To Reduce Fire Waste.
The report of the fire insurance committee of the National Association of Credit Men who were recently in convention at Philadelphia, dealt, among other subject, with the “story of frightful waste of life and wealth,” caused every year by fires in the United States, and spoke of it causes and correctives. The reP rt pointed out that, so far the business men f the country have “cried out passionately a train st it. when hit, but usually have applied only a palliative—no real betterment of conditions. 1 he corrective is to be found in all business men joining hands against this common enemy and effectively co-operating-to control it. No one association, however large, earnest or well informed, can change matters appreciably. The habit of undue fire waste and of paying for it is too old and strong, the inertia too great, the problem too large, for any single interest to effect reform. The activity of property owners in constructing, protecting and occupying buildings as their knowledge, capital, habits and the local laws may influence them; the insurance organisations as their business and the State laws influence them; and the character of the local municipal government, its attitude towards its water supply and its fire departments—all together, all the time, everywhere, are the factors which determine lire waste and insurance cost. Hence, the logical program: Educate the citizen; pass good State laws; pass good municipal ordinances.” 1 lie committee would have the State committees and their branches move in behalf of a proper fire marshal law for every State and then for the appointment of a conscientious and competent tire marshal. Towards the attainment of this object the national organisation should work energetically during the ensuing year. The report added: “The first necessity is that your joint committee should study and draft a model law based on the theory and practice of those fire-marshal laws which have been in force in certain States for several years. This law must be considered with reference to the constitutional and court decisions of each State; and. again, the law, when in shape, must be introduced and followed closely until enacted by the legislatures of all States. The committee said further, that there was a demand in every city that “there be a body of business men who shall see to it that the recommendations made by the engineers of the National Board of hire Underwriters for fire prevention measures (covering water supply, fire and salvage departments, storage of explosives. etc., etc.) in the different centres shall have a respectful hearing and, so far as practicable. shall be adopted and enforced. Too frequently an exhaustive report on conditions is treated by the municipal authorities with an indifference akin to contempt. The unwisdom of this attitude needs no comment here, and your committee would urge that the incoming committee make a study of the National board of Fire Underwriters’ reports, and. with the committees of local associations, insist that the tight in each municipality be made on the basis of bettering conditions, and that, too, not solely with a view to securing lower rates, for the latter will follow the former in natural course.” The committee expressed the conviction that the time was ripe for the National Association of Credit Men to ally itself, as an active member, with the National hire Protection association— ‘the engineering organisation of the insurance world in which lies much of the hope of developing the science and improving the methods of tire prevention and protection. The highest business interests of the country are being served by an organisation which aims to reduce fire waste.”