Over 1,500 Registered; Many Timely Topics Discussed at Silver Anniversary Gathering

A Staff Report

ALL previous records were broken at the 25th Annual (Silver Anniversary) Fire Department Instructors Conference held in Memphis, Feb. 24-27.

Attendance reached an all-time high— 1,525 registrations, from 39 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Over 100 outstanding leaders assisted by almost the entire Memphis Fire Department from a broad field of fire protection and prevention in 32 states participated in the 41 topics on the educational program.

Fire Chief Klinck presenting to Richard Vernor, chairman and moving spirit of the F.D.I.C., one of two beautiful, engraved silver wine coolers, at the Wednesday conference luncheon.

The Conference was a fitting testimonial to the leadership of Richard Dick) Vernor and his stalwart aides; Emmett T. Cox and Capt. Harry Wolff of the Western Actuarial Bureau, Chicago; J. E. Harman, Missouri Inspection Bureau, St. Louis; and H. A. Ritergod, Little Rock, Ark.; and to Chief John C. Klinck and the officers and men of theMemphis Fire Department who cosponsor the Conference with the Western Actuarial Bureau.

The City of Memphis officially welcomed the visitors in the persons of vice-mayor and fire and police commissioner Claude A. Armour; Fire Chief Klinck; Col. Roane Waring, president of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce and W. P. Wallace, heading the Memphis-Shelby County Council of Civic Clubs. This was the 19th year the City has played host to the gathering.

Col. Harold R. Brayton, Texas A. & M. College, was keynoter of the Silver Anniversary. The scheduled address of Prof. John J. Ahern on how and why fires start was given by Elmer Reske, Cook County Inspection Bureau, because of Prof. Ahearn’s sudden illness. En route to Memphis he was stricken by an attack of appendicitis and rushed to a hospital in Effingham, where he underwent an emergency operation. Prof. Ahern urged more complete investigation of fires by fire departments.

Hydrant flow tests were advocated by E. C. Wagner, Chief Engineer, Nebraska Inspection Bureau, Omaha, as the only readily available means for determining water supplies available for fire fighting,

in his technical paper “It Comes Out Here.”

More than 1,000 delegates and guests enjoyed the first day luncheon, cooked and served entirely by members of the Memphis Fire Department. Chief George R. McAlpine, President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Oklahoma City. Okla., Chairman of the session, introduced L. A. Vincent, General Manager, National Board of Fire Underwriters, who in his address: “TwoWay Vision,” reviewed the great developments in the fire service over the past 25 years, and pointed to the challenge which lay ahead. “The fire service has made splendid progress,” he stressed, “but we can’t allow ourselves to stagnate; we must meet the new hazards of a rapidly growing and expanding civilization.”

The afternoon session was opened by Hubert Walker, American-La FranceFoamite Corp., Elmira, N. Y., who described the latest advances made in equipping fire apparatus with systems for producing air foam and wet water. He used slides to show the different hookups of proportioning and aspirating devices and offered recommendations for their operation and maintenance.

Roy R. Simmons, Chief Training Officer, Dallas Fire Department, told how his department uses I.Q., job-preference and other tests in recruiting and probationary training period of apprentice firemen. Further discussion of the problems of training followed in a panel, led by FDIC vice-chairman Emmett T. Cox, which was participated in by Deputy Chief F. J. Trenner, Baltimore, Md.; Chief Lester H. Schick, Davenport, Ia.; Chief H. G. Lindgren, McPherson, Kans., Fire Department.

Test of application of water on a large condemned house in Memphis, Tenn. The fire was fought with fog and straight streams.

How a town of 980 people (Stephens, Ark.) in six years developed a “professional” though volunteer fire department, was the interesting story of Chief Charles T. Reveley’s “Big Little Fire Department.” In large part its unique success was due to (1) specialized equipment and (2) to intensive training of his businessmen firemen (17 in all).

The second day’s sessions started off with a question box panel, which batted around several interesting topics including use of radio; training facilities; cleaning extinguishers, etc. Participating were Quizmaster E. A. Taylor and messrs Brosier, Curtis, Hickson, Hottinger, Patrick and Skelton.

W. E. Rossnagel, Con. Edison Co., N. Y.,—no stranger to FIRE ENGINEERING’S readers, told the Conference that industrial fire brigades can be organized on a “job” rather than a “man” basis. He was followed by D. E. Barrett of the Ontario Fire Marshal’s Office, who discussed problems in planning civil defense fire protection, after which Ben E. Harris of the University of Alabama, brought the audience to its feet with his impassioned address “Silver Threads.”

Rural inspections, an old subject, was given new being, by Harry L. Krieger, Ohio Inspection Bureau, who told about Ohio’s experiences in this field.

Handling the public at fires got a many-sided discussion at a Round Table, presided over by Chief Roi B. Woolley, Assistant Editor, FIRE ENGINEERING, aided by Fire and Police Commissioner and vice-mayor, Claude C. Armour, Memphis; George E. Mayer, Pres., Talbot County, Md., Vol, Firemen’s Assn.; Easton, Md.; C. O. Richardson, Fire Chief, Tennessee Eastman Corp., Kingsport, Tenn., and H.’ C. Williams, Bus. Mgr., Underwriters Salvage Corps., Cincinnati.

Speaker at the day’s luncheon was Curtis R. Welborn, president of Underwriters’ Laboratories, whose theme was “25 Years in 25 Minutes.”

The mysteries, hazards and problems that will face the fire fighter in the next quarter century were briefly but dramatically presented by S. J. Rosch, Consulting Cable Engineer, Anaconda Wire & Cable Co., Hastings-on-Hudson, N. Y.

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F.D.I.C. Meeting

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He reduced as many of the technicalities of the chemical and atomic era to simple terms as time permitted—and was voted a return engagement.

A skit entitled “Your State Association Convention” by J. W. Just, served as a pleasant interlude, after which R. C. Malmquist, Fire Chief. Minneapolis Fire Department, and members of the “Explorer Scout Emergency Service” told about the development of the latter, which brought its new emergency unit all the way from Minneapolis. This truck later was demonstrated, by the Scouts at the Memphis Fire Department’s Training Ground. Crews of the Memphis Fire Department participated in evolutions designed to show various hookups. This session was directed by Joe I. Fetters of the Univ. of Nebraska.

The evening was given over to showings of latest motion picture films, in charge of M. I. Parker, Chief Eng., Missouri Inspection Bureau.

The second question box panel led off on Thursday, with John L. Thompson, Asst. Mgr., Ky. Inspection Bureau, as quizmaster. A wide variety of topics were discussed by the group, which included Messrs. Barnett, Carpenter, Cowan, Dague, Murphy and Overley.

Sister M. Desideria, O.S.B., R.N. Education Dir. Sacred Heart Hospital, Yankton, S. D., spoke on “Implementing Hospital Fire Safety.” She advocated four steps for a sound safety program: (1) Fire prevention; (2) fire detection; (3) fire control; (4) evacuation.

Robert F. Hamm, Dir. Firemen’s Training, Indiana Rating Bureau, urged full-time fire department instructors. The regional or state fire college, he said, cannot take the place of a full-time instructor with continuous training program.

Speaker at the day’s luncheon session was Hon. Clifford Davis, U. S. Congressman, who first invited the FDIC to Memphis, 19 years ago. He was introduced by Frank R. Ahlgren, Editor, Memphis Commercial Appeal.

The entire afternoon was devoted to lectures and fire fighting tests of water fog. W. B. Larkin, Eng. Missouri Insp. Bureau, and Emmett T. Cox, Chairman, Exploratory Committee on Application of Water, reported on technical aspects of fog applications, after which delegates were taken to So. Lauderdale St., Memphis, where they had opportunity to observe practical application of water fog on two frame dwellings, condemned to make way for a housing development. Crews of the Memphis Fire Department, directed by Fire Chief John Klinck, Commissioner Claude Armour and Instructor Scott, aided by visiting chiefs, handled the lines and ladders.

The final day’s sessions included another quiz panel which discussed the pros and cons of the previous day’s tests. Participating were Messrs. Arnold, Baldwin, Chase, Dimond, Kuhlman, Layman, Robinson and Wolff. Emmett Cox served as quizmaster.

Herbert A. Friede, Chief Electrical Engr., Washington, D. C., told about developments in radio communications. He was followed by George R. Layden, Chief Engineer, Peter Pirsch & Sons Co., Kenosha, Wis., who stressed the essentials of good preventive maintenance, comparing it with regular checkups of a person’s physical condition by a capable doctor. He u_____ged complete written reports of each check-up, and the use of photographic evidence in presenting visual data on apparatus.

Kyle P. Laughlin, Dir. Federal Civil Defense Admin., brought civil defense “up-to-date” for the delegates, expressing hope for a broadening of federal, state and local effort.

As usual, following the noon luncheon, which was also served by the Memphis Fire Department, there followed the “Annual FDIC Follies” with a splendid cast, including the Memphis F. D.’s own stringed entertainers.

The business sessions continued right up to the final gong, with A. J. Steiner of Underwriters’ Laboratories graphically reviewing the more recent developments in his lecture, “The Facts Shall Make You Free”.

The final round table discussion, headed by Robert Byrus, Univ. of Maryland, as moderator, delved into “Bugs in Training Programs.” The comments of panel members Hirst, Smith, Swain, Townsend and Ward were enthusiastically received by the audience.

Following a brief remarks on the value of your local radio by George Gow, News Ed., Radio Station KANS, Wichita. Col., H. R. Brayton wound up the business sessions with his “Annual FDIC Broadcast.”

Five-minute summaries of each clay’s events were given by Dale A. Auck, Dir., Fire Prot. Div., Fed. of Mutual Fire Ins. Co.’s, Chicago; Prof. R. J. Douglas, Head, Fire Prot. Dept., Oklahoma A. & M., and A. L. P. Schmeichel, W. Va. Inspection Bureau. A number of other selected speakers reviewed short subjects during the week, among them Batt. Chief A. M. Grunwell, District of Columbia F.D., who told about the recent disastrous explosion in an appliance store, which sent him and over 40 other fire fighters, including Fire Chief Sutton, to the hospital.

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