Seattle Two Platoon Criticised

Seattle Two Platoon Criticised

The city of Seattle, Wash., several months ago adopted the two-platoon system for its fire department, and while it seems to have worked satisfactorily so far as we know, there are those in the department who see its defects and are not afraid to put their criticisms in print. Following is a communication written to one of the Seattle newspapers by a member of the fire department:

“The anonymous communication on the ‘twoplatoon’ in the lire department, published in your Thursday issue, is so pointedly full of exaggeration and misrepresentation, that you should publish another in which the facts and figures may be checked from the records, if this be true, names do not matter. Truth should count more than bluster and maudlin sentimentality. The running books of the old fire department system show that whenever a bad fire like Schwabacher’s, broke out. there was full provision for covering the other parts of the city. The names on the roll prove that if the fire in the paper factory at Eastlake and Galer lately had been a year ago, just as many firemen would have worked on it. There were no explosions to ‘dodge.’ The fire itself was over within three hours, although a detail of firemen had to work there several days, turning over the piles of papers. Hence the fresh force at 6 p. m. made no difference with the loss or the danger. That detail could have been made much more easily from the old system and would not nave crippled the companies so much. Ask your correspondent to write again and tell of the political scheming involved in the two-platoon and the weakening of authority. Let him explain the demoralization that caused the loss of the Eckman furniture factory at Stone avenue bridge, and which allowed the fire at Moran’s last Saturday to spread into the adjoining mill. Let us hear from him why the fire loss for the portion of this year that we have had the twoplatoon in operation is greater than for any like period in the city’s history, excepting only 1889. the year of the great fire. Where is this increased efficiency we hear so much about? Since Mayor Miller’s administration the fire department has grown from 226 men to 515. The ever reliable school census says that in trie same time our population has increased less than 20,000. The first hundred or so of these additional firemen were simply put on because they were good Gill men when the civil service was doing politics. The actual number due to the two-platoon was 154. Speaking of efficiency, docs anyone realize that these 154 additional men, put on under the old system, would have formed 18 engine companies of eight men each, or 30 more hose companies of six men each. Flow much more protection would we have at any of our large fires with 18 more engine companies, each with its engine and hose cart. Think of the difference in the safety of the workingmen’s homes in West Seattle, the Rainier valley and other suburbs with 30 more hose companies scattered about.” “VICTIM.”

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