Rural Fire Prevention Association Suggested

Rural Fire Prevention Association Suggested


“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”

NOTE:—Communications for this department are solicited from Chiefs and all others interested in the subject.—Editor.)

An Organization Fostered by Manufacturers to Help the Farmers in This Important Particular—The Broad Agricultural Field—Suggested Plan of Action—Cost and Results


North Vernon, Ind.

County Agricultural Agent

(Continued from page 889)

Through their organization, the gypsum manufacturers are beginning to conduct an intensive campaign for the agricultural use of their goods. Up to the present time, according to the best information at hand, none of our farmers in this county had ever given a thought about the benefits of such a use for gypsum. But this year, there will be considerable of it used, skeptically, in a cautious way to be sure; but nevertheless, it will be used to a limited degree. The manufacturers’ point is, however, that if it makes good the association’s claims, more will be used each succeeding year. The credit for the start must be given the educational endeavor of the gypsum manufacturer’s association.

The same can be true of fire prevention. Farmers of this county, due to our recent campaign, are at present thinking more about fire prevention than about the use of gypsum. But the gypsum organization, with their strong educational campaign, is producing a definite demand for their material that local dealers are quick to note and take advantage of.

Farmers’ Organizations

There is a broad agricultural field. In this state, of the ninety-two counties, as high as in the eighties have had county agricultural agents. An equal number belongs to the state farm bureau—numberless local Granges, Gleaners, Farmer’s Unions, and other organizations, many of whom buy co-operatively, all of whom welcome your co-operation as an educational association.

Well can the increasing farm fire hazard be impressed upon them. They are realizing that—with the introduction annually in each farm community of scores of new automobiles, electric and gas lighting plants; with accompanying gasoline, acetylene, oil, and other dangerous materials in storage—fires are becoming more common. More and more easily is the feasibility of community fire fighting appliances impressed upon them because of improved conditions of country roads and telephone service. The increasing use of lighting rods is evidence of their growing popularity as a form of fire protection.

Suggested plan of Action

Except in a local way, fire prevention has been of little interest to the average county agent, but it appears that if the manufacturers of fire preventive appliances suitable for farm use and underwriters covering rural risks already have a national fire prevention association of some kind, they should immediately appoint an educational committee for farm fire fighting, and in case no such organization exists, that one be organized to work along the following plan:

All interested fire appliance companies and insurance companies should be invited to co-operate with the organization. Together with an educational advertising campaign, articles should be written for farm journals. Especially should the co-operation of the rural fire chief be solicited in urging a farmer who has had a big fire loss to write the story up and send it to a farm journal. Much more effective, indeed, is the story told in the farmer’s own words and manner than that written by another. This organization can furnish suggestions and helps for such stories.

The greatest educational campaign, however, can be carried on by appointing a promotional manager to personally solicit the aid and co-operation of the various state leaders of county agricultural agents and thereby secure their sanction for the county agents taking part in an intensive educational campaign for better fire protection on the farm.

Such a promotional campaign can be put over by whichever of the following methods seem most feasible.

  1. Offer of assistance in educational campaign of county agricultural agents.
  2. Preparation of charts and lantern slides to be loaned to county agents gratis and also to other educational institutions, farmers’ organizations, etc.
  3. Publishing of bulletins, etc., telling how other educational campaigns have been conducted.
  4. Maintaining question and answer department in farm journals and newspapers. (Note: It is surprising the number of farmers who do not know what a chemical extinguisher is, who have never seen one, and who absolutely are from Missouri in not beleving such a thing possible).
  5. By encouraging farmers to write up their own individual experiences with fire and lightning.
  6. When feasible, to maintain fair exhibits.
  7. Co-operate with engineering and agricultural experiment stations.
  8. Provide metal fence signs to the effect that the resident on this farm is the owner of some form of fire preventive equipment. (Note: On your next trip in the country, witness the number of such signs on the fences in front of farm dwellings announcing to the world in general that “I use such and such a cream separator or brand of fence wire.”)
  9. Co-operate with county agents in securing stories of local rural preventable fire losses and photos of same.
  10. Make maps of states showing locations of rural fire protection campaigns, associations, rural fire engines, etc.
  11. Act in research capacity the same as any large advertising agency.
  12. Advertise as an organization; offering help locally.
  13. Make compendium of questions frequently asked of county agents and send these and answers to county agents.
  14. Co-operate with state fire marshals in all work regarding rural problems.

Cost and Results

The cost of maintaining such an organization would be but a small per cent. of the annual advertising budgets of most of the larger manufacturers. Associations named in this article are glad to co-operate in telling how their organizations have been perfected, how their employees have been picked, and about their general policies and successes.

(Continued on page 937)

Rural Fire Prevention Association

(Continued from page 929)

County agricultural agents realize that one or two fires in a community may endanger the effectiveness of several of their projects on which they have given a large share of their time for probably two or three years; none are more ready and willing to help in this big, splendid piece of work.

Rural Fire Prevention Association Suggested

Rural Fire Prevention Association Suggested


“An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure”

NOTE:—Communications for this department are solicited from Chiefs and all others interested in the subject Editor.)

Great Opportunity to Organize Work in Fire Prevention Among Farmers—As a Class They Are Careless in Such Matters—Large Field for Educational Work in This Regard

AS a county agricultural agent views it, one of the things which has seemed most neglected is fire prevention and protection on the average farm. This is the one phase of work along educational lines that is not receiving proper attention, better expressed by saying no attention.

It appears that there is an excellent opportunity open to manufacturers of chemical fire extinguishers, fire appliances, chemical fire extinguishers mounted on light motor chasses, lightning rods, warning sirens, and also fire underwriters interested in rural risks, etc., to get together and form a rural fire prevention association.


In many of the fire prevention journals lately there is very little reading matter regarding fire prevention on the farm. Scattering articles are noted—usually written by a fire chief in respect to local fire protection—but very little along broad, promotional endeavors—the kinds that will soon produce a big demand for better protection—the kind that will call attention to the fact that the farmer is much behind his city brother in this respect—the kind that will prove to the farmer that his wife, his daughters, and his small children are in constant fire danger when the men are all at work in some distant field.

The farm journals occasionally carry an advertisement for a chemical fire extinguisher manufacturer, and seldom indeed is a strong article on rural fire prevention given space. The result is that the farmer, a procrastinator at the best of times, is being lulled by a false security, only too often costly in the extreme. Somebody must take the initiative in waking him up.

The County Agricultural Agent

How many fire extinguisher manufacturers are acquainted with their very good friends, the county agricultural agents? In the first place, what is a county agricultural agent? Several years ago, congress authorized the appointment of these men in all the states, with certain restrictions regarding local expenses, etc. The men are at present the servants of the farmers of the counties in which they are employed—estimated at nine tenths of all the. counties in the United States.

The Farm Bureau is the local unit of organized farmers. The county agents co-operate along educational lines with the farm bureaus. When the local farm bureau of this county decided to put on an educational campaign for better fire protection, the county agent was instructed to get in touch with various companies producing means of fire prevention and protection. This was accomplished through the splendid co-operation of fire prevention journals. The result of the campaign has been the sale of numerous chemical fire extinguishers with sentiment now strongly favoring purchase of a light automobile outfit.

But, with better co-operation from the manufacturers of these articles, the campaign would have produced much greater and lasting results. Inasmuch as there are about six thousand county agricultural agents in the United States ready and willing, in fact up on their toes, to help accomplish anything for the good of their patrons in the local community, equipped with the office help and machinery for conducting a good, educational campaign, an not the manufacturers overlooking a wonderful bet?

Promotional Organizations

Numerous offers were received at this office during our campaign to act as local representative for various companies. This was impossible under the strict federal restrictions and regulations under which county agricultural agents work. It appeared difficult to impress upon the manufacturers that the function of the county agricultural agent is educational and not commercial. These regulations are unusually strict regarding the relations between a county agricultural agent and commercial concerns. He is forbidden to show any favoritism; all must be treated alike. But because, on the other hand, he is frequently urged to co-operate with and has free rein over his relations with a promotional organization of these same manufacuurers, they are advised to put across their promotional work as an association instead of as individuals.

Other advantages of modern organization of manufacturers is seen in the co-operative advertising, frequently in farm journals, of paint and varnish manufacturers, furnace manufacturers, cooperage companies, canners’ associations, ball bearing companies, feed manufacturers, magneto manufacturers, wood wheel manufacturers, and various association sponsors of breeds of livestock.

Manufacturers of fertilizers work with the county agent through their soil improvement committee of the National Fertilizer Association, but not as individual concerns. In the same manner, the International Harvester Company, in establishing its co-operation with county agents—and it is excellent and highly esteemed—does not function through its sales department, but through its agricultural extension department, under the charge of an ex-agriculturist of a state institution. The same is true with packers and numerous other concerns whose business gives them close relations with the farmer, including tile manufacturers, silo manufacturers (who co-operated in the greatest campaign ever put over in this state), cement manufacturers, lumber dealers, nitrate agencies, gypsum industries, and many others.

(To be continued)