NATIONAL BOARD OF FIRE UNDERWRITERS

NATIONAL BOARD OF FIRE UNDERWRITERS

Notes from the Field

Committee on Fire Prevention and Engineering Standards TO William Street, New York BULLETIN Supplement to Report No. 10

July 9, 1920.

CLEVELAND, OHIO

To Members of the National Board of Fire Underwriters:

This city was visited June 22, 1920, by Engineer Chas. A. Whitney, who found the following conditions to exist: FIRE DEPARTMENT.

The fire department is still on the 3-platoon basis. The total membership is now 1,067, an increase of 156 since September 15, 1919, as given in the last bulletin. This increase, however, is still 185 less than required for efficient operation of the department. The actual deficiency in men is even greater than this as of the total force of 1,067 there would be at all times about 165 men on day off, leaving only 823 men. During vacation periods it is still further reduced by 60 to 70 men. leaving the net force below the rank of battalion chief of 823, only onethird of which is actually on duty. This is a deficiency on each shift of 109 men from that required. It was found on the evening of June 22nd that the high pressure pumping station was being run with only one engineer on duty, the assistant being at supper.

There are now 16 battalion chefs, an increase of 2. Assistant and battalion chiefs are now on 2-platoon basis working each alternate 24 hours. Each battalion district has a chief officer on duty at all times except two out lying districts which are covered by the adjoining battalion chief on each alternate day.

The 14 pumping engines reported as contracted for have been delivered and placed with Engine Companies 3, 8, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 22, 25, 26, 27, 29 and 32, with one kept for reserve. The 5 new aerial ladder trucks have been placed with Ladder Companies 2, 4, 6, 7, and 10. This new equipment releases for reserve 4 steamers and 3 ladder trucks equipped with automobile tractors, and one automobile hose wagon. This completes the motorization of the department, except for Hose Company 4, which is in an outlying section.

A very good assortment of macnine tools and a 3-ton automobile wrecking truck have been received or are on order for the repair shop.

Money on hand and an additional bond issue of $250,000 will provide for new stations as follows: On East 131st and Union streets, for an engine and ladder company; one on the west side in the vicinity of the stock yards, for an engine company; one on Scranton Road, for an engine and ladder company, and the rebuilding of the station for Engine 15, a fire boat. Provision will be made also for the purchase of 5 automobile pumping engines, 3 automobile hose wagons, 1,000 feet of 2 1/2-ineh hose, and 3,000 feet of 3-inch hose.

The principal deficiency in the fire department still remains, as formerly reported, in the serious undermanning of companies and lack of proper training. During the past 18 months, between 65 and 70 per cent, of the membership below the grade of assistant engineer have been new men, and no effort is being made to train them in the proficient handling of fire equipment.

Respectfully submitted,

COMMITTEE ON FIRE PREVENTION

AND ENGINEERING STANDARDS.

Sheldon Catlin, Chairman.

W. E. Mallalieu,

General Manager.

Geo. W. Booth,

Chief Engineer.

BULLETIN, Supplement to Report No. 151

July 9, 1920.

FORT WAYNE, IND.

To Members of the National Board of Fire Underwriters:

In company with Manager E. M. Sellers, of the Indiana Inspection Bureau, this city was visited by Assistant Chief Engineer Clarence Goldsmith on June 16, 1920, for the purpose of investigating the cause of the recent water shortage, of noting the improvements made subsequent to our report of September, 1919, and of discussing with the city officials and other local interests, the recommendations deemed most urgent for early adoption, particularly as to emergency measures to meet the existing serious shortage in water supply.

WATER SUPPLY.

On May 23rd the 6,000,000-gallon, Holly-Gaskill pump at Station 2 was put out of service by the failure of n water plunder rod. The repairs were made as promptly as practicable and the pump was again put in service late in the day of the 20th. During the period the water in the reservoir had fallen slowly, but the private supply of the Pennsylvania Railroad failed and the railroad started to draw from the municipal system at about the same time that the pump was put back in service and the reservoir was rapidly emptied and remained in this condition from 6 a. m. to 6 p. m. on the 27th of May With the reservoir emptied the higher portions of the city are without water and the supply available in the principal mercantile district, ordinarily deficient, is further depleted.

On June 4th the 3,750,000-gallon pump at Station 3 lost a step bearing and was not put back into service until June 7th. During this period the 2,000,000-gallon pump at this station was in operation and as maximum consumption conditions did not obtain the reservoir was not entirely emptied.

A review of the records shows that the ultimate capacity of the existing supply with all equipment in operation is barely 7,000,000 gallons a day over any extended period. During periods of maximum domestic consumption it is impossible to keep more than 1,000,000 gallons in the reservoir, and with the reservoir at this stage, pressures are unsatisfactory even for domestic use at the higher elevations and the quantity in reserve for a large fire is seriously deficient.

A 2,000,000-gallon moto-driven centrifugal pump with vacuum priming auxiliary has been installed in Station 2 and was about to be put into service at the time of this inspection. This pump is in a pit about 8 feet below the steam pump and with the reduced lift it is probable that the pump can be operated at capacity.

Practically nothing has been done toward increasing the available supply as recommended in the 1919 report. The increased demand on the already deficient and unreliable system has developed a situation so serious that emergency measures should be undertaken immediately to provide at least 2,000,000 gallons a day in addition to the present supply. When this is done, steps should be taken to develop an adequate supply so that it will be available in 1921.

FIRE DEPARTMENT.

No new apparatus has been put in service since the previous inspection. The department has ordered and will install motor apparatus as follows: At Engines 2 and

5, a 750-gallon pumper carrying 1,200 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose, one 14-foot roof ladder and one 24-foot extension ladder, and a motor hose wagon carrying 1,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose, a 50-gallon chemical tank with 200 feet of 3/4-inch hose, two 2 1/2-gallon chemicals, one 14-foot roof ladder and one 24-foot extension ladder; at Engines 4, 6,

7, and 8, a 600-gallon pumper, carrying 1,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose, a 14-foot roof ladder and a 24-foot extension ladder, and a motor hose wagon carrying 1,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose, 50-gallon chemical tank with 200 feet of 3/4-inch hose, a 14-foot roof ladder and a 24-foot extension ladder.

The putting in service of the above equipment will provide an adequate pump and chemical capacity and will enable one of the men in each company required to operate the steamer to perform fire duty, thus strengthening the fire force. The full benefit of this modern equipment cannot be utilized by the department, however, until an adequate and reliable water supply is available.

RECOMMENDATIONS.

The general recommendations, which have not already been complied with, for improvements in the fire protection features, as stated in the report of 1919 still apply.

Immediate steps should be taken to increase the quantity of water available for present needs. This may be promptly accomplished by installing a temporary filtration plant with wooden sedimentation tanks and tub filters having an aggregate capacity of at least 2,000,000 gallons a day. If the quality of the water in Saint Mary’s river at Pumping Station 2 is such that purification can be satisfactorily accomplished, this temporary plant should be erected adjacent to the station and the existing highlift pumping equipment utilized to deliver the effluent into the distribution system through the 16-and 24-inch discharge mains already laid. If it is found that this water cannot be used the temporary plant should be installed on the Saint Joseph river near the northern city limits; in this case a motor-driven high-lift pump would be required to deliver into the distribution system. The installation of this temporary plant is necessary as an emergency measure and should not postpone the prompt development of an adequate supply.

Respectfully submitted,

COMMITTEE ON FIRE PREVENTION

AND ENGINEERING STANDARDS.

Sheldon Catlin, Chairman.

W. E. Mallalieu,

General Manager.

Geo. W. Booth,

Chief Engineer.

BULLETIN, Supplement to Report No. 24.

July 9, 19200.

QUINCY, MASS.

To Members of the National Board of Fire Underwriters:

This city was visited by Engineer J. H. Howland, June 1 and 2, 1920, for the purpose of noting improvements made subsequent to our report of January, 1920, and of discussing with the city* authorities the recommendation deemed most urgent for early adoption.

WATER SUPPLY.

The water supply system remains essentially as last reported, but during the present year the department plans to lay several short scattered lengths of 8-, 10-and 12-inch pipe for local reinforcement and partial replacement of kalamin steel pipe; the 12-inch is to be laid along Fenno street from Hancock to Marlboro streets. The need of annual appropriations to permit of the more rapid replacement of the considerable mileage of unreliable kalamin steel pipe and the extension of the feeder mains as laid out and contemplated by the department was emphasized as desirable improvements in an otherwise adequate and reliable water supply.

FIRE DEPARTMENT.

On February 2, 1920, the department was reorganized on the 2-platoon basis with a total full paid fire force of 73 men; this gives a night strength equal to that previously maintained, with an increase in the day strength of about 13 men, thereby materially strengthening the department. A further increase in the manning of Ladder 1 and Hose 3, two of the high value companies, is desirable.

Another lieutenant was appointed in November, 1919, and the Mayor has recently recommended to Council that the ordinances be amended to provide for the appointment of 10 additional lieutenants to enable each fire station to have 2 company officers. Other improvements include the purchase of 3,000 feet of 2 1/2-inch hose and an automobile for the chief.

FIRE ALARM SYSTEM.

Recent improvements in the fire alarm system include, increasing the number of circuits from 8 to 9, connecting up the 10-wire underground cable on Washington street between Edison street and Washington court, replacing the triple-braided underground wire in open duct with 20-and 10-wire lead-sheathed cable, providing vacuum arresters at junction of overhead and underground distribution and increasing the total number of boxes to 156. New boxes are successive; all are to be re-painted this year. For increased reliability the replacement of the existing brush-break contacts with key breaks is the recommendation deemed most urgent for immedaite consideration.

STRUCTURAL CONDITIONS.

No action has yet been taken towards complying with the recommendations for revising the building laws and for prohibiting wooden shingles on all new or repaired roofs throughout the city. It is essentially important that these two recommendations also receive the earliest possible consideration in order that generally weak structural conditions may be improved rather than become worse.

Respectfully submitted,

COMMITTEE ON FIRE PREVENTION

AND ENGINEERING STANDARDS.

Sheldon Catlin, Chairman.

W. E. Mallalieu,

General Manager.

Geo. W. Booth,

Chief Engineer.

BULLETIN, Supplement to Report No. 21.

July 6, 1920.

CHELSEA, MASS.

To Members of the National Board of Fire Underwriters:

This city was visited by Engineer J. H. Howland on May 26 and 27, 1920, for the purpose of noting the more important improvements made subsequent to our report of April, 1920, and of discussing with the city authorities the recommendations deemed most urgent for early adoption.

WATER SUPPLY.

The system of water supply remains essentially as last reported. This summer it is planned to connect up with 6-inch pipe 3 dead ends on Webster avenue and intersecting street east of the reservoir on Bellingham hill. Some progress is being made in the preparation of sectional maps of the distribution system.

The High Service area on Bellingham hill is in urgent need of more water. A 12-inch feeder should be extended by the most feasible route from the end of 16-ineh mains on Crescent avenue to 8-inch main at Highland avenue and Bellingham street; the location indicated in our report is not feasible as Highland avenue has been built on between the railroad right of way south of Crescent avenue, but the possibility of getting across 400 to 500 feet east of Highland avenue and by way of Willow and Bellingham streets should at once be considered.

FIRE DEPARTMENT.

The combination hose wagon formerly with Engine 3 and now equipped with a turret pipe has been placed in service with Engine 1; the horse-drawn wagon formerly with Engine 1 has been placed in reserve with Engine 3. None of the more important fire department recommendations have yet been complied with. The efficiency of the department is seriously impaired from the lack of a deputy chief and company officers and the need of at least one additional man per existing company on each shift, an additional engine company and a fully manned aerial ladder truck; provisions should also be made for regular drills and training at a well equipped tower and the more extensive use of 3-inch hose.

FIRE ALARM SYSTEM.

Last March the fire alarm system was placed under the supervision of the City Electrician, Edw. J. Mahoney. Except that provisions have been made for 2 additional street boxes, one of which is already installed, and that the use of visual indicators in fire stations has been discontinued, there have been no important improvements in the fire alarm system. Keys for 3 more of the fire alarm boxes were detached recently and placed in nearby stores and residences—a practice that should at once be discontinued.

The extension and partial replacement of the underground distribution with lead sheath cables and the replacement of the existing brush breaks in fire alarm boxes are the improvements most essential to ensure satisfactory reliabiltiy.

Circuit interruptions have been frequent in recent months, more particularly from defective insulation and joints in twisted pair-wring in underground ducts.

STRUCTURAL CONDITIONS.

Due to very weak building ordinances and the consequent lack of effective supervision and control over reasonably safe regulations governing structural and other special hazards, conditions have developed in recent years such that the city is in constant jeopardy of another large spreading fire or conflagration. This is made particularly serious because of the high combustibility and increased congestion in the rag district located in the path of prevailing winds and constituting a severe exposure to generally weak structural conditions prevailing in the adjoining principal mercantile and the more congested residential districts on the south and east. The remedy lies in the rigid enforcemetn of an up-to-date code of building laws and an extension of the fire limits as outlined in recommendations 34, 36 and 37 in the National Board report.

A special meeting of the Board of Aldermen on the evening of June 3rd was called and presided over by Mayor Breath for the purpose of discussing the more urgent improvements outlined above. The heads of the various municipal departments concerned and a number of other interested citizens were also present. Following addresses made by Engineers J. S. Caldwell of the New England Insurance Exchange and J. H. Howland of the National Board, the Mayor stated that it would be the aim and purpose of the city authorities to take early and favorable action on the recommendations submitted and

he thought that at least some of the more urgent needs could be provided for during the present year.

Respectfully submitted,

COMMITTEE ON FIRE PREVENTION

AND ENGINEERING STANDARDS. Sheldon Catlin, Chairman.

W. E. Mallalieu,

General Manager.

Geo. W. Booth,

Chief Engineer.

BULLETIN, Supplement to Report No. 291.

July 9, 1920.

MEDFORD, MASS.

To Members of the National Board of Fire Underwriters:

This city was visited by Engineer J. H. Howland May 28 and 29, 1920, for the purpose of noting any improvements made subsequent to our report of last March and of discussing with the city authorities the recommendations deemed most urgent for early adoption.

CITY IN GENERAL.

The population as printed in the report, was considerably underestimated; the 1920 U. S. Census gives 38,687. This increase reduces the fire loss for 1918 as given in the report approximately $1.00 per capita.

While there are a few steep grades mostly in scattered outlying localities the street grades as a whole are comparatively slight such as to permit of generally quick fire department response.

WATER SUPPLY.

Although the report of March indicated a generally sufficient water supply, in several important districts there was a serious inadequacy; no provisions have, been made to remedy this, the only important improvement contemplated this year being the laying of about 700 feet of 12-inch pipe in partial replacement of 8-inch cement lined pipe in Boston avenue. The recommended reinforcement of the distribution system, together with the complete replacement of the cement lined pipe, should be accomplished within the next 4 or 6 years.

FIRE DEPARTMENT.

None of the fire department recommendations have been complied with. A complete revision of the department rules and regulations will probably be approved and adopted during the present year. Plans for the re-modelling of the Salem street station are under way. Two deluge sets with holders and 4 water-proof covers for each ladder truck have been ordered. The efficiency of the department is seriously impaired due to the undermanning of apparatus, inadequate pumping capacity and an insufficient supply of hose.

FIRE ALARM SYSTEM.

The replacement of a non-standard street box with one of the successive type, reducing to 3 the number of boxes with detached keys, and the installation of a motor generator set to provide duplicate means of charging batteries are the recent improvements made to the fire alarm system. The superintendent reports that most of the troubles that have been experienced recently were due to the existing brush break contacts in boxes; the replacement of these and the extension of the underground distribution are the improvements most needed to ensure a satisfactory measure of reliability.

STRUCTURAL CONDITIONS.

The building laws and structural conditions in general are as given in the report. The early enactment of an up-to-date building code, as outlined in recommendation No. 39 in our report, was emphasized as being of particular importance.

MEETING WITH THE BOARD OF ALDERMEN.

On the afternoon of June 3 a special meeting of the Board of Aldermen, with Mayor Haines presiding, was attended by the heads of the various departments concerned and by Engineers J. S. Caldwell, of the New England Insurance Exchange and J. H. Howland of the National Board. Following a general discussion of the more urgent recommendations, the Mayor and Council gave assurance that an automobile pumping engine and 2,000 feet of hose would be purchased in the very near future, and that the superintendent of wires would at once proceed to replace the unreliable brush break contacts in fire alarm boxes; also towards the latter end of the year they would make an earnest endeavor to carry out the remaining recommendations that were emphasized as most urgent.

Respectfully submitted,

COMMITTEE ON FIRE PREVENTION

AND ENGINEERING STANDARDS.

Sheldon Catlin, Chairman.

W. E. Mallalieu,

General Manager.

Geo. W. Booth,

Chief Engineer.

NATIONAL BOARD OF FIRE UNDERWRITERS

1

NATIONAL BOARD OF FIRE UNDERWRITERS

Committee on Fire Prevention and Engineering Standards 76 William Street, New York, April 17, 1920. WICHITA, KAN.

To Members of the National Board of Fire Underwriters:

In company with the Manager and Engineer of the Kansas Inspection Bureau, this city was visited by Engineer J. H. Howland, March 12 and 13, 1920, for the purpose of noting the more important improvements made subsequent to the supplement of August, 1919, and of discussing with the city officials and other local interests the recommendations deemed most urgent for early adoption.

A conference was held with the City Manager, members of the Fire Prevention Committee of the Chamber of Commerce and others, and interviews were held with the heads of the municipal departments concerned, local insurance interests and officials of the civic bodies and local newspapers.

WATER SUPPLY

The water company is still in litigation with the city with the result that no important water works improvements have been made which have not been previously reported.

The average daily consumption for the year 1919 was 1,059,000 gallons, an increase of nearly 12 per cent, over that of 1918. The maximum day’s pumpage, approximating 8 500,000 gallons, occurred July 13, 1919. Of a total of 11,300 services in use, over 93 per cent, are now equipped with meters.

It was suggested that provision should at once be made for safeguarding the pumping station by the installation of automatic sprinklers heretofore recommended, and for a large increase in the number of hydrants and gate valves, particularly in the more thickly built portions of the city.

FIRE DEPARTMENT

On January 1st of this year, the fire department was reorganized on a two-platoon basis. The total membership is now 70, of which 68, including the two chief officers, are on the active fire-fighting force. This provides on each shift two engine companies of 5 men, one chemical company of 4, and one engine, three hose and two ladder companies of 3 men each. At least 15 additional men are necessary to provide safe manning for the more important companies. The department is still very deficient in company officers, there being but six captains and three lieutenants for eight companies exclusive of the chemical company.

There are now three engine, three hose, (one carrying a 300-gallon booster pump), a chemical and two ladder companies in regular service. Two engine, the chemical, and two ladder companies are at Headquarters. The automobile combination wagon at Headquarters, formerly known as Hose 1, was converted into a double tank chemical engine. At least two 700-gallon triple combination pumping engines should be purchased, one being placed in service as previously recommended in the vicinity of Harrison and Porter Avenues. At present the department is nearly 50 per cent, deficient in the total required pumping capacity.

FIRE ALARM

The situation remains critical as regards the transmission of fire alarms, and the imperative need of a modern fire alarm telegraph system,, as has been recommended since 1911, was brought to the attention of the City Manager at the above mentioned conference. On account of the cost the city authorities oppose covering the entire city with this protection, but it is believed favorable consideration would be given to the installation of a system extending throughout the high value districts. The National Board, at the request of the City Manager, has sent suggested specifications to serve as a guide in considering bids for the installation of this centralized equipment, intallation of which will adequately serve the heart of the city.

STRUCTURAL CONDITIONS

Attention was called to the necessity of amending the building laws, particularly as applying to combustible roof coverings throughout the city on new or repaired roofs. The fire department records show that of the total number of fires thus far occurring in 1920, approximately 65 per cent, were caused by sparks from chimneys igniting wood shingled roofs.

A considerable extension of the fire limits has recently been brought about through action taken by the City Commissioners. The office of the Building Inspector has not been established as recommended. The ordinances regulating explosives and inflammables are still inadequate and there has been no ordinance passed requiring overhead wiring in closely built sections to be placed underground, though in some of the alleys and block interiors, conditions have been somewhat improved.

MOST URGENT RECOMMENDATIONS.—At the various interviews held, the following recommendations were emphasized as being particularly urgent for immediate consideration:

A large increase in the number of hydrants in the closely built portions of the city, more men and increased pumping capacity in the fire department, the installation of a fire alarm telegraph system, at least protecting the high value districts and the prohibition of wood-shingle roofs throughout the city.

Respectfully submitted,

COMMITTEE ON FIRE PREVENTION AND ENGINEERING STANDARDS.

W. E. M ALLA LIEU,

General Manager.

GEO. W. BOOTH,

Chief Engineer.

SHELDON CATLIN,

Chairman.