THE BEST WAY OF FIGHTING FIRES.
In a recent paper by Alfred Blauvelt on the best means of fighting fire, the writer expresses the opinion that firemen are called upon more commonly to fight smoke than fire, which is often very hard to find. the result is that a vast and wasteful amount of water is thrown through the windows into the burning building, which causes much more damage than there is any necessity for. Hence, the writer expresses a decided preference for automatic sprinklers, the hrst cost of which is very high, and, while their action is often eccentric and causes more loss to merchandise than is saved by the operation of the sprinklers, yet he would have their installation compulsory. Apparently he would go so far as to have them supersede the internal standpipe in high buildings; even although he highly approves of it as a means for fighting fire. He practically contends that the stanapipe has proved a disappointment, when judged of by its results, and is, besides, unpopular with the firemen, because of certain defects, among which are the following: It has not done away with the necessity for putting up ladders outside or for climbing stairs within. The standpipe rarely is near the spot at which an outbreak occurs, and, when the hre is finally found, the nozzles are likely to be too short or too straight for effective service. Such defects, however, he admits can be remedied by modifications of the equipment. Mr. Blauvelt it by no means a thick-ana-thin admirer or even a staunch advocate of the high-pressure pipe system, which he thinks has been introduced as a rule out of deference to the demands of the fire underwriters, or in reliance upon their promises to reduce the rates or threats to keep them up or raise them, if the system is not adopted. So skeptical is he on the benefits of the systems as painted by the underwriters, that he more than leaves it to be understood that these benefits may be vastly overrated, even that these are drawbacks attenaing its insta.iation. In common with other advocates of adequate fire protection, he expresses a firm conviction that the water from high-pressure pipes should be admitted to interior “fixed pipes” only through hose controled by firemen, and that direct, permanent connections should be avoided for a while.