TRAINED FIREMEN A NECESSITY.
Haphazard methods in fire departments no longer can be countenanced, if that part of a city’s administration is to be brought to a proper state of efficiency. In fact, there is now no excuse for such a condition of affairs, as there are means by which the scientific methods of coping with fires, including teamwork by the entire department, as well as individual effectiveness, can be taught, and these means are open to all. Recommendations in this direction are made in a report by the Bureau of Municipal Research of New York on a Western city government recently, the report pointing out and emphasizing the necessity of special training, not only for the officers of fire departments, but for the men also. The report goes on to say that, inasmuch as the methods of fire control and extinguishment have been standardized, the training of the men is no longer a very difficult matter. In this connection the bureau severely criticizes the use of fire houses as social centers for card games and other amusements, as the idle time of the firemen could be spent to so much better advantage in raising the standard of their qualifications. In fact, if the recommendations of the report were put into effect, the firemen would have very little idle time on their hands. They would study books on fire prevention and control; they would be assigned to make house to house inspections in their districts, and other portions of their home city; they would be thoroughly drilled. The house to house inspections in their districts and other portions of their home citizens as to fire hazards, but it would have the far more important result of familiarizing the firemen with conditions they would have to contend with in case of a fire in any part of the city. A training school for firemen is advocated, conducted by competent members of the department. In this connection the bureau recommends that one or more members be sent to New York City to attend the Fire College there and absorb the methods of instruction in that model institution, and then be prepared to impart this scientific knowledge to the men on their return. There is no doubt that the firemen would jump at such an opportunity to perfect themselves in their chosen vocation, if it were presented to them. Every man has an innate desire to excel in his work and raise the standard of his service. But it requires the forces of organization to accomplish this end, which individual effort unassisted is almost powerless to obtain.