Not Well to Have Too Many Officers
Another disadvantage of a volunteer company is that there are too many officers. It is a common occurrence at a fire to hear “Hey! Hit her here!” and then another voice, “Hit her there!” The consequence is that the men begin to pull in opposite directions or in other words have a tug of war between themselves with the fire still reaching for the sky. Take on the other hand the experienced chief and company: the chief has his plans of attack well in hand and issues his orders and his trained men do not question his orders but obey them. The inexperienced man thinks the chief mistaken and immediately uses his own judgment, never mindful of the result. The whole secret of success hinges on organization, drill and experience.
Another disadvantage to our volunteer departments is that usually the chief officer is appointed or elected by the members. He draws no pay practically from the city and must devote his time in other channels for his livelihood, consequently cannot give his department the time that it should receive for its betterment. The same applies to the volunteer members; they must earn their support in other occupations therefore cannot devote the time that is necessary for the making of a proficient fire department.
(From a paper read before the convention of the California Fire Chiefs’ Club, at Catalina, Cal.)