THE EMERGENCY IN THE FIRE SERVICE.
The difficulty of maintaining sufficient man power in fire departments in these unusual times, some firemen being called for National service and some desiring to withdraw to engage in other lines of work where attractive offers are made, is being felt in various parts of the country and has already been commented upon in this journal. An interesting announcement is now made relative to means for remedying this condition in New York city. Retired firemen drawing pensions have been asked to volunteer their services, and failing to do this they will be summoned before the Board of Surgeons of the Department and, if their physical condition warrants it, they will be inducted into service. Reference has already been made to the plan for former volunteer firemen from the outlying districts to replace regular firemen, and Deputy Chief Kuss, in charge of the work of organizing the volunteers, believes an auxiliary corps of three thousand men should be formed. These two methods for supplying the vacancies caused by the war’s demands should be a substantial relief for the situation in New York city and recommend themselves for adoption in other cities that have retired firemen drawing pensions, or where there are men who served in volunteer companies prior to the organization of paid departments and who then did not enter the new department. In this way the services of men of experience and training can be obtained, and it would mean a lesser percentage of raw recruits for fire departments would be needed in these times when it is so difficult to obtain men for such duty. Still another method, to be put into operation in addition to the foregoing, is the equipment of departments with the up-to-date motor-driven fire apparatus. The greater speed with which the department can reach the fire than with the horse-drawn equipment means that it will be reached while the blaze is still of small proportions, and may be handled with less men. This naturally calls for a community being provided with the most modern fire alarm equipment for the reliable and quick transmission of the alarm.