Urbana’s Wide-Awake Chief

Urbana’s Wide-Awake Chief


The annual report of W. H. Roughton, chief of the fire department and fire marshal of Urbana, I11., for the fiscal year ending April 30, 1913, shows that the fire loss per capita in that city was 90 cents during the year. The number of alarms answered was 54 and the total loss on buildings and contents amounted to $9,051, while the total insurance on the buildings and contents imperiled was $193,900. In the opinion of Chief Roughton it is as much the duty of his department to do all in its power to prevent fires as well as extinguish them after they have started, and for this purpose he has included in his report a number of valuable recommendations for prevention of fire. He calls attention to the fact that there were more than 900 store fires in the State during the fiscal year 1912, and most ot these fires were caused either directly or indirectly bv carelessness. The following are some of the questions he asks of the Urbana citizens in his report:

“Have you taken due precaution for the handling of gasoline, naphtha, gunpowder, explosives and dangerous oils? Gasoline caused 790 fires in this Slate in 1912.”

“Do you allow an open flame for lighting in the basement, which may set fire to combustible material or may ignite gas which at times escapes from the street mains to the basement?”

“Do you permit electric lamp cords in your show windows, which frequently short circuit and cause fires?”

“Do you allow electric cords to be hung over nails?”

“Have you provided reliable chemical extinguishers and water pails?” The tip-over, bicarbonate of soda extinguisher is one of the best manufactured and has been approved by the Board of Underwriters.

“Have you examined your furnace or stove to ascertain if it is safe and if the surrounding woodwork is amply protected therefrom?” Twenty per cent, of all fires are caused by defective flues and chimneys.

“Have you provided a metal can for bolding ashes?”

For the benefit of workshops and factories the following suggestions are offered:

“Forbid smoking in work rooms, especially where much inflammable material is stored.”

“Use safety matches and be sure they are extinguished before being thrown away.”

“Clear out rubbish and clippings every day from work rooms, hallways and basements. Metal cans or metal lined boxes should be provided to hold such rubbish, as deposits of grease and dust often ignite spontaneously.”

“Keep gas jets guarded by wire cages so that material may not touch flame.”

“Keep motors and gas engines enclosed in fireproof partitions.”

“Organize fire drills among workmen and women.”

The borough of. T-arentum, Pa., has ordered plans prepared for the construction of a municipal water system.

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