PROTECTION FROM FIRE.
In a recent address on the subject of protection from fire, delivered by John R. Waters, an insurance manager, before the Illinois Manufacturers’ association, the speaker treated, among other matters, of the cause of fires; limitation of the spread of fires and of water damages. Leaving out of consideration incendiarism and the forces of Nature, such as lightning, etc., he attributed all destructive fires to carelessness and ignorance. These are more or less universal, and extend to such trifling things as striking matches, and ignorance of the proper way of striking them so as to avoid causing a fire by the breaking off of the head of the match. The same characteristics are observable as to spontaneous combustion and its avoidance, the danger of the electric current, and the risk attending the storage and handling of volatiles and explosives. At least one-fourth of the fires of today are due to the mismanagement of electricity. As to the avoidance of fires: Some of the most important means looking toward this end are as follows: Wire screens at basement windows opening on streets, to prevent the entrance of lighted cigar ends, or matches or cigarettes; metal receptacles, with close metal covers, for the safekeeping of sweepings and rubbish accumulations pending removal; metal-lined rooms or bins for the safekeeping of excelsior, straw, hay, waste paper and other easily inflammable materials; similar selfclosing cans for safeguarding oily waste and other dangerous materials; electric torches for gas-lighting, and safety matches which light only on their boxes; spring top safety cans for holding and using volatiles, such as benzine; metal cuspidors containing water instead of sawdust: safety lanterns of approved design; the shutting-off from the building at night of the gas supply and of the electric current at the dynamo, or where the current enters the building; wire guards or cages on incandescent lamps and gas burners where liable to contact with stock or fixtures; electric light fuses protected in fireproof cabinets, naked fuses not being approved; Edison plug cut-outs and the Noark fuse are specially recommended; spark-arresters on arc lamps: the equipment, with proper safeguards, of electrical apparatus used for heating or pressing, examples of such safeguards being pilot lamps, plug cut-outs, automatic switches, and soapstone bases.
As to the limitation of fires: Sprinklers come first in the estimation of. the speaker. But he laid great stress on slow-burning buildings and on fireproofing, with adequate division walls when the areas are large, and an effective guarding of communications or openings between the various floors and sections. These means are as follows: Double standard automatic fire doors at communications to the different sections or to adjacent risks; sprinklers on outside walls for protection against neighboring fires: wire-glass windows in metal frames; standard tin-clad fire shutters; roof hydrants; supply of fire axes and fire hooks; disuse of decorations of evergreens, tinsel, cotton, etc., in stores or show windows; automatic systems of fire alarm; fire alarm boxes connected directly with public fire department; inside watchmen nights, Sundays and holidays. with stations covering all floors, and hourly rounds to the same, the stations to he connected to an approved watchman’s clock register or with a District Telegraph company’s office; the organisation of employes into private brigades; flooring over of useless or unnecessary holes; trapping or inclos ing of elevator and stair openings; wire screens over roof skylights; dust covers for merchandise, made of fireproof cloth; the raising of goods on skids six inches from the floor so as to allow water to circulate below, especially in basements and cellars; supply of tarpaulin covers for the protection of merchandise from water damage.