Montana State Firemen’s Association Meeting
The annual convention of the Montana State Firemen’s Association was held at Dillon, Mont., on September 18 to 20, 1919. The meeting was called to order at 10:30 a. m., September 18, by President Art J. Baker, of Lewistown. Mayor J. E. Monroe gave the address of welcome. The address was responded to by Chief J. M. Higgins of Hamilton. The president then appointed Committee on Credentials as follows: Messrs. Collins of Anaconda, Daly of Helena, Bloom of Forsyth, Peterson of Sidney, and Elliott of Dillon. The Credentials Committee reported the names of persons who were entitled to seats in the convention.
The roll was called and absentees noted.
President Baker then gave the annual address, and appointed various committees. Petitions of Glasgow, Plentywood, and Laurel were favorably acted upon and elected to become members of this association. The Legislative Committee reported that since last meeting it had succeeded in getting the “Two Platoon System” law passed for the larger cities which plan was being emulated by other states and that Montana enjoyed the distinction of being the first state to adopt this system. On motion of Mr. de Carle, of Miles City, it was ordered that a committee be appointed to investigate the possibility of securing a “blanket bond” for all treasurers instead of separate bonds.
A resolution offered by volunteer departments from the suburbs of Butte, relative to volunteer departments coming under the compensation law, provoked a lively discussion. The volunteers complained bitterly because they aid not receive the “relief money” the same as volunteer organizations of most incorporated towns and the paid departments. The matter was thoroughly discussed and the conclusion was finally reached that Walkerville, Meaderville, Centerville, and other suburban towns had not received the relief money, for the reason that the relief money was derived from a tax on fire insurance companies, and that these suburban towns had their insurance written through the agencies of larger cities. A remedy was suggested to have the insurance companies establish branch agencies in these towns and they would then receive a proportion of the relief money. The other parts of the resolution regarding remuneration for clothing ruined by volunteers while fighting fires, and of insurance rates in fire districts, were ordered laid over until next day. It was stated that Secretary Branscomb of District E, Board of Fire Underwriters at Butte, would be in attendance at the convention on either the second or third day.
A paper, “Fire Fighting as a Profession, Required Qualifications and Personnel, and Compensation of Firemen as Compared with Other Professions,” written by Chief Martin of Butte, and in his absence read by Mr. Ed Land, created an interesting discussion. It was practically the unanimous opinion that firemen were underpaid, and it was moved that a committee be appointed to investigate this matter with a view to establishing uniform pay for firemen.
September 19th was taken up mostly by reading and discussion of topics pertaining to fire prevention, fire fighting and mtaters of interest to firemen generally. Entertainment consisted of attending wild west exhibition, ball games, auto rides through the famous Beaverhead Valley, and a grand ball at night. At the final session on September 20, the officers for the ensuing year were elected as follows: Art J. Baker, of Lewistown, reelected president^ Geo. Dewar, of Havre, vice-president; John E. deCarle, of Miles City, treasurer; D. E. Moser, of Bozeman, secretary.
Helena, Havre and Roundup were the contenders for the 1920 convention, Roundup winning the honor of entertaining the association next year. State Fire Marshal Robert S. Mentrum addressed the convention in regard to the duties of the Fire Marshal’s office, what they had accomplished in the matter of fire prevention, and explaining why the office needed the cooperation of the fire chiefs of the state. He also exhibited photographs of bad conditions found in regard to fire hazards which he had found during his trips of inspection. He spoke of the efforts of the fire marshal’s office in teaching fire prevention to the children throughout the state through the co-operation of the National Board of Fire Underwriters, who had speakers touring the state equipped with moving pictures illustrating fire prevention.