TO GOVERN SCHOOL AND FACTORY FIRES
State Fire Marshal Ahearn of New York has issued a series of rules and instructions governing fire drills and facilities for escape from school buildings in case of fire. So far as the schools in the state are concerned there is no cause of complaint in respect to the attention paid to drills, and, as a rule, to facilities for exit— only in the old-fashioned buildings is any trouble experienced, and in these the excellent and systematic course of drills has almost abolished whatever difficulties have been met with. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of anything like the whole of the factories in the state, and, not least, in Greater New York. Hence the necessity for publishing, studying and strictly adhering to these rules and regulations. The state law in regard to fire drills in schools reads as follows:
Section 1. It shall be the duty of the principal or other person in charge of every public or private school or educational institution within the state, having more than 100 pupils, to instruct and train the pupils by means of drills, so that they may in a sudden emergency be able to leave the school building in the shortest possible time and without confusion or panic; such drills or rapid dismissals shall be held at least once in each month.
Section 2. Neglect by any principal or other person in charge of any public or private school or educational institution to comply with the provisions of this act shall be a misdemeanor punishable at the discretion of the court by fine not exceeding $50. Such fine to be paid to the pens_____on fund of the local fire department where there is such a fund.
Section 3. It shall be the duty of the board of education or other body having control of the schools in any town or city to cause a copy of this act to be printed in the manual or hand book prepared for the guidance of teachers where such manual or hand book is in use or may hereafter come into use. Factory rules arc as follows:
The book of instructions on fire drills in factories contains the following:
Humanity dictates measures of prevention for the safety of employes.
Self-interest justifies them in the saving that results from lower insurance rates and greater safety of property.
Think first of human life and not merely of property.
Fire-drill time should not be deducted from the wages of employes. They should be arranged for near the dinner or closing hours. To deduct them would be unjust.
Fire drills are aimed not so much at the fire as at the panic usually accompanying it. They should be supervised by the local fire department or one of its officers.
Secure orderly exit of employes. Fire drills have for their object system, order and pre-arranged method of exit, and should be repeated at secret and irregular intervals until employes become used to them and are not taken unprepared when fire actually breaks out.
Fire drills should aim at quick dismissal, without going for hats or coats.
hire drills should conclude with the continued march of the employes out of and away from the factory in different directions.
hire drills should include practice in overcoming obstructions, to be prepared to meet them in case of actual fire.
hire drills should be to fire escapes as well as to exits.
Keep exits and fire escapes always free and clear.
Assign exits to employes on different floors and stairways so as to prevent the flow of people from one floor and stairway meeting that from another.
See that exit facilities are sufficient.
Separate stairways should be provided for each floor if possible, or different floors should use different stairways.
Stairways that arc wide enough for two streams of people should have a stout handrail put up, so that those from one floor or section can use one and those from another the other side.
Let foremen or others act as captains on each floor and all on that floor follow his orders.
Guards should stand on stairways and at crowded points to keep the crowd moving and render help. Searchers should look after absentees and examine rooms to see that no one is left. Some should be detailed to handle fire appliances, hose, pails and extinglishers.
Employes and occupants should be instructed to rise quietly, remove seats and benches from the aisles and get ready for the march.
Signals can come from the captain on the floor. Where this is not possible, the drill should be arranged to work from signals.
Girls and women should march in pairs and link arms to support each other and not press on the couple ahead.
Obstacles should be arranged for fire drills, to be overcome by those marching, so as to be prepared for them if fire breaks out and they actually meet them.
Alarm gongs should be installed so that the alarm can sound from a foreman’s desk on any floor. The floor signal should be sounded on ail the other floors of the building, the number of strokes of the gong informing everybody on what floor the fire is. Automatic fire-alarm systems should be installed.
See that the fire alarm system works.
See that the standpipe system works. Open it gradually.
Fire fighters and searchers should go quietly to their places, get the fire appliances ready and open the doors.
Building signals should connect with fire headquarters so that they can start at the very first signal.
Fire-alarm signals should be at accessible distances, near, if possible, to a telephone, transmitting alarms throughout the entire building and showing the floor on which there is a fire.
Delay not to send the alarm in case of fire. Delay is most dangerous.
Inspect your factory system yourself. Prevention is better than cure. Inspection promotes prevention.
Keep call number of fire department in plain sight near telephone.
Some simple practical fire prevention and fighting instruction should be given.
Post printed copies of these rules in different languages in clear type in conspicuous places.
Have printed, post and distribute notices, handbills or cards that a fire drill is to be introduced. Later distribute a second notice, giving details about the drill, in your particular factory. Give copies of these notices to all that they may take them home and learn them, or have them fully explained.
Distribute the final notice, giving the rules and explicit directions to be followed.
Reports should be made, from time to time, of the test drills and their success.
The book of instructions containing hints for school fire drills contains the following:
Fire drills are aimed, not so much at the fire as at the panic usually accompanying it.
Prevent the panic by seeing that the fire alarm system works.
See that the exit facilities are sufficient and unobstructed.
Look to the orderly formation of the lines.
Secure orderly exit of the pupils. March them two by two. Let them hold hands or link arms. Let there be music or singing to divert their minds.
Teachers should follow to be sure that no child has been left behind. Sometimes the teacher or an older child might lead, but if the teachers get too far from the end of the line he or she might not be able to get back to take care of stragglers.
Older children may be detailed as monitors to look after stragglers or absentees. Older and stronger children should lead to prevent overcrowding.
Boys should lead and girls follow, or separate exits should be taken. Boys often trample girls in a rush and girls are always sure to be frighten d at boys coming down behind them.
Success depends on prompt discovery of fire and sounding of signals.
Alarm boxes should be at accessible distances, transmitting alarms throughout the entire building and showing the floor on which there is a fire.
Children should be taught in the course of drills to overcome obstructions, to be prepared to meet them at the time of actual fire.
Post notices and distribute handbills or cards that a fire drill is to be introduced. Later distribute a second notice, giving details about the drill. Give copies of these notices to all that they may take them home and karn them or have them fully explained. Distribute the final notice, giving the rules and explicit directions to be followed.
Schools should have individual signal boxes connecting directly with the local fire department.
Fire drills should be to the fire escapes as well as to the exits.
Fire drills should conclude with the continued march of the children out of and away from the school in different directions.
Fire drills should aim at a quick dismissal, without going for coats or hats.
Fire drills should be had frequently but at irregular and secret times. Repetition will familiarize children with their duties and, if fire does break out, they will not be taken unaware.
Have printed copies of these rules posted conspicuously in schools.
Occasionally have a fire-fighting instruction program. There should be short talks on fire prevention, evils of carelessness, need and cleanliness in homes and surroundings, and damage by fire to life and property. These lesons should be free from excitement and addressed to the common sense of the pupils, rather than to their feelings and imagination. Their feelings should not be roused by stories of the horrors of fires or reference to any particular disater. They should be interested in simple means of fire-fighting and handling materials which come under their daily observation at home or at school; that most fires are of the same size at the start, the flame of a match carelessly handled or thrown away; a candle, a lamp, an oil or gasoline stove, spark from a locomotive, a burning cigarette or cigar carelessly thrown away, and that any one of these may cause great loss of life and property.
Keep call number of fire departments in clear sight near telephone and call fire department instantly.
Reports should be made, from time to time, of the fire drills and their execution.