The Cause and Prevention of Factory Fires

The Cause and Prevention of Factory Fires

Fire Prevention System of National Acme Company Based Upon Principles of Cleanliness and Careful Inspection— Buildings Fireproof with Partitions and Furniture of Metal

WHAT is the cause of a factory fire? During my experience at various manufacturing plants, I have had the opportunity of observing the different methods applied to keep factories safe and sanitary. The only solutions to this question are two: first, proper construction of factor; second, prevent waste and rubbish from accumulating throughout your factory.

Disaster Result of Non-enforcement

I dare say that in most cases disaster results not from the absence of rules, but in the neglect of their enforcement. As a matter of fact, in a great number of concerns cleanliness is a matter that is not only lightly dealt with, but fully ignored, only to experience later that lives, machinery and loss of production might have been saved had precautions been taken at the proper time. Rubbish and dirt may cause fire, but improper installing of furnaces, smoke stacks, heating systems, electric wiring, etc. as well, all have a tendency to create an unsafe condition in your factory.

Fire Prevention Considered in Building Construction

It is quite evident that when the National Acme Company, of Cleveland, Ohio, laid plans for its beautiful building, several years ago, prevention of fire was given the fullest consideration. Not only is this massive building absolutely fire proof, but the management has seen to it that all partitions and furniture installed were of metal.

Durable and Sanitary as Well

These installations are not only fireproof but durable and sanitary as well. The floors of this factory are swept daily by a gang of men, and waste material is collected and removed at once to an incinerator. Firebox stations are conveniently placed about the factory; all foremen and their assistants are given a chart showing the exact location and where to go, and how to act in case of fire, and these charts are conspicuously posted. All fire stations, hose houses, hydrants, etc. are painted a bright red so as to be readily distinguished.

Location of Fire Alarm Boxes

Conspicuous posting of the accompanying chart fosters personal responsibility and systematic relief in the event of a fire.


No. 1—In rear or east side of garage, north of pit.

Main Office

No. 2—North side of main entrance hall.

No. 3—In hall outside bookkeeper’s department, second floor.

Building “A”

No. 4—Inside entrance to lobby next to timekeeper’s office.

No. 5—In drafting room, next to chemical laboratory.

No. 6—Center of west end wall in electrical department.

No. 7—North end of boiler house—power plant.

Building “B”

No. 8—-Southwest corner by drill grinders in Rausch’s nut department.

No. 9—On wall in rear or west end of polishing room—right hand corner.

No. 10—Northeast corner on wall outside of Oscar Smith’s office.

No. 11—On east wall in southeast corner—Gordon’s department.

Find the box nearest your department, and know where it is. Also have a general idea of where the others are located.

Don’t wait until we have a fire—find out where these boxes are NOW!

Cleanliness and Careful Inspection

Our most important instructions are, see to it that floors are properly cleaned, not to allow sawdust, waste, old boxes, etc., to accumulate under benches, in corners, and inconspicuous places. Have all wires well insulated, see to it that heating system and all piping are well covered where danger abounds. Be certain that furnaces and smoke stacks are installed with proper cooling area around same. Have sprinkler system inspected often, all valves properly handled, fire boxes well located, fire extinguishers filled, and employees well versed in proper handling of these appliances. These rules are strictly enforced.

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Screw Product Plant of National Acme Company at Cleveland. Nearly Ten Acres on One Floor.

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Garbage and waste cans are distributed throughout the plant, and all employees are instructed to place all waste, paper, etc., therein.

As a whole, The National Acme Company has seen fit to invest thousands of dollars in safety equipment for the protection of its employees and equipment. With the above rules adhered to, we feel that safety is assured.

According to the annual report for the year ending 1920, by Chief Patrick J. Hurley of Holyoke, Mass., the number of tires during last year were 457, with a property loss of $42,114.63, the value of the property endangered being $22/798,390. The population of the city, according to the 1920 census, is 62,286. The board of commissioners of Holyoke is composed of Arthur E. French, chairman; David Clark, vice-chairman, and Joseph D. Doyle, manager. Daniel McLean is first deputy chief of the department and James E. O’Leary, secretary.

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