The Pumper in the Small Department
It is remarkable how many of the smaller cities and towns there are which still rely wholly upon the pressure supplied by the local water works pumps or by gravity to fight fires, supplemented, possibly, by a chemical or two. While probably under ordinary circumstances, this protection will prove sufficient to cope with the small fires that periodically visit every municipality, there is bound to come a time when there will be a conflagration of considerable magnitude, when the water works will fail to give sufficient pressure or else an inopportune break will occur. Then it is, when they are compelled to stand by helplessly and witness their city’s consumption by the flames, that the authorities realize the shortsighted policy which refused to expend a few of the many thousands now going up in smoke for a reliable pumper that would have saved the burning buildings. A case in point that came to the attention of the editor recently is that of Delaware, Ohio. This thriving little city has two engine houses. Headquarters is equipped with motor chemicals and the other house with horse-drawn apparatus. The town is supplied with an admirable and up-to-date water system, privately owned by the Delaware Water Company, but no water works is infallible, and it has happened before and will happen again that, just at the crucial moment, when a bad fire has the city in its grip, a break in the pumping machinery may occur, or some other unforseen happening beyond the control of the company, may render the water supply too weak to fight the flames. If the horse-drawn apparatus of the little city were replaced by an efficient pumper, not only would this ever-present peril be removed, but the machine would save its own initial price in a short period in the doing away with the expensive upkeep of the horses. There was a time when the efficiency of the motor pumper was questioned, but that day has passed and the apparatus has proved its indispensability in a well-equipped department. There are, besides, many uses outside of actual fire-fighting that the machine may be put to. One of these that should osoecially appeal to towns in the flood era—as Delaware is—is the pumping out of flooded cellars. Another great advantage of this machine is that—in case of the failure of the regular supply—water can be drafted from a stream, pond or cistern to fight the flames. This is only one case in many hundred similar ones throughout the length and breadth of the land, and it would be wise for the local councils of such cities to ponder the danger of the situation, and rise to their opportunities.