The Duties of Fire Departments in Connection With Inspection
More attention should be given to the condition of buildings, the repairing, if it is practicable, or the removal of dilapidated buildings which are fire traps and a menace to other property, says the fire marshal of Pennsylvania, and where neighboring buildings are found in this condition they should be reported to the authorities in order that the hazard may be abated. This condition in a large measure can be assisted by periodical inspections by the State Fire Marshal and the fire departments, the latter being possible in many of the larger cities. Particular care should be given to the construction and material used in new buildings. There are a few States which have a building code, and consequently the construction of buildings cannot be governed where also municipal ordinances are not in effect. It is very important, in fact highly necessary, that the consideration of building codes, either State or municipal, be undertaken without too much delay, to prevent the construction of buildings which will in short time develop into fire traps and endanger valuable property. No one has the right, nor should any State or municipality permit the construction of buildings which involve a jeopardy of life or a menace to property by fire. The far-reaching and vital effect of such legislation cannot be calculated and would affect every avenue of civil and industrial life in providing a fundamental method for fire prevention development. Building code legislation provides undoubtedly the best basic method for fire prevention with respect to the physical character of buildings.
Another highly advantageous method that should be considered and applied by concerns and establishments of importance is watchman service. Great care should be shown in the selection of competent watchmen and adequate supervision of important establishments that will insure the thorough covering of such property in a systematic order It should not alone be the duty of these watchmen to prevent the intrusion of outsiders, which, however, is a very important feature, but also to give observance to conditions around such establishments that may be found for want of repair or correction liable to cause fire. Chiefly among the methods of fire prevention for buildings should be considered: (a) Construction, alteration, repair and maintenance of buildings and equipment, (b) Proper repair or removal of dilapidated buildings, (c) Watchman service, (d) Lightning rod protection. Fire prevention methods must start with the extermination of fire producing conditions, and be advanced by legislation providing fot’ personal liability where fires ocur through disobedience to a fire prevention regulation.