THE ALBANY FIRE ALARM SYSTEM
Description of the Up-to-date and Complete System of the Capital City of New York State—Provision Made for Future Expansion—Ample Number of Extra Circuits Arranged for
ON the cover of this week’s issue and on this page are given two views of the Albany, N. Y., fire alarm system. The building in which this system is housed stands alone in the center of a plot 195 x 200 feet at the intersection of Delaware and Myrtle avenues, Lake and Morris streets. The building itself covers an area of 70 x 40 feet, is of Dutch type of architecture and consists of basement, main floor and attic. The foundation is of concrete; walls, brick; floors and roof construction, reinforced concrete, with green slate roofing applied to Nalecide. The interior trim is all of metal, so that the building is as nearly fireproof as it is possible to make it. It was completed on July 31, 1918. A complete illustrated description of it appeared in FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING of January 5, 1916. The office equipment now consists of the following: a five-circuit joker transmitter by which signals are transmitted to the various department houses and operates a small gong also in several houses. Signals are received upon a perforated tape. The joker instrument, by the aid of local instruments, also operates the trips on the stable doors where horses are still in use, the lights in the houses and the bells in the dormitories. There are also a combined joker and manual transmitter having two sets of levers, four levers on each set, and so constructed that either set can be used on the manual or joker circuits. If through any cause one or more of these levers are out of service on either set both sets can be made to operate as one by setting one or more numbers on one set and the remaining number or numbers on the other set and changing a lever from long pause position to short pause position. This instrument is used to transmit all signals over the gong circuits except the return blow, which is usually transmitted by a key, and whenever additional apparatus is required at a fire all such signals are transmitted by this instrument on the joker circuits, the signal for the apparatus required being set on one set of levers and the signal station inquired at being set on the other set of levers, the lever previously referred to remaining at long pause position. There are two ten-pin registers for recording the incoming alarms or signals, and one five-pin register for recording the signals that are transmitted to the department; one five-circuit joker board with switches and separate keys and a master key by which signals may be transmitted over each circuit or over all circuits in cases of emergency, and an annunciator target and bell that operates whenever an alarm is being transmitted or the circuit opens and a card enclosed in a frame showing a list of the companies upon the circuit and their position on the circuit, as this is necessary for testing purposes; one six-circuit gong board, with the necessary keys, switches, rheostats and circuit list; a flashlight, which operates when an alarm is being transmitted, and a target annunciator, which operates whenever the circuit opens, showing a red disk and causing a bell to ring until the switch is cut out or the circuit is closed; a 20-circuit relay board, each circuit equipped with a key, and the usual switches used for cutting in or out of circuit the key, register and relay, the relay having three local contacts for operating the register, bell and bull’s-eye lamp. Each circuit on this board is equipped with a switch for the purpose of connecting the signal boxes with the telephone that is connected with this board, so that a communication can be carried on between an official at a fire and the operator; also for communicating with the linemen in cases of trouble. This is done by means of a telephone jack, with which each signal box is equipped, the invention of the writer, and a portable telephone set carried by the persons referred to. Should a box be pulled on a circuit while a conversation is being carried on, the signals would not be interrupted in any way, but on the contrary, the person at the box would cease talking and count the signals, or if a conversation was taking place on one circuit and an alarm was sent in on another, he could count the signals just the same as if he were on that particular circuit. When the switch referred to is operated it throws a target or disk, which is located just above the relay, and it remains in view until the operator restores the switch to its normal position. The object is to call the attention of the operator to the fact that his telephone or booster battery is cut in on the line and should be cut out when the conversation is ended and not use the battery unnecessarily. This battery is also used when an alarm is being received to operate a flashlight and the operator can count the box by the flashes at the same time that he is counting on the bell. They both operate at the same time, but arc on separate circuits. A throw switch, the moment a signal circuit opens, either for an alarm or a break, lights a large cluster of lights in the center of the operating room. There is also a card enclosed in a frame just beneath the bell containing a list of all the boxes upon that circuit and the location of test stations There is a 30-circuit, 3-panel storage board fully equipped with fuses, switches, rheostats and three annunciators with ampere and milliampcre readings, three volt meters and three transposing switches for changing the battery circuits, three potential controllers and the necessary switches for connecting the charging battery circuits in parallel or in series There are also provided a 2-panel. 30-circuit protection board with the usual fuses, choke coils, pins and switches. A volt meter, for testing, is in place, and all circuits are protected with fuses, each circuit having four 3-ampere, two 1-ampere and two 1/2-ampere fuses, six of them being in circuit before connecting with the relay, joker or gong boards, so as to insure ample protection.
The generator room is equipped with a mercury arc rectifier, two one k.w. motor generators and a Lauson gas and gasoline engine to run a 2 1/4 k.w. generator. The battery room is equipped with the Gamewell latest type of metal battery racks for storage batteries, and we have in service 900 cells of B. T. two-plate type. But the racks have a capacity of 1,700 cells and pockets for additional fixtures to be put in service at any time for an additional 654 cells. We have 14 signal or box circuits, with a total of 247 street boxes and 70 private boxes; 58 of the street boxes are of the Gamewell latest type box and cable terminal. All the business section is covered by the underground system, and all our circuits are interlaced, the business section having six circuits covering it. This system was installed in 1908, and it will readily be seen that when it was purchased provision was made for the future, as wc have two extra joker, three extra gong and six extra box circuits, which will be sufficient to meet the requirements of this city for a great many years. The assistant superintendent of the fire alarm telegraph is Terrence F. Hagen.
Facing the alternative of raising the pay of all firemen or having the department completely disorganized, city council of Valdosta, Ga., granted a substantial raise to all men in the department. Chief Cook told the council that, owing to the fact that the men were on duty twenty-four hours, that they were being offered positions at much better pay than they were getting for only a day’s work, and they were leaving in squads.