TO KEEP POLITICS OUT.
One of the primary objects of the National Firemen’s Association of the United State, which was formed in Chicago in 1898 and represents 350,000 firemen in the country, is to keep politics out of the departments. Its proceedings arc directed to the one end—namely, to prove to the politicians that, as long as a fireman does his duty faithfully and well, he should not be exposed to the danger of removal by politicians in the council or out of it, who know nothing about the science of firefighting, saving life and property while a fire is raging, the proper style of apparatus, or the operations of the various devices which have raised the fire departments of the United States to the highest rank in the world.
The association also works for the establishment of an insurance indemnity fund for the benefit of the members of the volunteer firemen throughout the country. Under present conditions there is absolutely no fixed provision (save where local volunteers have established a mere local organisation looking towards a provision) for the support or benefit of any volunteer fireman who may be injured, crippled, invalided or disabled for life, or killed in the performance of his duty. In the eyent of his death there is no fund to draw upon for the payment of his funeral expenses, nor any for pensioning his widow or supporting his young and orphaned children.
The paid fire departments care for their men in sickness and in health, and pension their firemen, who are disabled while in the performance of their duty, and, when he dies, his family receives a death benefit—in many cases none too large at the best.
New York and New Jersey have State homes established by their firemen’s associations, and the founding of similar institutions throughout the United States is another of the objects which the National Firemen’s association has in view. It will use every lawful means to induce the various State legislatures to appropriate a sum to be used towards the maintenance of such homes for veteran firemen. Its idea is that a National firemen’s home should be established, if State homes cannot be built and maintained. A firemen’s orphan home is also another of its aims. This will be national in its character, and will be conducted on the same lines as the Masonic orphans’ homes.
The reason for the existence of this association will be clear when it is fully understood that about seven-tenths of the firemen in the United States are volunteers, forming a magnificent army of firefighters, fine specimens of whom were recently seen at the gathering of the Illinois State Firemen’s association at Blue Island. If each of the 350,000 firemen in the United States would pay $1 a year, the nucleus of a fund would be created for the building and maintenance of these orphan homes and carrying out the other praiseworthy objects of the association.