Nebraska’s Practical State Fire Commissioner
C. A. Randall, State fire commissioner of Nebraska, and J. Buck, State fire inspector, were recently invited by the Wymore fire department to investigate conditions in that city regarding the prevention of fires. The fire marshal embraced the opportunity to speak on the subject to the high school pupils and his remarks were received with the greatest attention, so much so that he stated afterwards that if he could only enthuse the parents to the same extent as he had the children, there would be fewer disastrous fires in the town. He spoke again in public at the Armory, but his audience was small. In the course of his address he criticized the school board severely for indulging in the unsanitary and dangerous practise of oiling instead of waxing the floors of the rooms, and pointed out that if a fire should occur it would spread much more quickly on a grease and oilsoaked floor. He also explained the workings of kerosene lamps and the proper methods of handling kerosene and gasoline. He commented on the conditions pertaining in Wymore with paper littering the streets and ashes being thrown into the alleys and public ways. Commissioner Randall likewise quoted figures to show the work of the fire departments of the State. Out of the $28,000,000 worth of property jeopardized by fire in Nebraska last year $25,000,000 was saved through the efforts of the fire-fighting men. He added that most towns and cities do not appreciate the efforts of the firemen and take it as a matter of course when they do succeed in saving property. He complained because most places do not have sufficient apparatus or buildings to house it. He strongly urged that delegations should be sent to all State conventions in order that all firemen and all interested in fire prevention and fire protection may be posted and kept posted on all up-to-date methods and apparatus, or the city municipality should pay all the expenses thus incurred.
Seventy-one buildings were examined in the town by Inspector Buck and as a whole they were in exceptionally good condition. Commissioner Randall expects to be retired at the coming in of the new administration, but he feels that he has accomplished something in educating the citizens of the State to a sense of responsibility in preventing fires. He has used the pulpit, press and mails without fear or favor in preaching fire prevention.