THE AUTOMOBILE COMBINATION WAGON*
Mr. President and Gentlemen—The topic assigned me is one of which a great deal could he written, but one which at this time is so well understood that I think what I can say will add very little to your knowledge of the question. It is a fact well known that for the saving of time, even a second, we, or our municipalities rather, have spent, and are still spending, thousands of dollars; the electric fire alarm, swinging harness, sliding poles, electric door-openers, electric lighting and many other devices have been adopted and are now in general use for the express purpose of saving seconds in getting started for a fire in response to an alarm. The automobile in its present state of development is the means which must be used to save time on the road in response to the call for fire. For all distances the automobile apparatus is much quicker than horse-drawn apparatus; the greater the distance the more gain with the automobile. We all know that seconds at the start of a fire are worth more to us than minutes at a later time, so it is my opinion that the automobile apparatus has come to stay and that we will all purchase auto machines in the future. The auto combination will make better or quicker responses than the horse-drawn in all kinds or conditions of streets or weather. This has been proven many times in all parts of the country. In my city the automobiles were in use and making good runs last winter in front 10 to 15 inches of snow. As fires are destructive in proportion to the time taken in getting at them, providing the same intelligence is employed in each case, the importance of attacking a fire before it has developed into a bad one is fully recognized by all firemen, and also by the insurance interests. It is a wellknown fact that the latter require the installation of fire-extinguishing apparatus in factories and in other dangerous places so that fires may be extinguished before a large blaze has developed. Prompt action is required in the fire service, and the auto is and is to be the means of that prompt action.
In most cities using chemical engines or combination chemical and hose wagons reports state that at least 75 per cent, of the fires arc extinguished by chemicals alone. In all probability the general use of the auto combination will increase this percentage to 85 or 90 per cent., owing to the speed in arriving at the fire, and consequently the more general use of the chemical tank attached. The automobile combination can be used for many different purposes. As an ambulance it will he the means of saving the lives of those overcome by smoke or gases, or who have been injured in other ways, by affording quick transportation to the hospital; as a fuel wagon, as fuel can he furnished the engines more expeditiously, especially when the engines are at some distance from the supply base. Looked at from the standpoint of the humanitarian, we see no horses struggling to their utmost to get the apparatus to a fire, but do see the smooth-running motor making the response as easily as can be imagined. The automobile combination will be a great success in handling brush and grass fires, getting on the job so much quicker than horse-drawn apparatus that the fire is still of no great extent, and so will he handled in much shorter time and apparatus and men returned to station ready for the next run, the auto apparatus making quick returns as well as quick responses.
Looked at from the economical side, there will lie a great saving in space occupied, so that new stations may be much smaller, lots purchased may he much smaller, and the total expense will also he correspondingly reduced. Cost of heating and lighting and water hills will be reduced. There will be a saving of one man. as the driver will have no horses to watch and can be used as a fireman in fighting the fire. Can cover a much larger territory, so, although we must have enough apparatus and equipment for the very large fires, I think the time will come when more apparatus will be kept as a reserve and possibly a reserve force of men to be called only in time of a very large fire. This would reduce the necessary regular force to quite an extent, and especially will this apply to cities up to 75.000 populalion. Cities of over 75,000 may not be able to depend on such a reserve force. In using horsedrawn apparatus, if a horse falls and breaks a leg the horse must he shot; but with the automobile repairs are made and the apparatus is as good as ever, and it is my belief that there will be less failures to arrive in response to alarms with the automobile apparatus than with the horse-drawn apparatus. There are no horses to feed when the machine is not in use, and the expense is practically nothing when not actually in service. The life of automobile apparatus has not yet been determined, but it is probable that with good care it will last fully as long as the horse-drawn apparatus. To keep a pair of horses —feed, shoeing, veterinary charges and renewal cost—in our department for the year 1909 figured $387.30. The expense of running the automobile to the present time has been $30.25. It has been in service eight months and has answered 195 alarms. I have figured only the propelling power; upkeep of apparatus has been left out, repairs oil the auto have cost nothing, and the tire expense is not figured, as we are still using the same tires as when we started, Tire expense, to my thinking, can only be figured after a term of years. Capt. A. H. Strong, of hose company No. 7, of Springfield, Mass., in a paper read before the Massachusetts State Firemen’s Association, speaking of the automobile in the Springfield department says: “This has been so successful that before many years have passed the horse as a motive power in the Springfield fire department will have ceased to exist.” Comparing with the horse, the automobile can go to the fire much quicker, is more reliable, never tires, only fed when working, less danger of accidents, being under better control of driver than horses; driver to be used as a fireman, takes less room, no stable, no attraction or breeding place for flies and less cost of maintenance. The automobile has proven a success. Why wait for further development? Use what is now provided, as you will get all the improvements in later purchases. All considerations— sanitary, monetary, those of comfort and convenience and of efficiency—show the great desirability of the displacement of the horse by the motor-propelled vehicle.
* Paper read at the annual convention of the International Association of Fire Engineers, at Syracuse. N. Y.
New Jersey Fire Chiefs.
The annual meeting of the New Jersey State Fire Chiefs Association was held in Atlantic City on Friday. September 16, Chief C. S. Allen, of Trenton, presiding. After the regular business was disposed of the reading of the amendment to the by-laws as offered by Chief Arthur Russell, of Glen Ridge, was taken up. Chief Russell stated that the object of the amendment was to allow visiting chiefs to become honorary members of this association without pay if they choose to do so. After some discussion the following amendment was adopted:
ARTICLE III—QUALIFICATIONS OF MEMBERS.
Section 1. Any chief, ex-chief, or executive officer of any fire department shall be eligible as candidate for membership in the association.
Section 2. Any ex-fire chief, a member of this association, upon retirement from active duties as chief engineer of his department, may upon request be placed on the honorary membership roll as hereinafter provided.
Section 3. Honorary members may have the privilege of attending all meetings of this association, and it shall be the duty of the secretary to place their names upon the honorary membership roll, and to notify them of all metings.
Section 4. Honorary members shall not he required to pay dues to this association, and there-
fore will not he permitted to a vote for the election of officers or for disbursement of money.
The secretary stated that he was of the opinion that volunteer chiefs would not attend the association meetings because they had to pay their expenses from their own pockets, and as their term of office was for one year only they would not do it. He suggested that a suitable circular he printed and sent to the governing body of such municipality, urging them to send the chief of their department to this association.
Chief Lawler, of Youngstown, Ohio, being a visitor to the association, was called upon by the chair to address the meeting, and by request he spoke on the advantages and success of the good work that is being accomplished by the office of state fire marshal, organized for the suppressing of incendiary fires. He also spoke on the automobile fire apparatus and the advantages it has over the horse-drawn machines. Chief Lawler was cordially received, and a vote of thanks was extended to him for his able address.
Chief Doane, of Plainfield, made a motion that the hoard of directors of the association be requested to secure the passage of a law creating the office of state fire marshal, similar to that now existing in Ohio. The motion was unanimously carried.
W. A. Cotter, counsel for the Firemen’s Relief Association, was also a visitor and made a pleasing address, relating his experience as a fireman and how near be came to being a chief. He was elected an honorary member of the association.
The following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, C. S. Allen, Trenton; vice-president, William J. Black, Atlantic City; secretary, C. S. Mount, Red Bank; treasurer, T. O. Doane, Plainfield; trustees, William Astley, of Newark, and George W. Arnett, of Lambertville: committee on entertainment, appointed by the chair. William J. Black; Fred F. Williams and J. D. O’Neill.
Following is a list of chiefs present at the convention: John Stagg. Paterson; John Conway,
Jersey City; D. J. O’Neill, Ridgewood: George W. Arnett. Lambertville; August Gerstung, Elizabeth; C. S. Allen, Trenton; C. S. Mount, Red Bank; T. O. Doane, Plainfield; Fred C. Decker. Westfield: William J. Black, Atlantic City; Charles E. Brown, Bordentown; Fred. F. Williams, Montclair; David E. Benedict, Newark: Arthur Russell. Glen Ridge; William Astley, Newark; Fred C. Runyon, Morristown; A. D. Harvey, Bradley Beach; William F. Markwith, East Orange; Oliver W. Sheets, Paulsboro; Geo, A. Rodes, Sweedsboro.
Mayor and Fireman Killed.
W. E. Robinson, mayor of El Paso, Tex., was crushed to death recently by a falling wall while endeavoring to warn a number of firemen of danger at a fire that destroyed a large store building. Todd Ware, a fireman, was also killed. The origin of the fire is attributed to crossed wires in the basement, where the fire smoldered a long time before bursting into flames. The total loss is $225,000.