NEWS OF THE TWO PLATOON SYSTEM

NEWS OF THE TWO PLATOON SYSTEM

The accompanying diagram, issued by the Brockton, Mass., fire department, gives a clear and concise idea of the workings of the two-platoon system. It designates the time each platoon is on duty, and also the time off. On the first two days the first platoon is on duty from 8 a. m. to 6 p. m., while the second platoon, or opposite shift, is on duty from 6 p. m. to 8 a. m. On the third day the first platoon, instead ot going off at 6 p. m., continues on duty until 8 a. m. the following day, thereby’ allowing the second platoon twentyfour hours off duty and changing the night shift to day shift and vice versa. The second platoon is now on duty each day from 8 a. m. to 6 p. m. and continues so until the sixth day, when by working twenty-four hours it allows the first platoon the same amount of time off duty and brings the shifts as they were at the start. This allows each platoon one day off in every six, and each is on duty the same length of time. In referring to the diagram the department says: “The two-platoon system may seem like a radical departure, but it is no more so than the change from volunteer to paid, and from paid to permanent force. Or from horse-drawn to motor-driven apparatus and from steam engines to gasoline pumps, all of which has increased the efficiency many fold. It is not an experiment and has proved a success in the many cities that have adopted it. There has always been a cry for more leaves of absence, which has been met from time to time, with increase in number of days off and extra leaves of absence until we have arrived at a point where a more scientific and humane adjustment of the fireman’s time off is absolutely necessary. The department to-day is lacking in available man power, and at a time when it should be at the highest possible state of efficiency’. It is hard to get good men to take the entrance examinations, owing to the better hours of labor in all other fields of employment.”

Two-Platoon Descriptive Diagram Issued by Brockton Department.

Portland, Ore., decided to put the twoplatoon system into effect on September 10, subject to the approval of the voters, who will pass upon its final adoption at the November election. The people have twice rejected the proposition to put the fire department under the double system, once some time ago by a large majority, and last May again, but by a very small vote. It is felt that the system is now better understood and that at the next election the voters will endorse the action of the council. Every member of the council voted in favor of the change.

Cicero, Ill., ras recently placed its firemen on the two-platoon basis, with good results.

Forty-eight men have been added to the department in Memphis. Tenn., and the two-platoon system is now fully installed.

As soon as 150 additional men have been recruited the two-platoon system will be put into operation at Washington, D. C. In preparation for the installation of the system, the District Commissioners on September 0 ordered certain changes in the organization of the department, involving several promotions. Philip W. Nicholson, who has been in the service since 1883, was promoted to the position of deputy chief engineer from his present place as fire marshal. George S. Watson, chief clerk of the department, succeeds to the office of marshal, and Edward R. Pierce, clerk, to the office of chief clerk. Four new battalion chiefs were appointed. To succeed these, three lieutenants were promoted to be captains, three sergeants to be lieutenants, and three privates of the second class to be sergeants. Class two men receive $1,200 a year and class one $1,080. The War Department has authorized the use of limited service drafted men for District police and fire departments, ami the force will be recruited up to double-platoon strength from this source. It will probably be some time before the full number can be secured.

The Oak Park, Ill., firemen have asked for the adoption of two platoons, claiming that not only is it just and humane to allow the members of the department to see their families periodically, but that the system will work for the betterment of the department.

Members of the Fort Dodge, Ark., fire department have petitioned the city council to change the department to the twoplatoon system. They claim that the addition of three men, and the alteration of the shift from 24 to 12 hours will add very little to the expense of the department’s maintenance. It is said the fire commissioners favor the change.

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