NEW YORK STATE FIRE CHIEFS HOLD MID-WINTER MEETING AT MT. VERNON
Training of Volunteers, Good Versus Bad Legislation, Compensation of Volunteers in Service and Other Topics Discussed
THE mid-winter meeting of the New York State Association of Fire Chiefs was held at the City Hall, Mount Vernon, N. Y., at 10 a.m., on Wednesday, March 11, with about 45 Chiefs present from all parts of the state. The meeting was opened by Chief Edward W. Gieselman, Syracuse, Second Vice-President of the association, in the absence of Chief Fleming, Albany, President. The members were welcomed by Mayor Denton Pearsall, Fire Commissioner William Hallihan and Chief John Gibson, of Mount Vernon.
A letter was read from Chief McElligott, of New York, regretting his enforced absence and thanking the association for the work done in helping the passage of the act of the New York Legislature giving back to the New York Fire Department authority over the Division of Public Assembly and the Bureau of Combustibles. Chief Chambers, Yonkers, also spoke, on this subject.
Advisory Committee on Fire Training
The Chair then called on Albert H. Hall, Assistant Secretary of the Mayors’ Conference, who outlined plans of the association’s Advisory Committee on Fire Training, He said that it was hoped to hold a school for fire zone instructors. A meeting is to he held soon to formulate plans. The zone instructors will be enabled to use the Albany fire tower and will be quartered with the Albany Fire Department, so that the expenses incident to the school will be slight.
Mr. Hall said that copies of the Lectures on Evolutions furnished by the association had been requested from all parts of the United States and Canada, besides England and other foreign countries. It is hoped to revise and publish a new set of lectures on evolutions. It had been proposed to enact a law providing for a compulsory system of zone training. The state Civil Service Commission was in favor of the plan, but a difficulty was that there is no board so constituted that it could take charge of such a system.
A Dangerous Piece of Legislation
Mr. Hall called attention to a bill before the Legislature to limit taxation of real estate to 1 1/2 per cent of the assessed valuation of the municipality. He pointed out that this hill, if it became law, would greatly reduce the appropriation possible for fire and police protection, would mean the limitation of all Fire Departments, dismissal of men, reduction of improvements and elimination of proper fire protection. He said that no sane bond house would handle city bonds under such a system and that all municipal advancement would be stopped.
President Fleming, Mr. Hall announced, is to send a letter to every Chief in the state asking that he communicate at once with his local Senator and Assemblyman, asking him to vote against this legislation.
It was moved and carried that the association go on record as opposed to this bill.
Discussion on Volunteer Chiefs
Chief John J. Brennan, Pelham Manor, suggested that a topic for the next annual convention at Kingston be “The Volunteer Chief.” There was considerable discussion on this subject. Chief Chambers thought that often the subject of papers were apt to be over the heads of many of the Chiefs. Chief Gates, Glenns Falls, believed that paid Chiefs should rub shoulders with those from volunteer departments. He thought that it would be better for volunteer Chiefs to serve at least two or three years at the head of the department, rather than only one year.
Chief Drake, Secretary of the MidHudson-Harlem Valley Fire Chiefs Association, spoke of the advantages of meetings and conventions to the small town Chief. It was finally moved that the subject of “The Volunteer Chief” he incorporated in the program of the next convention. Carried.
The morning session then adjourned for luncheon at the Mount Vernon Turn-Verein, by courtesy of the Mount Vernon Fire Department.
Study in Evolutions
At the opening of the afternoon session at the City Hall, a rising vote of thanks was tendered to the Mayor, Fire Commissioner and Chief Gibson for the excellent luncheon provided.
Secretary Chris Noll read a series of evolutions formulated by the Syracuse Fire Department. Chief Grabb. New Rochelle, was welcomed by the Chair and congratulated on his complete recovery from his recent illness.
Bill to Appoint Fire Commissioners Opposed
Judge Hoop, Bronxville, read a bill before the legislature, providing for the appointment of the members of the Eastchester Township Board of Fire Commissioners, which are now elected, He pointed out that the association should oppose the passage of this bill, as if one such law should be enacted, others of similar import would follow.
The Legislative Committee was instructed to oppose the bill.
Chief Chambers called attention to a bill which provides that municipalities are to be made responsible for accidents happening to drivers of fire apparatus, when in performance of their duty. Judge Hoop read the bill and it was endorsed by the association.
Compensation ot Volunteers for Services
There was further discussion of compulsory education of volunteers. The plan was opposed by Chief Drake, who also believed that the volunteer firemen should be given some inducement to attend drills and fires. Chief Brennan opposed the idea of compulsory education of volunteers. Fie did not see why volunteers should not be compensated for work performed. In his village of 5,000 people a firemen’s lund of $3,200 had been raised the first year it was proposed and continued each year. This had enabled the compensation of the men for every fire and drill attended. The plan had been a great success. Deputy Chief Eggleston suggested a state fund set aside for the entertainment of volunteer firemen. Others discussed the subject.
The I. A. F. C. Directors’ Meeting
Former Chief Mulcahey, Secretary-Treasurer of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, gave an account of the recent meeting of the Board of Directors of the association, and the work accomplished by that body.