Salvage Corps Chief Organizes School For Volunteer Firemen
Maryland Volunteers Are Invited to Attend School in Fire Prevention, Fire Fighting, Salvage, Etc., and Many Do So—School to be Continued
A UNIQUE type of Fire School, and one that it is believed, is the only one of its kind in the country, has been conducted by Chief Edward H. Warr, of the Baltimore, Md., Fire Insurance Salvage Corps. The school which was attended exclusively by volunteer firemen from all of the counties of the state of Maryland, began on September 11, 1930 and held its graduation exercises on April 12, 1931. The pupils of this school were given a complete course of instruction in the school of fire prevention, fire inspection, modern methods in fire fighting, salvage operations, care and maintenance of sprinkler systems, alarm systems, watchman service, advanced course in first aid and arson investigation.
The history of the school and its formation as told in the words of Chief Warr, gives a very clear idea of its purposes and aims. Chief Warr said:
“For a long time, I was seriously concerned about the lack of co-operation among the volunteer firemen and the failure of making the proper fire prevention inspection. The inspectors appeared to be without the necessary knowledge for making a strict and conscientious fire prevention inspection. They did not appear to know what they were doing or how to weigh the importance of the conditions which they found on the premises. They seemed to be unable to impress the owner or occupant of the property that the recommendations the inspector made for relieving the fire hazard was for the good of said owner or occupant and not through any motive on the part of the person making the inspection to inflict a hardship on anyone. The fact these investigations were made to protect life and property appeared to be lost entirely. Another bad feature which I found existing in a number of cases was the action of the inspector in letting up on his friends and shutting his eyes to hazards which existed on the property.
“All this set me to thinking as to what would be the best method to improve such a situation. After a number of conferences with parties who are interested in a fire prevention. fire fighting and salvage operation it was decided to start a six-months school of instruction. Late in the summer of last year, letters were sent out to all the volunteer fire companies in the State. The first session of the school was held on the evening of September 11, 1930. There were fifty-six members of volunteer companies in attendance. They came from Hagerstown, Frederick, Elkton, Mt. Rainer, Annapolis and many other towns of the State. They all appeared hungry for knowledge of the subjects included in the course.”
From the start the class began to increase in numbers until it had one hundred and ninety-six members. Those who started late, by close application made up all of their studies and were eligible for graduation with the others of the class.
The last lecture of the course was given on April 9 and the graduation exercises were held on April 12. Each successful student has been awarded a diploma stating he had satisfactorily completed the course of instructions at the school on fire prevention, fire inspections, modern methods of fire fighting, salvage operations, care and maintenance of sprinkler systems, alarm systems, watchman service, advanced course in first aid and arson investigation.
All of the twenty-six lectures with the exception of the last one were given by Chief Warr. The last one, on first aid. was given by A. Burton Metzger, Chief Director of Health and Safety of the Western Electric Company at Point Breeze, Baltimore.
Upon many occasions Chief Warr has secured the services of experts on the subject of the lecture of the evening and these authorities have delivered a half-hour address on some outstanding phase of the subject.
“After a number of conferences with parties interested in fire prevention, fire fighting and salvage operation it was decided to start a six months school of instruction. Late in the summer of last year letters were sent out to all the volunteer companies in the state. At the first session of the school there were fifty-six members of volunteer companies in attendance. They all appeared hungry for knowledge of the subjects included in the course.”—Chief Warr.
At the conclusion of each lecture the members of the class were given twenty questions on the subject discussed and they were expected to answer these and turn in their papers at the next lecture if they hoped to remain in good standing in the class.
Owing to the success of the undertaking, Chief Warr has decided to make this a permanent organization. He has also decided to add an advanced course next season for those who graduate this spring and who are desirous of continuing their studies. The 1931-1932 course will open early next September.
The subjects of the twenty-six lectures given during the 1930-1931 course are:
- Requirements of an efficient officer.
- Fire hazards regarding pyroxylin, lacquer and oils.
- Manufacture, care and storage of films.
- Installation, care and maintenance of refrigerating systems.
- Lightning protection and electrical wiring.
- Handling of wools, petroleum and their products.
- Lumber yards and saw mills.
- Paper box manufacturing and waste paper plants.
- Textile manufacturing,
- Fibre, rope and cord manufacturing.
- Chemicals, acids and fertilizers.
- Fire extinguishers, care and maintenance.
- Coal, water, acetylene and carbide gases.
- Candy factories and sugar refineries.
- Meat packing and rendering and bakeries.
- Domestic hazards.
- Dust explosions.
- Laundries and dry cleaning establishments.
- Paint and varnish manufacturing.
- Soap making.
- Salvage operations.
- Automatic fire alarm, sprinkler and standpipe systems.
- Duties of a watchman.
- Fire college evolution.
- Incendiary fires, arson and investigations.
- Advanced course in first aid.
This school has no connection with fire school of the Baltimore City Lire Department located at Edmondson Avenue and Bcntalou Street, where the members of the city department are given regular training in practical fire drills. This latter named school was the second to be established in the United States having been preceded by a similar school in New York City.
Born in Baltimore on July 7, 1887, Chief Warr received his education in the public schools of this city. After following the trade of iron molder for several years he entered the Fire Department as a substitute on February 7, 1912 and was assignd to No. 15 Truck Company. He was made probationer on July 19, 1912, and sent to No. 1 Truck Company. On August 18, 1912. he was made a regular fireman and assigned to No. 6 Truck Company. He was transferred back to No. 1 Truck Company on December 24, 1912 and was reassigned to No. 6 Truck Company on November 24. 1919. When he was promoted to the grade of lieutenant on January 1, 1920, he was assigned to No. 19 TruckCompany. On June 5, 1922, he was promoted to the grade of captain and placed in command of No. 45 Engine Company. He was again sent to command No. 6 Truck Company on September 1, 1922, and in July 1924 he was designated as an acting batallion chief.
After considerable persuasion by the members of the Board of Managers of the Fire Insurance Salvage Corps, Chief Warr accepted the position of commanding officer of that organization on January 15, 1927, succeeding the late Malcolm Jordan.
Since he took charge Chief Warr has reorganized the department. He now has four companies operating under his direction. No. 1 at 27 North Liberty Street: No. 2, Broadway near Baltimore Street; No. 3. Gold and Brunt Streets; No. 5. 27 North Liberty Street. Plans are now being completed for the establishment of No. 4 in the northern suburbs, at some point convenient to Guilford, Homeland and Roland Park. In September 1927 a shop was equipped adjoining the quarters at Gold and Brunt Streets, where the repair work on the apparatus of the corps is being done.