THE NEW YORK FIRE DRILL SQUAD
Completes First Year of Activity—Has Conducted 1814 Drills in Which Over 500,000 People Have Taken Part.
The New York fire drill squad has completed the first year of its activities and Commissioner Adamson, of New York City, gave out the following statement, showing the work accomplished by the squad since it was organized: The fire drill squad was organized one year ago. It was created for the purpose of organizing and holding fire drills in factories, schools, hospitals, asylums or other buildings where there are large public assemblies. The squad is made up of fifteen picked men of the department, under command of Lieutenant Walter J. Dugan. The necessity for such a squad was imprressed upon tht Fire Commissioner because of the great practical difficulty of co-ordinating drills in large factory buildings where several hundred persons are employed, and where, perhaps, there are as many as a dozen or more tenants; and because of the further fact that it was constantly being brought to the attention of the Commissioner that the average factory owner or hospital superintendent lacked the practical knowledge necessary to institute and hold a successful fire drill. The labor law requires that fire drills be held in all factories where more than twenty-five persons are employed above the ground floor; but because of the fact that many of the factory owners lacked the knowledge needed to organize these drills this provision of the law had not been complied with to as great an extent as safety requires. It was in order to meet this condition that Fire Commissioner Adamson organized the fire drill squad one year ago. Since its organization the fire drill squad has conducted 1,814 drills. These drills have been held in 1,093 different buildings. Drills have been held in 828 factories, 167 public schools, 89 parochial schools, 5 hospitals and asylums and 8 miscellaneous buildings. In all, 558,606 persons have taken part in the drills, 295,714 children in the public schools, 73,719 pupils in the parochial schools, 4.177 inmates and attendants of hospitals and asylums and 5,177 occupants of miscellaneous buildings. The fire drill squad has paid 4,531 separate visits to the various buildings affected. There were 1,536 separate drills in factories, 169 in the public schools and 95 in the parochial schools. Commissioner Adamson, in commenting on the work of the fire drill squad, said: “The fire drill squad is performing a work of the greatest practical value, and doing something which has never been done before in the city. Theoretically, fire drills are supposed to be held in all factories. As a matter of fact, the great difficulty of co-ordinating drills in buildings where there are many tenants has prevented tenants from organizing successful drills heretofore Moreover, it is necessary to have interior fire alarm systems to give the signals before fire drills can be held. The installation of interior fire alarm systems in factories has been met with such stubborn opposition in the courts, and the work has been so slow that many factories are still unequipped with these systems. The fire drill squad has been compelled to devote its attention entirely to those buildings where fire alarm signal systems are installed. They are keeping up with the installations as fast as they are made, and just as soon as a new installation is put in they organize a drill in the factory. It has been surprising to find how the matter of fire drills has been neglected in the past. We selected the best men we could find for the fire drill squad and gave them several weeks’ training early last fall before starting them out to organize drills. They have now systematized the work, have prepared and issued a complete set of fire drill regulations showing in detail how the drills are to be organized and conducted, and have beyond all question contributed much to the safety of the occupants of factories, schools and asylums. The squad will be continued during the coming year, as it has proved to be of unquestioned value so far. During their entire experience the members of the fire drill squad have had to summon only three persons to court for failure to participate in drills.
In connection with the regulations and rules for the fire drills the form herewith is used for filling out: