THE LANSING FIRE SERVICE
In his thirteenth annual report of the operation of the Lansing, Mich., fire department, Chief Hugo R. Delfs shows in detail the efficient work of the department of which he is the able head, for the fiscal year ending April 30, 1916, and makes a number of recommendations for the betterment of the fire service, including salary increase for firemen, a motor aerial truck, additional alarm boxes, hose, etc. The report is addressed to the Board of Police and Fire Commissioners, consisting of James J. Carey, C. M. Watson, Hiram Rickerd, James P. Edmonds, Louis Hilderbrandt and Ernst Keller, and shows a total loss on buildings and contents of only $22,762.82. There were three less fires and alarms than during the previous year.
Fires and Alarms.
The report gives the fires and alarms during the fiscal year as follows: Number of alarms coming through fire alarm boxes, 76; number oi alarms coming in by telephone calls, transmitted by box, 76; number of alarms coming through the A. D. T. system, 6; number of alarms coming in verbally or still, 74; number of day alarms, from 6 a. m. to 6 p. m., 148; number of night alarms, from 6 p. m. to 6 a. m., 84; number of fires occurring in brick or stone buildings, 60; number of fires occurring in frame buildings, 132; other than building fires, 37; number of false alarms coming through fire alarm boxes, 1: number of false alarms coming in by telephone, 1; number of false alarms coming through A. D. T. system, 1; value of buildings where fires occurred, $963,805; value of contents where fires occurred, $1,102,320; loss on buildings where fires occurred, $11,353.56; loss on contents where fires occurred, $11,409.26; exposure loss, none; total loss on buildings and contents, $22,762.82; insurance on buildings, $468,150; insurance on contents, $589,500; adjustments on buildings and contents, $12,034.31; amount of loss not covered by insurance, $10,728.51.
Various Causes of Fires and Fire Alarms.
Spontaneous combustion, various causes, 3; sparks, various causes, 39; smoke from autos, chimneys, stoves, furnaces, etc., 12; overheated stoves, chimneys, fire places, smoke pipes, furnaces, etc., 21; gas jets, gas plates, etc., 4; electric wiring, various causes, 7; escaping gas, 1; unknown, 22; gasoline fires, various causes, 2; cigar and cigarette stubs, 3; inflammable material too near stoves, stove pipe, etc., 7; matches, various causes, 11; fire works, 2; grass, rubbish, bonfires, etc., 28; oil stoves, lamp, etc., 4; automobile fires, 7; plumbers’ torch, 2 ; rekindling of debris of previous fire, 1; defective stove pipes, floor thimbles, fire places, chimneys, etc., 5; false alarms, 3; asphalt, tar kettles, etc., 1; street car motors, 1; bursting water and steam pipes, 3; chimney fires, 30; reflection of fire on windows, 3; out of town calls, 3; sparks from electric welder, 1; flame from cyanide furnace, 1; hot coals, ashes, etc., 2; meat burning on stove, 2; defective connection, oxygen and gas, 1. Last year there was a total of 235 fires and fire alarms. This year, ending April 30, 1916, there were 232 fires and fire alarms, decrease of 3. During the year there were only seven fires where the loss was $1,000 or over. The work of the department companies was: Number of feet of hose stretched, 49,150; number of feet of chemical hose stretched, 11,685; number of gallons chemical discharged, 4,068; number of feet of ladders raised, 3,582; number of miles traveled to and from fires, 1,299⅞ ; number of hours in service at fires, 368 hours, 34 minutes; during the year water was drawn from hydrants as follows, for fire, 38.
Cost of Equipment and Maintenance of Motor Apparatus.
The report of the operations of the motor fire apparatus, cost of equipment and maintenance of same is given as follows:
Motor Fire Engine No. 1—Central Station: Responded to fire alarms, 69; pumping time at actual fires, 4 hours, 47 minutes; pumping time at test and practice, 5 hours, 24 minutes; number miles traveled to and from fires, 112 2-3; miles traveled, exhibition and practice, 41 1/2 cost of maintenance and new equipment, gasoline, cylinder oil, spark plugs, grease, self-starter, 4 Sewell wheels, repairs, etc., $870.48.
Motor Fire Engine No. 2: Responded to fire alarms, 76; pumping time at actual fires, 3 hours, 5 minutes; pumping time, test and practice, 1 hour, 40 minutes; number of miles traveled to and from fires, 111 7-12; miles traveled, exhibition and practice, 106 3/4; cost of maintenance and new equipment, gasoline, cylinder oil, spark plugs, new tires, grease, repairs, etc., $52.94.
Motor Chemical Engine No. 1: Responded to fire alarms, 184; number of miles traveled to and from fires, 371 1-3; miles traveled, exhibition and practice, 53 1/4; number of gallons chemical discharged, 3,577; cost of maintenance, gasoline, cylinder oil, spark plugs, grease, new tires, repair;, etc., $41.
Motor Hose and Chemical Combination No. 3: Responded to fire alarms, 111; number of miles traveled to and from fires, 180 5-6; miles traveled, exhibition and practice, 143 1-6; cost of maintenance, gasoline, cylinder oil, spark plugs, grease, repairs, etc., $48.39.
Motor Hose and Chemical Combination No. 4: Responded to fire alarms, 98; number of miles traveled to and from fires, 196 2-3; miles traveled, exhibition and practice, 93 5-6; cost of maintenance, gasoline, cylinder oil, spark plugs, grease, repairs, etc., $150.06.
Motor Fire Engine No. 5: Responded to fire alarms, 47; pumping time at actual fires, 3 hours, 25 minutes; pumping time, test and practice, 4 hours, 33 minutes; number of miles traveled to and from fires, 62 2-3; miles traveled, exhibition and practice, 194; cost of maintenance and new equipment, gasoline, cylinder oil, spark plugs, 4 Sewell wheels, repairs, etc., $546.63.
Chiefs Automobile: Responded to 123 fire alarms, visiting sub-stations almost daily and all other business connected with the Department, traveling 4,092 miles. Cost of maintenance, gasoline, cylinder oil, spark plugs, new tires, overhauling motor, etc., $306.31.
The most important improvements made to the fire service during the past year were: Fire Alarm Telegraph System—One P. B. X. telephone switchboard, six fire alarm boxes, three tape registers. Hose—One thousand feet 2 1/2 inch double jacket fire hose. Fire Apparatus— No. 1 Robinson Engine and No. 5 Engine were equipped with Sewell cushion wheels. Order sent in for Sewell cushion wheels to equip No. 2 Engine, No. 3 and No. 4 Combinations, in front, and same will be installed in a few days. Fire Prevention—During the year the regular system of inspecting basements, alleys, etc., relative to the fire hazard, has been kept up in a thorough manner.
Relative to recommendations for the betterment of the fire service Chief Delfs says: Salary Increases—You have been furnished with a detailed schedule, showing the salary increases as recommended. Recently I made some inquiries from a few of the first-year men of the Department, receiving at present $65 per month or $780 per year. Going into details I find their cost of living averages about as follows: House rent, average per year, $192; groceries, meats, milk, vegetables, etc., without luxuries, $384 ; fuel, gas and light bills, $86; telephone bills, $t2; doctor and drug bills, $72. Total, $740. Clothes and shoes for the mother and child will have to come out of the balance, $34. This will not go very far. The fireman must keep himself dressed in the regulation uniform, one suit and extra pair of trousers, three uniform shirts, rubber boots and night clothes, totaling about $40 a year. He is now $40 in debt. How can he furnish his home, buy one civilian suit of clothes, shoes, etc.? and when the vacation time comes he has no money to take the wife and child away from the city for a little recreation. Auto Aerial Truck: One 75-foot aerial truck with combination water tower. We have many high buildings and more building, and I consider an aerial truck an absolute necessity. Fire Alarm Boxes: Twelve are needed at once. Hose: One thousand feet of 2 1/2-inch and 250 feet of 1-inch chemical hose. Expander: One Buckley expander is also needed in the Department. Self Starters: The Chemical Engine, No. 2 and No. 5 Engines, No. 3 and No. 4 Combinations should be equipped with self starters this year. Chief’s automobile: It is quite necessary that we purchase a new chief’s car. The old car could be rigged up for the Electrical Department and give considerable service.
International Association of Fire Engineers.
Chief Delfs says: The annual Convention was held in Cincinnati, August 31, September 1, 2, 3, 1915. Through the courtesy of your honors I was permitted to attend this Convention. Much knowledge can be obtained, relative to fire combating, fire prevention, fire apparatus, etc., and I believe that any municipality sending their chief to this annual Convention cannot help but be benefited. On tny return I gave a detailed report pertaining to the Convention proper.
The department apparatus consists of: Motor fire engines, 3; motor chemical engines, 1; motor hose and chemical combinations, 2; chief’s automobile, 1; hook and ladder truck (horse-drawn), 1; plain hose wagon (horse-drawn, in reserve), 1; fire alarm telegraph wagon, 1. Horses: There are now left in the Department but three horses. The territory covered by Fire Department is 7.5 square miles.
Fire Alarm Construction.
The aerial construction, miles, is 27, and the underground construction, miles, is 9.
The total number in five stations, including Chief, Assistant Chief and Electrician of the Fire Alarm Telegraph is 45.
Fire Alarm Boxes.
Fire alarm boxes are: Owned by city, 85; owned by private corporations, 16. Total, 101.
There are about 86 miles 16-, 12-, 10-, 8-, 6and 4-inch mains.
The hydrants are: Owned by city, 546 ; owned by private corporations, 49. Total, 595.
Fire hose in service is: Distributed in five stations—Good, 10,700 feet; fair to poor, 1,550 feet. Total, 12,250 feet.
Report of Electrician.
The report of James Brown, fire department electrician, states six new boxes were installed during the year. Seven boxes set on iron posts and cut over to underground cable. During the year a P. B. X. telephone switchboard was installed in the fire alarm office and four firemen detailed as operators, thus adding to the efficiency of the Department in transmitting alarms. Recommendations are: One non-interfering transmitter and one tape register be purchased for the fire alarm office. That telephone handsets, relays, jacks and condensers be purchased so that we can call up headquarters from any fire alarm box. Owing to the rapid growth of the city, we are not keeping pace with the fire alarm boxes. The new additions are without alarm boxes and some places in the business section the boxes are far apart. This year, at least, twelve new boxes should be installed.
Lansing Firemen’s Benefit Association.
The officers of the Association are: President, Hugo R. Delfs; Vice-President, George B. Andrews; Treasurer, James Brown; Secretary, Ross Dibble. This Association was organized September 26, 1906. All firemen in the Department belong to the Association. The initiation fee is $1.50 and dues are fifty cents per month. Tins Association pays a sick benefit of $2 per day for a period of thirty days; this time can be extended by a majority vote of the members. It also pays $150 death benefit and is in a prosperous condition.
The total receipts of the fire department including appropriation, were $52,075.45, and the expenditures came to $50,047.14. The inventory of the department property amounts to $120,655.80,