Telegraphic Sprinkler Control in Great Establishment
Fire Prevention and Fire Fighting System of Wilson & Co., Packers, Chicago—Efficiency of Fire Department—Automatic Control by Wire of Sprinkler System
CHIEF A. VOLQUARDSEN
Wilson & Co., Chicago. Ill.
THE fire prevention and fire fighting system of Wilson & Co., Chicago, Ill., which, as you know, is one of the greatest packing and provision houses in the United States, we consider about as near perfect as it can be made by human ingenuity, skill and supervision. The following description will give some idea how carefully planned and executed are these precautionary methods.
Fire Fighting Facilities
We have six reels with from 300 to 400 feet of 2 1/2-inch double jacket hose on each. We have 152 connections with hose valve and from 50 to 200 feet on 2 1/2-inch fire hose on each fl♥oor and roof of buildings and ax with each line of hose and 2 1/2 and 6 gallon chemicals, barrels and pails on each floor throughout the plant. There are two fire alarm registers in the fire hall—one for sprinkler alarms and for fire alarm. When a sprinkler head opens up the alarm comes in on a tape, the number of the building six times and also on a ten inch gong. When a fire alarm box is pulled the number of box comes in three times on a tape and on a ten inch gong and lights up a 200 candle power light at the same time.
We have 140 fire alarm boxes on the plant. The first pull of any one of these 140 boxes brings 15 pieces of city fire apparatus in addition to our own department. We also have one sprinkler register and one fire alarm register in the power house engine room which receives the alarm the same time as the fire hall.
Methods of Supervision and Inspection
It is the duty of one engineer to look after the pumps, while another engineer flashes all lights on the plant three times. One of the firemen or sprinkler men makes a complete round of all sprinkler valves each mornnig, and takes the readings of each dry valve. The entire sprinkler system is made fool proof by every gate valve indicator post pump and every sprinkler head being supervised by the A. D. T. Office. Every connection is tested and inspected each month by two of their men, and one man in the fire hall checks up on each connection when they make this test. A record is kept of each connection. Before any valve on the sprinkler system is shut off for repairs on system or otherwise the A. D. T. office is notified by private phone direct, between the fire hall and their office. Every valve has got to be open and every system O. K. before six o’clock each night, and any waterflow alarm coming in between the hours of 6 o’clock at night and 7 o’clock in the morning and Sundays and Holidays is responded to by the fire insurance patrol with 7 men and a 100 gallon chemical on their motor apparatus; if the waterflow alarm proves to be a fire, the nearest fire alarm box is pulled by the first house fireman.
In addition to making daily inspections the fire marshal makes an inspection of the plant one night each week to see what shape the different departments are left in, and not the same night each week. No one knows what night he will make his round, and any department not cleaned up or found in order will hear about it the next morning.
All chemicals are re-charged each year and tagged and all fire hose tested the same. In some departments such as the Hair House and Fertilizer, we have from one to two lines of one and 1 1/2-inch rubber hose attached to the fire line in addition to our 2 1/2-inch fire hose.
Efficiency of Sprinkler Supervision System
With reference to the A. D. T. system of sprinkler supervision or central, we wish to say that we are firmly of the belief that any sprinkler system of whatever size or description to be as near perfect in efficiency as possible must have some sort of supervision. Before we installed our sprinkler system here in Chicago I was instructed to investigate and report what was best feasible in the line of sprinkler supervision. I found that any system of supervision must be electrically arranged ; must be automatic, and must have central office connection. I also found that the A. D. T. System best answered this line of reasoning and so with that end in view, we contracted with the A. D. T. Company for full supervisions, with a cut in on their central office main circuit to our fire hall, which would give us promptly and directly any water flow alarm. We are also called by the central office, and informed of any such alarm, thereby being doubly protected in this regard. The central office also dispatches alarm to the fire department.
Complete installation of the system was had on April 1, 1916, and after a five year period of experience with the system we are very much pleased with the valuable service being rendered us by the A. D. T. Company’s stock yards office. They maintain a very efficient operating force, under the direct charge of J. W. Stoock, chief operator.
Of What Supervision Consists
Now as to what the supervision consists, allows us to say, that every feature of our entire sprinkler system is supervised and protected. Water flow, air and dry pipe system, fire pump, city water pressure, gravity tank for both water and temperature, reservoir, indication posts, gate valves and manual fire alarm boxes.
When a flow of water occurs from the effect of a sprinlker head being off, or from other cause, an alarm is sent in electrically from A. D. T. device in position on the riser through a relay system, located in each building, a series of separate and distinct numbers being assigned to each building. This water flow alarm is registered simultaneously on a register in our fire hall, and also in the A. D. T. Company’s central office and by them transmitted to the fire department, no time being lost whatever. Should this flow alarm be caused by a fire in such building, our fire department squad can, if needed assistance is required, pull an A. D. T. manual fire alarm box, which are located at the entrances to all buildings and throughout the floors of the different buildings. This manual when pulled is transmitted by the A. D. T’s office to the fire department direct, calling out five steamer companies, two truck companies, 2 squad companies, and 3 fire marshals. So you can readily understand we are nicely protected by this system of central office control and supervision.
Protected in all Features of Sprinkler System
As in the water flow alarms, we are. also protected in all the other features of a sprinkler system. Should the air on a dry pipe system fall below 35 pounds, or rise above 55 pounds, a device will transmit 2 founds of a signal number (one for each building) covering this particular building to A. D. T.’s central offices and by them immediately telephoned to our fire hall over a private line maintained for that purpose. When the air is restored to normal, a restoration signal of one round of the box number is received at A. D. T.’s office indicating that the air has been restored. The A. D. T. Company also despatches a number to our plant in all such alarms.
As explained in reference to this air on dry pipe system, the same procedure is carried out with regard to interference on gate valves, indicator post, fire pump, reservoir, gravity tank, electrical energy, etc.
Taken all in all, we are highly pleased with our sprinkler system and A. D. T. supervison. Without the A. D. T. supervision, we could hardly feel safe, because you know in a large plant such as ours, with many parts of the sprinkler system exposed, you could not keep inquisitive employees from tampering with the system, and it more fully serves as a check on those whose duty it is to keep up the sprinkler system. We believe with this system of A. D. T. supervision the sprinkler is made as near fool proof as it is possible to make it.
Fire Protection Given By 35,000 Sprinklers
(Reprinted from the Wilsonian)
A fire in any part of the Chicago plant of Wilson & Co. most certainly would meet with countless busy little sentinels always on the alert. A blaze would have a most difficult time in gaining headway of any sizable importance, for it would be met with a veritable Niagara of water thrown with terrific and quenching force by these little metallic whirling dervishes.
As you pass through the offices or through our plant and notice long, athletic appearing pipes suspended from the cei1ings with little sprinkler heads located at measured distances, did you ever stop to consider what they mean to your safety and comfort?
Each one is made inert by a fuse of lead of low melting point. Just let the temperature rise over a known point and these unobtrusive little fellows will spring into life as if by magic and will begin whirling an avalanche of water for some distance. As the temperature reaches other heads the process is repeated and continued. As the lead fuse melts and the head begets into action a signal is flashed down to our efficient fire fighters’ headquarters, presided over by Chief Gus Volquardsen. Immediately the location of the single head becomes known and in jig time an alarm is automatically sounded.
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Fire Prevention in Great Establishment
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Human ingenuity and brains enter into the installation of this highly efficient system, but humans have nothing to do in locating the blaze. All this is done in an almost weird, fascinating but precise and accurate manner, all automatically and unvaryingly.
In the Chicago Office and plant we have 35,000 sprinkler heads, ever on the watch and alert, just waiting to show what they can do. To control the supply of water for these thousands of heads, we have 98 risers with 465 supervisor connections.
Of the enormous battery of valves, there are 87 of the dry variety and 11 of the wet variety.
We have the largest battery of dry sprinkler valves in the country, taking care of 3,500 heads in one nine-story building.
There are many technical features connected with this wonderful apparatus, but we will not take a chance in saying anything more than that if we were a blaze we would better start in a prairie, a long distance from these keen, alert, watchful, efficient little enemies of the destructive flame.
Supplementing this marvelous system of fire protection is a well trained force of fire fighters, under the direction of Chief Volquardsen. The long nights are usually spent by those on duty in a pleasant manner and everything is done by the chief to make his men comfortable.
It is the duty of this staff of firemen to inspect the company’s standpipes, hose, etc., and to see that there are no obstructions which would interfere with the escape of employes from the buildings in time of emergency.