NECESSITY OF HARMONY.
The question of harmony between firemen and corporate administrations is of vital importance. If harmony does not prevail, negligence of duty will result and our ranks, will be filled with inexperienced men, curtailing or destroying the benefits derivable from a well organized fire department.
Harmony among ourselves begins with the officers. They should work together, stimulating the men by example to do likewise. Discipline is the basis of all good order in any organization and we need just regulations, rigidly enforced to govern. Without discipline harmony is impossible. We can never secure any of the benefits for the purpose for which this association was chartered unless we work harmoniously.
I think fire departments should be controlled by the lawmaking powers of cities, but in no case should this extend to control over membership with relation to appointments. The department itself should be judge of its membership and requirements.
We are striving to so increase the efficiency of every department belonging to this association, that underwriter’s will recognize it and reduce insurance rates. Property owners are more or less burdened with high insurance and we should work together so harmoniously that protection will be accomplished.
This association is yet young. It has much hard work before it, but perseverance will crown our efforts withsuccess. If we want harmony we must keep out of politics. Harmony is impossible when the political complexion of appointive powers changes from one side to another and members of departments are discharged in consequence. Proficiency need not be expected under such circumstances and harmony can never be attained. Numberless cases can be called to mind where political considerations dictated the removal of trained men and caused the appointment of inexperienced ones to fill their places, merely because their political ideas were the same as those of the appointive power.
When our cities are larger and increased departments are necessary, boards of fire commissioners should be elected by the councils to manage the affairs of the departments. They should be bipartisan and should select members regardless of political beliefs. Each member should possess these qualifications, however.
A citizen of the United States and two years a resident of the city, able to read and write, not less than five feet seven inches tall and weigh not less than 140 pounds, or more than 190; good eye sight and good hearing and above all temperate. The public doesn’t care whether a Republican or Democrat saves its buildings from fire; it simply wants them protected.
To secure harmony between municipal governments and departments there should be no disagreement on subjects for the good of the public Recommendations for increased equipment or improved membership by the department itself should be granted by the municipal authorities, if possible. Harmony is impossible when requests are made by the departments and the authorities do nothing.
It rests with us to secure harmony. We must all give and take. Every department in the territory should join this association and contribute its share to the experience fund. If any department is not properly equipped and managed, the association should investigate and make such suggestions for improvement as seem reasonable. Every department should be allowed small compensation for practice. In this way interest will be aroused, and with aroused interest the rest is easy.
It is only necessary to take such action as will bring about this reform and city governments will be compelled to lend assistance and thus increase the efficiency of the departments.
*Read at the Oklahoma Firemen’s Territorial Convention at Guthrie.
A Are in Baltimore, Md„ June 9, did $125,000 worth of damage, and rendered 100 persons homeless. The loss included a planing mill and large quantity of lumber.