MR. FLEMING’S NEW WORK
The Former State Fire Marshal of Ohio Heads a New and Important Work in the Field of Fire Prevention—Conservation and Fire Prevention Association to be Formed in Each State—Some States Already in Line
ONE of our primary purposes is that of reducing the high cost of living,” said T. Alfred Fleming, in outlining the extensive plans of the Conservation and Fire Prevention Association, in the executive committee room of the National Board of Fire Underwriters recently. Mr. Fleming, who has for three years filled the important position of State Fire Marshal of Ohio and who has been president of the Fire Marshals’ Association of North America, has recently resigned his Ohio work to undertake nation-wide efforts to reduce the extraordinary fire waste in essential commodities of popular consumption. Mr. Fleming, who thus assumes one of the most conspicuous and influential positions in the entire range of fire prevention activity, was born in Canada and educated at the Toronto University. In 1902 he came to Ohio, settled in the city of Cleveland, where for ten years he was pastor of the Miles Avenue Christian Church. For two years following the completion of his pastorage, he was secretary of the Department of Public Welfare in the City of Cleveland, under the administration of Newton D. Baker, now Secretary of War. In 1917, Mr. Fleming was elected to the Ohio State Legislature and during the season of the Legislature at the time of the declaration of war, he was requested by the governor on account of the importance of the State Fire Marshal’s activities, to assume the duty of State Fire Marshal and at that time he resigned from the Legislature. In the fall of 1918, Mr. Fleming was elected President of the Fire Marshals’ Association of North America, which office he held for one year. Because of the conspicuous success with which he filled the office and of his great reputation as a public speaker, Mr. Fleming has spoken in nearly every State in the Union at the request of the local State fire marshal and has also been a prominent speaker at the national conventions.
During his incumbency of the office of Ohio State fire marshal, Mr. Fleming made a record for energy and efficiency, which has attracted wide-spread attention. Among the many policies put in operation, one of the most successful was that of civic organization along fire prevention lines. To this end, all of the principal cities in the state were taken up consecutively and in each one a central Fire Prevention Committee was organized from delegates appointed by the leading clubs and civic bodies. This central committee thereupon became an active assistant of the State fire marshal’s office in all that applies to its particular community and constituted a great force behind Fire Prevention Day, Clean-Up Week, the improvement of local conditions along the line of fire equipment and water supply. This great movement, of which the results were enduring, has had much to do with bringing about safer conditions of life and property in the State of Ohio and is in itself a monument to Mr. Fleming’s methods.
In laying down this work to enter a larger field, Mr. Fleming proposes to begin at once a tour of the Eastern States, having in view the organization in each of a Conservation and Fire Prevention Association. Such associations will thus become permanent bodies and will constitute an amalgamation of whatever bodies previously existed for fire prevention work. It will have the direction of the large force of special investigators whose time will be given liberally by the various insurance companies and will be loyally supported by the local agents associations, according to the assurances received from the national body.
As bearing upon the question of the high cost of living, Mr. Fleming explained that the destruction of enormous quantities of stored food-stuffs and other necessities and the crippling of many plants engaged in producing staples of common use, has been a large factor in reducing the available supply and thus increasing the cost to users.
How vitally this problem will be affected by checking the fire loss was demonstrated by recent statistics from one of the principal agricultural States of the Middle West. According to an authoritative statement, this State suffered fires in grain elevators and flour mills at the average rate of seven a month prior to June 1, 1917, when a comprehensive system of fire hazard inspection went into effect. From June 1, 1917, to January 1, 1919, a period of nineteen months, there was not a single fire of this nature within the borders of the State. When it. is remembered that each fire in a flour mill or grain elevator consumes the product of anywhere from hundreds to thousands of acres of grain land, it can be seen how largely the question of living is effected by such fires.
The entire campaign outlined by Mr. Fleming will be under the general supervision of the National Board of Fire Underwriters as a part of their extensive campaign of public service and conservation work.