Standardization by Law
The state of Oregon is one of those which have taken official cognizance of the importance of hydrant and hose coupling thread standardization. At the last session of the legislature a law was passed the provisions of which make it unlawful to sell or offer for sale any equipment for fire protection purposes which is not furnished “with the standard thread for fire hose couplings and hydrant fittings designated as the standard, as adopted by the National Board of Fire Underwriters, and designated as the standard for such equipment in the State of Oregon.”
This law is an important precedent and blazes the way for other states which have no such provisions to follow. In most of the states, while standardization has gone forward by individual effort, it has been discretionary with the cities, but Oregon, by the passage of this law, has made the adoption of the thread standard compulsory and has caused the use of such couplings on all new equipment to be mandatory.
A great work in the standardization of threads has already been accomplished in many parts of the country, both through the purchase of new equipment and through the conversion of the old by underwriters’ organizations by the means of specially designed standardization tools. But there is still a vast work to be done in this respect and any legal provision that will hasten it will be welcomed by those who realize the dangers that lie in irregular hose coupling threads. And this applies to the manufacturers as well as the purchasers. Naturally the makers must be guided by the demand in supplying couplings of any particular thread and if the municipalities ask for irregular sizes these must be forthcoming. But probably none would welcome standardization in this respect more than these same manufacturers.
Many city authorities hesitate to adopt the standard thread on couplings until a big fire comes along and an appeal is made to the surrounding fire departments to assist. With the outside companies willing and eager to help and yet standing idly by because this assistance cannot be rendered owing to the fact that their apparatus, with different sized threads, cannot couple up, the authorities are taught an object lesson that few fail to heed. It is, nevertheless, too bad that this lesson must sometimes be enforced in so drastic a way to be heeded.
In the meantime, the Oregon law will do much to push along the work of standardization of hose coupling threads and fire chiefs of cities in states the legislatures of which have not taken such action will find a good talking point in the Oregon law when urging their representatives to act in the matter.