State Aids Massachusetts Chiefs
Fire Departments in Massachusetts are afforded the facilities of many state departments in apprehending arsonists, or carrying on fire prevention work. These were described briefly by Eugene M. McSweeney. Public Safety Commissioner, in a talk given at the May meeting of the Fire Chiefs’ Club in Boston. He said:
“The days of the bucket brigade and hand tubs are now only a memory. We can no longer be satisfied with brawn, courage or initiative. We must more and more rely upon science, which the skill of engineers and the genius of science have made available to us.
“Keeping pace with the times and endeavoring to be at least one jump ahead of the criminal, the Department of Public Safety maintains a modern laboratory, and. it is the resources of this division of our department that I am happy to place at your disposal. If the Chemical Laboratory can assist you in determining whether or not certain liquids, compounds or other materials are hazardous, you are welcome to use the laboratory to have such articles analyzed. Merely contact the Fire Marshal’s Office and the complete service of the laboratory will be afforded you.
“In line with laboratory work, there is also a Bureau of Photography, which is maintained on a 24-hour-a-day basis. If you have a suspicious fire where setups or other evidence of incendiarism is discovered. contact the inspector on the district at once and a photographer will report to the scene immediately. There are several expert photographers in this bureau who are available at all times. Also, if you should have an exceptionally hazardous condition existing on a certain premise, it will be possible for this department to supply a photographer to take pictures of this condition with a view to aiding you either in prosecuting for some violation of a law or regulation or at least, that the photograph may bring about an abatement of the hazard.
“Radio is now an essential feature of Police and Fire Department service, and can be utilized in many ways. The Department of Public Safety has, in addition to its several broadcasting stations, a mobile transmitting and receiving station, which could be of service to Fire Departments, in event of the fire alarm or telephone service being disrupted by fire, flood, or other disasters. If your communication systems should go out in any manner, call on this Department for the services of our Mobile Station. This Mobile Station has been used on many occasions, and you Fire Chiefs can rest assured that it will be at your disposal, should the emergency arise.
“There are also many other facilities of this department which are at your disposal, such as the Building and Boiler Inspection Division, and others which specialize in technical phases of fire prevention and safety.
“According to the annual report of the State Fire Marshal, there was a decrease of $375,802.72 in the amount of loss for 1937 as compared with the preceding year. There were less dwelling house fires, involving a property loss of $90,555.98 less than the previous year. The decrease in the amount of loss certainly should be gratifying to all of us.
“We know your problems and your work and you know ours. We are working together for the common good, to protect life and property.”