that toxic-type fire extinguishers are dangerous to the health, safety and welfare of citizens as well as fire fighters, the members voted to request state and local officials to discontinue the listing and approval of fire extinguishers using carbon tetrachloride or similar chemicals of a toxic nature.
The members agreed that dual employment is both an economical and a local administration problem and, therefore, they are not in a position to recommend policy. However, they called on each chief official to review this condition within his department.
With reference to training, it was pointed out that the death and injury rate in the fire service is increasing each year and exerting a serious drain on the tax dollar. Because of this, members urged continued efforts to expand training programs and to develop, wherever possible, operating procedures which will decrease the risk of in-service deaths and injuries.
Members voted approval of an official visor insignia for senior American fire chiefs, who hold the office of chief of department or who wear fivetrumpet insignia.
The authorizing resolution pointed out that more and more chiefs are wearing gold embroidery on the visors of their caps, usually a design prescribed for senior officers in the Army and Navy and did not connote, as does other fire service insignia, that it belonged specifically to the fire service.
For this reason, a new design of visor embroidery was created by Chief Donald Holbrook, Meadowood County Area Fire Department, N. H. It is a mixture of gold and scarlet thread, outlined to resemble flame, and has been copyrighted and restricted to the American fire service.
Chief Holbrook has agreed to hold the copyright in his name for the benefit and protection of the fire service, and further, has agreed to make available to any cap manufacturer the specifications and design as approved at no personal profit.
The only election contest was for second vice president. Following his elevation, Chief Adrian Meyers, Grand Rapids, Mich., thanked the members for their support and pledged his efforts to forward the work of the Association. He then displayed excellent sportsmanship by calling his defeated opponent, Chief Lester Schick, Davenport, Iowa, to the podium where he congratulated him for his clean, hard fight for the post.
Committee chairmen appointed
At the annual banquet, Chief Raul Gandara’s first act as president was to appoint the chairmen of several IAFC committees. They are as follows: Program: Chief Matthew Jimenez, Hayward, Calif.
Membership: Chief Adrian J. Meyers, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Volunteers: Chief David B. Gratz, Silver Spring, Md.
Fire Research: Chief Keith Klinger, Los Angeles County, Calif.
Memphis F. D. photos
Fire-Police Relations: Chief R. F. Swanborough, Hamilton, Ont., first vice president
Constitution: Chief William L. Miller, Los Angeles, Calif.
Fire Prevention: Jay W. Stevens, Orinda, Calif.
Home Alarms: Roi B. Woolley, San Diego, Calif.
President’s Advisory: Fred Fischl, BiLateral Fire Hose Co.; Hugh Walker, American LaFrance; Mrs. Grade Clark, The Circul-Air Corp.
The 91st Annual Conference is scheduled for Houston, Tex., October 18-23, 1964.