Toronto Fire Department Discussed

Toronto Fire Department Discussed

GENERAL NEWS FEATURES

The board of control of Toronto, Canada, recently recommended that a commission be appointed to report on the physical fitness and usefulness of members of the fire department to properly perform the duties and services as active firemen.

At a session of the city council, held last week, members attacked the recommendations, and it was discussed at considerable length. One member said:

“This investigation means that the men who have suffered because of their faithfulness to the city will be considered unfit to fill their positions. I know of several men who have been injured while on duty, and these men could not pass the examination. If the examination is made and only men retained who can come up to the standard of fitness, we will have no fire department. We want men who know something about fire-fighting, but they may not be physictally fit according to the standard established by the examiners.”

The city controller said there was a deplorable lack of system in the department, and something had to be done. “We have to have an efficient fire brigade.” said the controller. “Lives are in danger. When the chief feels there are a number of men who are physically unfit, he cannot older a physical examination because the regulations only provide for examination when engaged, and when the age of 55 years has been reached. We are paying for first-class men, and have we got them? Surely we want to know what is the physical fitness of the 350 men on the brigade. When we get a report on the physical fitness of the men, we can go on with the reorganization.”

Among the statements made by different members of the council, both in favor of the proposed examination and against it, were the following:

“One fireman in particular, who has been disabled in service, would be reduced to the third class because of his injuries, if the proposed examination is carried out.”

“I would sooner have the man with a crooked leg who is a good fire-fighter than the man with a tcn-cent head.”

“Shortly after the recent fire investigation I met a fireman and asked him what he thought of the report. The fireman replied that it was nothing but nonsense. What did you think of the evidence that a fireman didn’t know how to turn in a general alarm? was asked the fireman. ‘I don’t believe such evidence was submitted,’ replied the fireman.”

“The recommendation should be referred back and the controllers should be instructed to bring in a report dealing with the whole question of reorganizing the department.”

“The alderman wants the man with the crooked leg to get away from the examination, lie wants to get after the men who have reached 55 years, and if you look around this council you will find that it is the men who are over 55 who are the most valuable men. It is not the business of the board of control to find the man with the crooked leg, but the tcn-cent brain.”

“The citizens look upon the investigation as a farce and a very unbusinesslike way of going about the reorganization.”

“The controllers refrained from bringing down a recommendation on the entire reorganization because they were afraid the firemen might work against them at the coming election.”

The mayor said, “It could hardly be charged that the board of control had been afraid of the firemen when they had brought in a recommendation affecting every member of the department. A man at 40 may have defective hearing or eyesight, while a man at 55 may have no such disabilities,” said the mayor. “What we want is a fire brigade up to the highest standard. If we had a brigade with 25 per cent, of the firemen physically unfit it would be a serious matter. Where we have life and property in danger it is advisable to have a very efficient brigade.”

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