Rural Fire Prevention Association Suggested
FIRE PREVENTION SECTION
“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
CLARKE A. RICHARDS
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.
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.
- Offer of assistance in educational campaign of county agricultural agents.
- Preparation of charts and lantern slides to be loaned to county agents gratis and also to other educational institutions, farmers’ organizations, etc.
- Publishing of bulletins, etc., telling how other educational campaigns have been conducted.
- 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).
- By encouraging farmers to write up their own individual experiences with fire and lightning.
- When feasible, to maintain fair exhibits.
- Co-operate with engineering and agricultural experiment stations.
- 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.”)
- Co-operate with county agents in securing stories of local rural preventable fire losses and photos of same.
- Make maps of states showing locations of rural fire protection campaigns, associations, rural fire engines, etc.
- Act in research capacity the same as any large advertising agency.
- Advertise as an organization; offering help locally.
- Make compendium of questions frequently asked of county agents and send these and answers to county agents.
- 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.
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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.