Short Cuts and Gadgets

Short Cuts and Gadgets


From William Warren Curling, Portsmouth, Va., comes this “short cut” which ought to make easier the drudgery of fire station “committee work.” He writes:

“Here’s a little idea that I’d like to pass along in case someone else might want to use it. In quite a few different Fire Stations that I’ve visited I’ve noticed metal polish left in hard-to-get-to spots on the brass work. I find that if you polish the brass and wipe it off first and then take hot water and rinse and wipe it dry that it gives a nice polish without polish in the cracks and crevices. This also helps to eliminate any trouble ‘hooking out’ due to polish in threads.”


The value of cut-away and “X-ray” models of fire pumps of different types as an aid in teaching fire pump operation and maintenance has been demonstrated many times. A number of fire colleges and schools possess such demonstrator-models as permanent training equipment.

Charles R. Roever of Hempstead, L. I., would like to see the fire service adopt a sort of “prototype” transparent pump, which would employ transparent covers on all working parts and waterways, by means of which water flow and pump mechanical operations would be visible to the eye. He has worked out his idea diagramatically as shown herein.

Although Mr. Roever’s pump as illustrated herein is a single-stage centrifugal he believes the same idea can be carried out with the two-stage types.

Thus far, our correspondent has gone no further than to reduce his “short cut” to blueprint stage. He writes that if anyone in or allied with the fire service believes the idea has merit he would be glad to attempt to carry the thought further with them, with the possible object of supplying the fire service a line of such “prototype demonstrators.” Mr. Roever’s address is 291 Washington Street, Hemstead, L. I.


Since printing Lieut. J. E. Haley’s gadget (two-position switch) that would operate the horn or siren, in the March issue of FIRE ENGINEERING, a number of replies have been received from our readers. Some of these, while approving the Lieutenant’s idea in principal, disagree with his method of application.

One such reader is Hugh Damon, Assistant Chief of the Baker, Oregon Fire Department. The Chief writes: “Lieut. J. E. Haley’s idea on using the horn button to operate either the horn or siren is basically correct. Technically, however, the wiring diagram is not feasible.”

“A siren” he continues, “to operate at peak efficiency, requires a very heavy current (amperes). The horn wire does not have the capacity to do this job. By using a Ford starting solenoid and heavy wire between the car battery and the siren (as shown in the accompanying diagram, just as the Chief drew it) the above mentioned trouble is eliminated.”

The Chief concludes with a pat on the back for this Journal. “We in the fire service” he says “very much appreciate “‘Short Cuts & Gadgets.’” as we do the entire contents of FIRE ENGINEERING.”


Here’s an old idea submitted by “Old Timer” which may be new to some of the fraternity. He writes: “You may find this handy some time if you have not got a dewatering siphon. It’s good for getting standing water out of a basement. This frequently is necessary after fires where you’ve thrown a lot of water, and can be done when you want to help somebody whose cellar is flooded.

“You take a section of 4 1/2-inch hard suction. One end goes out of the basement window. Tie the nozzle of a 1 1/2inch line so that the tip is two or three inches in the other end of the suction. Then put that end on the cellar floor, below the water line, of course. Turn on the 1 1/2-inch line, and the force of the stream going up the hard suction and out the window will pull the standing water with it.

“It makes it unnecessary to use your pumper to draft the water out of the basement, which is never wise. Such water contains grit, dirt and debris which will do your pump no good at all. With the hookup above you can do the building occupant a favor, without risking your apparatus.”

The Old Timer Says

It’s good practice even if fire doesn’t show, to send in men with axe. claw tool and plaster hook whether booster or larger line is stretched in. Even if only an extinguisher is called for, have forcible entry tools handy.

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