ONE RESULT OF THE WAR.
The great world war, through which this nation, in company with those of any size in Europe, has just passed, has revolutionized many systems and changed the methods of procedure in innumerable instances. Perhaps no class has felt this change more than those who have been identified with the science of fire prevention. This result is a quite natural sequence of the conditions which have prevailed during the past four years and especially resulting from the problems which have arisen during the year and a half since America’s entrance into the great struggle. Heretofore, the difference between the viewpoint of the new world and the old was extreme. We were distinctly a nation of money-makers; the peoples of Europe, on the other hand, were money savers. We were nationally wasters, they, savers. Evidence of this was made to spend, theirs to save. Evidence of this contrast was to be seen in the methods of building construction, and in the maintenance, after construction. Our flimsy frame structures, built carelessly and with the principal idea of time saving and with comparatively little thought of the fire risk, in their erection, showed this same careless disregard of future events; if the buildings burned down, why—we were insured. The insurance company, not we, would bear the burden. But the war, and the necessities arising from it have changed much of this. It became absolutely essential that the foodstuffs and munitions intended for the use of our armed forces be properly protected, in their manufacture, while in storage, and in transit. There must be no slip-shod methods here, no uncertainty. It was not a question of monetary loss, so much as the loss to the efficiency of the troops that every tire would entail. So from this point the attitude of the individual almost unconsciously changed to correspond with that of the Government—a subtle leaven was at work, and the result has now become apparent in the almost universal interest in fire prevention that has developed within a very short period. Clean-up days and weeks—unheard of things in America before—have become common occurrences in our municipalities. Fourminute men have devoted their time to the cause of fire conservation. State fire marshals and chiefs of departments have made house-to-house inspections or have detailed their subordinates to do this work. And the people themselves have, as a general rule, risen to the occasion and given these movements their hearty support. That the result of this change of attitude toward fire loss and fire prevention is bound to have a beneficial result and cause the reproach that has been so often held up to us that America is the most careless nation in the world to be a thing of the past, seems certain.