The Future of the I. A. F. E.
Now that the smoke of battle has cleared away and quiet has settled down upon the ranks of the International Association of Fire Engineers, there is time to look about and count the cost. There should be several lessons driven home to the members from the unfortunate events of the late convention. One of these must be that never again should the association allow, under any circumstances, matters of religious difference among its members to overshadow or mar in any way its meetings. Much rather let the matter of the opening prayer be omitted entirely than that it should become a matter of contention and dispute in an annual convention. Let us repeat with emphasis what we said at the time of convention—it is far less irreverent for the association to omit the prayer from its meetings entirely than for its members to listen to an address to the Deity with criticism and hatred in their hearts for the speaker. This, then, is one of the lessons that may be learned from the Toronto convention. Another is the necessity of harmony and singleness of purpose in an organization such as the I. A. F. E. In a regatta the crew which pulls together with the most even stroke is the one which will drive its shell ahead over the finishing line. There must be a set purpose and a goal, and to attain this the members must pull a strong and even stroke all together. The organization has set up as its standard the great and important matter of standardization, but this can never be attained until every member, no matter how small his department, bends his back to the stroke with all his strength and ability. Harmony and Work—these must be the watch words of the association, and every member must do his part until the great program of standardization is carried to its conclusion. The officers, no matter how earnest and self-sacrificing they are, cannot carry out this scheme alone. Every one must help, and new members must be brought into the organization before the plans can be fully realized, and this, perhaps, is the third and greatest lesson of the Toronto meeting—the necessity of making the I. A. F. E. the representative organization of the fire service. To accomplish this every fire chief in the country must be brought into the association. Only by this means will the society come into its own and become what it should be—-the mouthpiece of the fire departments of the United States and Canada. With this object attained the Standardization program would be comparatively easy of accomplishment and would come as a natural sequence. So let every member back up President Healy with all his strength in that officer’s endeavor to make the organization country-wide in its scope and influence.